Romance Roundtable #26: Dream Daddy

Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga romance manga romance, just, like, in general. In the spirit of POMEpress’s new & upcoming project COMRADE HIMBO, this time we’re chatting about Dream Daddy: 2017’s #1 Being A Dad Dating Cute Dads dating sim. This whole piece is 100% full of Dream Daddy spoilers so proceed with caution!

CC: I gotta say, this might be the romance roundtable that I’m the absolute most stoked about
I wanna know ALL ABOUT what each of y’all think about every single daddy
I want!! every!!!! detail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
playing while knowing that I get to dish about it with y’all made it so much more worthwhile

Jenny: do we want to break it out by daddy? like go down the list? or do we want to freeform?

CC: ok so the first thing I want to know is which daddy was your favorite, and which daddy was your * second * favorite
I’d ask about your least fave but I have a feeling there will be a lot of consensus there

Jenny: lol yeah, but maybe best to start w a quick rundown of the options
for those of y’all who may not’ve heard about this game, we reviewed it back when it came out
(NOTE: this review does not have spoilers but the roundtable you’re reading right not definitely does)
and replaying this week has def proved to me that it 10000% holds up

Text reads "who's your dream daddy?" and shows each of the daddies from the Dream Daddy dating game.

CC: ok to be clear, Jenny reviewed it amazingly and this review really does also 100000% hold up too!!!

Jenny: You and your daughter, Amanda, move to a cute new neighborhood during her last year of high school. Your new home is located in a cul-de-sac which contains seven other hot and romanceable dads.
Bad Dad (ROBERT), Goth Dad (DAMIEN), Sports Dad (CRAIG), Jesus Dad (JOSEPH), Music Dad (MAT), Professor Dad (HUGO), Grill Dad (BRIAN)

CC: oh dang ok I have a great idea yall
before we start listing our favorite dream daddies, what if we swap notes about who we think everybody else’s favorite daddy is
for scientific research purposes, naturally

Ashley: hello i have returned from my unexpected bathroom journey
i guess that tells you a lot about my fave daddy to start

Jenny: lololol ok, here’s my guesses:
CC-Damien (Goth Dad)
Rachel-Craig (Sports Dad)
Ashely-Mat (Music Dad)

CC: ashley – damien
rachel – craig
jenny – hugo OR brian

Rachel: CC – Damien (goth dad)
Ashley – Hugo (Professor dad)
Jenny – Brian (grill dad)

Ashley: Rachel – Mat
Jenny – Leaning Brian over Hugo
CC – Damien

CC: oooooh wow y’all really nailed mine!!!! but it took me a long time to decide on him, too!!!

Ashley: we knew you were smitten when you told us about the polo

CC: ashley I guessed damien bc as a gemini I thought u would appreciate his dualities (is that how astrology works?? I am still learning)
I can confirm that damien is my fave tho, although at first I was all about music dad bc imo he is objectively the hottest dad in the game

Ashley: as a gemini i invoke my legal right to choose two dads! damien didn’t make the cut but i do love him actually

Jenny: can agree that mat (music dad) is def the hottest, objectively

Ashley: agree

CC: (i also know rachel loves a stronk hunk & jenny loves an everydad but also a nerd who moonlights in a hot sport)

Rachel: Lol yes I love a fit dad who can bench his twin daughters
Also his workaholic nature was v relatable to me specifically lol

CC: sports dad reminds me of Liam from Mass Effect: Andromeda, who was also a sports babe with a big heart
and who I also know you love!!!

Rachel: LOL
it’s true

Jenny: v fair but need i remind you

Dadsona is telling Amanda, 'Amanda. He opened up a new jar of marinara sauce and then he drank it like it was a thing that normal people do. It was unholy. And then I asked him what the hell he was doing, and he said, and I quote, "It's basically a smoothie, bro."'

Ashley: AHHH JENNY YOUR DAD IS SO CUTE

Jenny: lololol thanks! his name is Bigg Chungus (i let loren design him)

Rachel: ahh I want to see all your daddies
Unfortunately I don’t have my save anymore

CC: i love egg

Ashley: craig has strong himbo energy, but he is also smart!
and savvy

Jenny: that’s true

Rachel: Yes!! Also love someone who is on good terms with their ex
It makes me trust them more???

Ashley: also yeah just like the hardest working dad. 3 BABIES

CC: ok i’m dying to know: jenny and ashley, pls confirm your top dadd(ies?)

Ashley: hugo and robert

Rachel: YES BAD DAD
he was my #2 actually

Jenny: robert is honestly p great

Ashley: his “perfect” ending is really good imo
which is what reallys sold me

CC: yeah agreed!!!!

Jenny: it IS a little rough that you can’t actually end up w him, but def i think his ending is the most emotionally complex

CC: it’s really nice that he’s working on it

Jenny: rebuilding a relationship w his estranged daughter!! you love to see it!

Rachel: I choose to believe they get together at a later time

CC: I also love that he’s a goof who loves cryptids and being goofy on a ghost tour

Jenny: truly the cryptid/ghost angle really did it for me

Ashley: also his daughter is hot and cool
lol

Rachel: LOL YESS

CC: dream daddy sequel where you can romance mary or robert’s daughter

Ashley: yes please

Rachel: Also Ashley I chose Hugo for you because I thought it would appeal to your academic bend
And also the good high brow/low brow combo
Of academia and wrestling

Ashley: yes!!! haha i could not resist! his nerd enjoyment was 100% my shit

CC: ok I have an interesting question
who was
your
SECOND
favorite daddy

Rachel: I know I said it already but I love bad dad

Jenny: i think Mat (music/coffee dad) was my second

CC: for me it was music daddy bc I love puns and also he is very very hot

Jenny: the puns, the hottness, but also he really appeals to the nostalgia of when i used to be cool and go to shows

Rachel: Wait did we confirm Jenny’s #1?

CC: OH SHOOT
SORRY JENNY

Jenny: lol np idk that it’s any big secret! i love hugo!! i love books and also wrestling! he also loves old timey horror movies!! he’s perfect!!

Hugo is telling the trivia night host, "Spotty. I don't know a lot about movies, but if there are any questions about bad horror movies, I can be of service."

Ashley: he really is, is the thing
and he is so cute in his wrestling shirt, omg

CC: omg he really is!!! I love the wrestling shirt!

Hugo, in his wrestling t-shirt, saying "I agree. And as long as I'm being open, I'm also a huge fav of very handsome Dads who throw great parties for their kid and love a good word jumble."

Ashley: AHHHHH YES OMG

Jenny: he loves a cheeseboard, he loves wine, he hates middle schoolers
what more could you want??

CC: HA

Ashley: also he will call his shithead student a little bitch lol
that was the clincher for me

CC: yeah when I got to the end I really felt like he was designed in a lab at Jenny Labs, Inc

Jenny: !!!!!
truly

CC: he appreciates all the finer things in life
and also dunking on middle schoolers, esp after his post wrestling match confidence boost

Jenny: his dad book profile ideal date: sitting on opposite ends of the couch reading different books
i love him

A snapshot of Hugo, shirt open, lounging, surrounded by meats and cheeses, and toasting you with a red glass of wine.

Rachel: lollllll

Ashley: just, perfect

Rachel: Ok the #2s now

Jenny: yeah — cc and i agree on mat as #2

Mat saying, "Yeah. Right Said Banana Bread. Strong decisions. That's art, baby."

CC: now that’s what i call art, baby

Jenny: and rachel said robert
ashley are you splitting your joint #1? or do you have a #2?

Ashley: i guess i have to technically pick a third dad because i contend that i love hugo and robert in equal measure
but the final addition to our polycule is brian

Jenny: love brian!!

Ashley: i actually love brian the character, but not his storyline/ending that much

Jenny: fair

Ashley: like, an independent contractor who is also soft and has an amazing dog and nerdy kid?

Jenny: inception whomst?

Brian saying, "The best. He practically built half of this town with his bare hands. It's weird how you spend your whole life trying to not become your father, then you wake up one day and there you are."

Ashley: YES JENNY
AHHH

Jenny: he’s just a great dude!!

CC: Big Feels Brian
love that his turn ons include like, vulnerability
or was it intimacy?
emotional intimacy??

Ashley: yes! but is also so brawny and outdoorsy and BUILD STUFF
make things for meeeee, the soft hermit crab

Jenny: i think my biggest hangup w brian is the competitiveness, which–i know it gets addressed, and it’s not really that he’s That Guy who always has to 1-up–it’s just that i feel like as much as i love him, he would make me the worst version of myself. see:

Brian saying, "I think there's another version of me that would have spent the rest of my life trying to catch that fish Captain Ahab-style."

Jenny: i don’t need this energy indulged
it’s too close to home

Rachel: Lollllll

Ashley: HA

Rachel: Reasons why we don’t date people too similar to ourselves

Jenny: +1

Ashley: see, i really have zero competition energy so we balance. go take that out on some fish or the yard

CC: I was very surprised to learn how much my daddy cared about lawncare thru this romance

Ashley: LMAO

CC: do we know that our OC daddy’s,,,,,job is? does he have a job? I was guessing freelance writer bc he seems to be at least working from home
and also the word jumbles

Ashley: yeah, i think freelance writer? he does not code

Jenny: yeah it’s not super clear? i think the biggest hint was when you go on the 2nd date w craig, your player character daddy says that he’s wearing a shirt from a writer’s summit he went to 20years ago

Ashley: OH i missed the writer’s summit part ha

Jenny: but when goth dad asks if you’re a writer on date 1, you just answer “of sorts” which — vague

CC: which date with craig was the date at the lake?
i died on that one
lol

Jenny: lolololol that’s craig’s 3rd date

Rachel: LOL yes

Jenny: sports are dangerous!!
you can die!!

Ashley: HAHAHA

Craig saying, "It feels really good to go on another Broventure with you, dude. Just like old times."

Jenny: some broventure, amirite

Rachel: I was doing some pre-romance round table research and apparently the writers watched Brokeback Mountain as inspo for the camping scene but got too emotionally compromised and couldn’t write for days

Jenny: LOLOLOLOLOLOL rachel incredible

CC: omg rachel ;__;
that’s so intense
but also good to know ha ha ha
I really like the “old friends” nature of craig’s romance

Jenny: def! that, mixed with the constant bro-ing really scratches an itch

Ashley: can relate to that experience. and yes the friends-to-lovers thing is especially satisfying with bro flavor!

CC: also doesn’t hurt that as rachel said, he works so hard!!!!

Rachel: He needs to take some time for himself!!
Dadsona can help!!

Ashley: it’s true!

Jenny: truly!! i loved that the 3rd date is just like you encouraging him to carve out some time to relax and treat himself
have a single weekend when you don’t have to be responsible for literally everything

Rachel: Bless

Ashley: it’s nice to imagine being in a place to give that gift i think?
finding it surprisingly tough to express my tender feelings toward all of these dads

CC: 😭
somebody who already knows him so well…..from his “eating spaghetti sauce like soup, right out of the can” days to his fit small business owner dad days!

Jenny: they are all v complex!! almost like real people!!

Ashley: it’s odd, there are parts of each story and play that i could take or leave, but they’re all great characters
did anyone play all the way through with joseph?

Rachel: I DID

CC: Y E S
including secret ending

Ashley: secret ending!! wait i can’t remember…

Jenny: i watched a playthrough of the secret ending
too spoopy

Ashley: SPOOPY????

Rachel: The one where he’s a cult leader lol

Ashley: okay i def did not get that ending
OH MY GOD

CC: yeah at least for the switch, you need to make a jimmy buffet dadsona
to enter the margaritazone
or
something
in order to access it

Ashley: ohhhhhhhhhh okay

CC: it has to be exactly right and also named jimmy buffet to work

Jenny: his regular ending is just you go out on his boat and have sex, but he won’t leave his wife

CC: I goofed it up like twice before I got it working haha

Ashley: i automatically rebuffed all jimmy buffet-related speech

Jenny: LOL

Rachel: Lollllll

CC: I saved joseph for last and hated romancing him
hated to disappoint mary
and also robert

Jenny: really love mary tbh

CC: who Knows His Game

Jenny: robert is great though for real

CC: he might be The bad daddy but he is a good man ;o;

Ashley: agree

Rachel: Yeah Joseph was my least favorite, mostly cause I didn’t trust how cheery he was???
Also maybe I distrust youth pastors
Or figures of religious authority generally

Jenny: i mean hard same

Joseph saying, "Children in general are just...tough."

Jenny: but this felt v relatable

CC: yeah the game said “youth pastor” and i was just like…….uhhhh
no thx

Ashley: lol exactly

CC: I WAS very curious about where it was going

Ashley: no version of that is actively desirable, but yeah i think it’s kind of fun that there’s an evil paster

Jenny: the really did the most w what they had

Ashley: re: robert as a bad dad, obviously they have a shitty relationship but also val is doing GREAT so

Jenny: a fair point — all of joseph’s kids are terrifying

Ashley: i dislike them lol

Jenny: that was the most bittersweet part of deciding i couldn’t really get behind brian–i love his nerd daughter so much!!

Ashley: she’s so cute

CC: she really is!

Jenny: won’t dig for buried treasure w/o the appropriate permits!!
i love her!!

Ashley: i like how she and amanda do kid stuff together tho
like, my own nerdiness as a child prevented that kind of play with others i think??

CC: if a Cool Teen ™ expressed any interested in my nerd opinions at that age, I would have died LMAO

Jenny:

One of the daddies saying, "I hadn't even realized, and I don't even know if Amanda does either, but I guess they're right. All of the girls in the neighborhood look up to her. She seems to go out of her way to play with them."

Jenny: she’s a great role model for those kids!!

Ashley: i will say that my proudest moment in the game was when i remembered all her friends correctly

CC: BOTH emmas????

Jenny: oh def! and this is something i really wanted to talk about w this game!
your dadsona’s relationship w your daughter, amanda, is, like, really the main storyline–i think to a greater extent than the romances
like, you can fuck up being a good dad and you can get a shitty ending where your daughter goes off to college feeling Not Great

CC: oh yeah I definitely feel ready for fatherhood now
mission: accomplished

Jenny:

Dadsona talking to Amanda, "So just... whatever it is. And you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. But whatever it is just know that you have a Dad in your corner who wants you to be happy."
Dadsona saying, "It took me a really long time because I ran out of red frosting somewhere around "Sad" and had to start over and —"

Jenny: all you have to do is bake, i guess!
i can totally do that!
but tbh this moment was so sweet

CC: also push the right amount but not too toooooo too hard
yes it really was!

Ashley: yeah, it’s true, i felt like the choices you made regarding your relationship with amanda are more subtle?
it’s harder to know what the “perfect” answer is

Jenny: yeah! bc it didn’t have any emoji splashes to let you know you got it right!

Ashley: lol

Jenny: i guess like real fatherhood!
who’s to say if you’re making the right decisions in the moment! you just kind of have to wait and find out!

Hugo saying, "As much as we all want it, I don't think it's as important to be a Cool Dad as it is to be a Good Dad. We can't wall be best friends with our kids, it just doesn't work. I mean...look at me and Ernest."

Ashley: and that is why i will never be a father

Jenny: the stakes do seem really high

CC: i mean if this game has taught me anything, it’s that puns are really a good 30% of it (jk)

Hugo saying, "My ex... he gets to be the Fun Weekend Dad, and I'm just... Hugo, who makes Ernest eat his vegetables and turn his homework in on time."

Jenny: lol puns and emotional vulnerability with just a splash of authority; a delicate blend

Ashley: ugh i really felt that

CC: I love the ending with damien where ernest gets that big ol dog

Ashley: it’s funny, when i played this when it first came out, i didn’t keep going with hugo all the way

Jenny: i def love how the storylines interact w each other!

Ashley: my attention dropped off and i didn’t like his thing with ernest, but it develops a lot more on the later dates

CC: I wish you could get the dog for ernest in the other storylines too lol

Jenny: same

Ashley: hahah yes!

Jenny: but def the earnest part feels like the most complex bit that you have to deal w on hugo’s playthrough
like

Dadsona saying, "Okay look, I'm gonna pretend that you didn't try to trick me into buying you the ol' Baphomet's cough syrup and then go inside here to purchase my ice cream. I won't tell your Dad if you promise to scram."

Jenny: when the cops come here and robert steps in to pretend to be earnest’s dad! a good moment, but also this fucking kid!!

Ashley: hahaha yes

Jenny: he sucks!! middle schoolers suck!!

Ashley: he really does and they do, i did

Jenny: and the whole 1st date when you have to chaperone that field trip!! so stressful!!

Ashley: OMG haha for real

Jenny: i just wanted to fight the children, but i could not! i could only bribe!

CC: lol same!!!

Ashley: honestly it’s a miracle he had cash in his pocket

CC: look, aside from the wrestling date, hugo’s other 2 dates stressed me out so much
god i hate trivia nights

Ashley: LOLLL I ALSO HATE TRIVIA

Jenny: lol provolone 2: lost in new york is tough to beat

Ashley: the names are very cute, unfortunately trivia in real life doesn’t feel as nice and rarely does it come with fancy cheese and wine

Jenny: yeah where can i find charcutie pie, the wine and cheese restaurant, in the real world??

CC: but does often come with a v awk trivia host!!!!!

Ashley: too real
i did not appreciate the player’s role in that guy’s marriage lol

CC: the last time I was at a trivia night (on accident, bc I was in a restaurant and it just randomly started?????)
the trivia host made a joke about nick cannon enduring dating mariah carey bc she is older than him?????
and ever since then
ever since I heard a man have such an awful opinion on a microphone in public, ruining my meal
I have harbored this grudge against trivia hosts

Jenny: oooh yikes
yeah i went to one where like 3 teams had tied by the end and so the quiz master just had everyone guess his assistant’s age?

Ashley: OH NOOOO CC it’s the worst when you assume that you are going to a regular restaurant and then the trivia pops up

CC: i just want to eat bar food
i am a simple woman
with simple tastes
i want hot sauce and french fry

Ashley: buffalo dip

CC: no questions, only buffalo dip

Ashley: just having an overwhelming flood of sports bar memories from childhood
so much buffalo dip and the pinball machine

CC: also: same tho ha ha ha
but another thing real quick: can we talk about damien?? i want to talk about vampire dad

Ashley: YES he is so sweet

CC: he is so good and sweet

Jenny: he’s great tbh

Ashley: like, he’s sooo dorky but he takes it to a hot level

Rachel: I thought i wouldn’t like him much, like he’d be cliched? But he’s great!!

CC: augh I know!
going into this game he was bottom tier on my prospective dream daddies

Jenny: love the leatherbound naruto fanfic
really sealed the deal for me

Ashley: hahahaha

CC: and to be fair, as a person whose english major was comprised of mostly victorian studies
every time he was like
“well u know, the victorians….”
i was like

A gif of Ron Swanson saying, "I know more than you."

Ashley: lma

CC: but also by the end I was like
yes I too really appreciate the victorians bc they were messy people who lived in a messy and chaotic time???? bad for the world but full of dualities???? I can get on the level
also loved him way more for being a “boring” nerd with his leatherbound fanfics and volunteering at the animal shelter and best friendship with mary
ALSO what a good and sweet dad to his oregano dealer son

Ashley: HAHAHA yes

CC: a teen procuring JNCO jeans in 2017
good for you kid

Ashley: they’re vintage and cost him $120
he literally could not shoplift them he would have to get them on ebay

Jenny: i say this w love, but i did literally just have to google jnco jeans

Rachel: JENNY
I’m dead

Ashley: you sweet summer child

CC: oh my god they really do go for like $100 on ebay
brb, returning to the sweet earth that made me
laying my old bones 2 rest

Ashley: folks, i went to literally the largest middle school in america in miami FL in the year 2001
i was in the jnco trenches okay

CC: L O L

Rachel: LMA

CC: i remember my high school days being really full of those tripp hot topic pants once a hot topic finally opened in the killeen mall in like, 2005
it was a really great day for our city
sigh

Jenny: ok i DO remember tripp pants

Rachel: I wanted a pair of jyncos so bad in middle school but my parents would not oblige me

CC: jncos with a pair of those wheelie sketchers
god tier early aughts tween aesthetic

Rachel: Lol

Ashley: did anyone actually know anyone with wheelies???
i did not
our parents would not spend their hard earned money, etc

Rachel: No and also I didn’t see the appeal
Like I knew how clumsy I was, and I knew it was not cute
And I didn’t not wanna eat dirt

Ashley: HAHA same, i was like, this is a recipe for breaking my face

CC: i had a rolly backpack and thought that if I had wheelies i could go so fast

Ashley: omg
that’s amazing

Jenny: 🙌🏻
big brain though

CC: how i escaped middle school without getting even one swirly is beyond me
LMA
i mean jenny you and hugo are right
middle school really is the worst
nobody escapes unphased

Rachel: Lol well with that, do y’all wanna go to final thoughts?

Jenny: yeah i’m ready

Ashley: yea!

Rachel: Because I have a cool thing from my pre-round table research!

CC: whoa!

Jenny: oh yeah! i think he v casually mentions his binder?

Rachel: Love trans goth rep in video games!

Jenny: def! and in the text!

Rachel: He does! But it was also a My Chemical Romance ref so i didn’t catch it at first

Ashley: omg 🤩

Rachel: Just v cool, u love to see it

Jenny: yeah my final thought was really just that these writers/devs really hit it out of the park
like, all of these characters are complex and also v precious
and then all of the jokes are also super good too!!

Ashley: it’s pretty great — there are a lot of fun surprises
i think this is also the only exclusively gay dating sim i’ve ever played?
as in, there’s no single hetero romance option

Rachel: Same!

CC: yeah same!

Rachel: It makes me so stoked for ValiDate

Ashley: yes!! i think it’s worth mentioning that validate is the main reason we were inspired to choose dream daddy!
the seal is broken on bringing dating sims into RR

CC: ooh ok to piggyback off of this idea, my final thought is that we should do a roundtable for ValiDate at some point in the future

Jenny: 1000%

Ashley: oh yes! i backed it, can’t wait to play

Jenny: same!!

Rachel: Yes!!!

CC: same!!!!

Rachel: And if anybody has any really good queer dating sims they’d recommend, please hit us up

Jenny: +1

Ashley: my final thought is just that i’m glad this game was a big hit and holds up well from the Long Ago days of 2017
i think i appreciated it even more when replaying it recently
and i am very looking forward to reading the comics — i got them a while back but never read them!
i’m excited for how much more depth comics can bring to characters

CC: ahhh I’m excited to learn even more about all of these daddies

Jenny: !!!!

CC: and just as excited to read these comics and then talk about em with y’all!!!!
I feel like there’s so much more to say and explore about each of them!

Ashley: YESS!

Rachel: Ahh can’t wait!!


Join us next time for even more love story shouting in our next Romance Roundtable! In the meantime, check out our Patreon for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat. Plus: bonus pics of each of our daddies, each complete with excellent dad joke names.

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
Carolynn Calabrese

Carolynn Calabrese

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
#rando

Afternoon Snack

It’s finally getting cold in Texas and we are drinking 5 cups of tea a day (partially because of the cold and partially because it is a coping mechanism, we are allowed). In today’s Snack, we bring you something to look out for but something to celebrate as well, because that’s our coping mechanism too.

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