This is an opinion column. The thoughts and viewpoints expressed are those of the author, Phil Scilippa.

Before I begin, please read the trigger warning below. Although the tweet may seem like a joke, it isn't. If you're uncomfortable reading about fictitious scenarios rooted in the situations below, which involve a number of influential electronic producers and DJs, I encourage you to stop right here.

Now we can proceed. The unsettling trigger warning above is, of course, in reference to the Twitter account's name, "Sonny Moore Dating Simulator." Yes—it's a real visual novel game—and I played it this week.

The Sonny Moore Dating Simulator comes courtesy of indie developer (hobbyist?) Skrillexdere Dev, a tongue-in-cheek combination of the world's most popular dubstep producer and the term "yandere." It's a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to "lovestruck," a character trope commonly used in romance-themed manga, anime, and  dating simulators.

Dictionary.com defines "yandere" as "a character, most often female and in anime, who become violently possessive of a love interest." There are yandere in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator, but they aren't female—and you'll certainly recognize them. 

They come in the form of Sonny Moore, Jeff Abel, and Tanner Petulla, more commonly known as Skrillex, Excision, and Getter, respectively. The Sonny Moore Dating Simulator depicts these three wildly popular music producers as high school students dressed in classic schoolgirl uniforms and attending "Dubstep High School," the game's main setting. 

You play as "Player H. Character," the first-person protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your choices throughout the game), the new kid at Dubstep High who is head over heels for Sonny Moore. 

Moore is depicted as a sweet and caring individual who might just be interested in you as well. Whether or not he is will be decided based on your choices. 26 alternate endings are offered—each of them bizarre—and they come about through a series of choices throughout the visual novel. It's a choose-your-own-adventure style story, and out of the 21 endings I've found so far, it ends in disaster every time. 

Sonny Moore in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator

A screenshot of a digitized Skrillex in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

Goatmandotd's testimonial on Skrillex Dev's page calls the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator "The Dark Souls of Visual Novel games," and they really aren't wrong. All that's missing from each ending is the iconic "YOU DIED" screen at each ending, though those are substituted by a different ending card for each scenario. And just as in Dark Souls, you will die often in this game, or you'll lead to the death of the characters around you. Whatever path you choose, someone's going to die, and all of these deaths come in a disturbing manner. We'll get to that later. 

First, let's set the stage. Stock images make up the backgrounds of each of the novel's locations, with skillfully drawn depictions of Skrillex, Excision, and Getter popping up to speak with you. Other famed dubstep producers also make appearances to fill out the population of the school and its surrounding locations.

Mr. Adejumo in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

Mr. Adejumo (Benga) teaches you the Fundamentals of Dubstep Theory in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

Your professors include Skream, Benga, and Plastician, who teach subjects like Dubstep History and Production. As for your fellow students, each time "Josh" (Monxx) is brought up in roll call, the class informs the teacher that Monxx is absent, an obvious dig at the run of shows that the DJ backed out of in 2018. When asked where Monxx might be, a student explains that he "just posted a picture of him at Red's [sic] Lobster on Instagramme [sic]." 

The witty joke is just one jab at a dubstep controversy. Another comes about through a much more serious controversy, as a very slimy Troy Beetles (or the disgraced Datsik) is introduced. He comes in the form of the simulator's bully character, constantly disrupting class and even picking fights with Getter. It's up to you to either intervene when Datsik accosts Getter in the hallways and on the school grounds, or do nothing. Each option will lead to an undesirable outcome, eventually.

In fact, I played through the game over 20 times, making different choices within it, to see what each of the endings offer. I won't spoil too much, but each ending is morbid in nature. For instance, should you choose to intervene when Datsik is ready to throw a bucket of acid onto Getter after a couple confrontations, you die from acid burns. 

Troy Beetles and Tanner Petulla in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

Datsik confronts Getter in the halls of Dubstep High School in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

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At some point in the game, Getter will offer you marijuana in the school's bathroom. If you accept, you later learn that the joint was laced with PCP, leading your character to strip naked and jump out of the fourth story window to your death.

If you choose not to eat when Skrillex offered to buy your lunch, you die of an eating disorder. If you choose to go buy cigarettes in the middle of the night, a thieving Eptic shoots you in the head before you make it home.

If you take the wrong turn in a dark cave you found after entering a wardrobe, you fall into a pit and die. If you choose "Coronavirus Mode" at the beginning of the game, you immediately contract COVID-19 and die.

There are many more endings to the story, including ones I didn't even manage to find. However, I'm convinced that there isn't a "happy" ending. Even if you make it through to the musical collaborations with Skrillex, Excision, or Getter, you can get them killed in a multitude of ways. In one instance you ghost Skrillex when he texts you, and lead him to commit 9/11. 

And the collaborations are interesting, to say the least. You won't actually hear the song you made with any of the artists before the game's big festival, but you will engage in outrageous sexual acts with each of them, and a threesome with Ghostmane if you choose to "collaborate" with Getter. 

Getter and Ghostmane in the lunchroom of Dubstep High School in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

Getter and Ghostmane in the lunchroom of Dubstep High School in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator.

Thankfully none of the sex acts are shown, but they are expressed through dialogue in an explicitly lascivious manner, so you'll certainly get the picture. 50 Shades Of Grey has nothing on the kinky sex described in the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator. And "kinky" is probably not even the word. I don't think linguists have made a word for this stuff yet.

Other absurdities include: stick figure suicides, lion attacks, "bassball" games, a nod to the SCP Foundation lore, and nuclear annihilation. That's just scratching the surface of the absolute mayhem contained in this visual novel. 

Even through all the absurdity, the player can learn about basic music production techniques, dubstep history, classic tracks and the producers who made them— many of whom appear as in-game NPCs (non-player characters). Despite some cringe-inducing story elements and "edgelord" humor, the game does offer some factual information on the dubstep genre. 

And speaking of that cringe humor, the developer remains very self-aware about the game's risqué, meme-fueled themes and very clearly illustrates that the immaturity, misogyny, and political-incorrectness of the game are just for a laugh. In fact, through meta interactions wherein the developer speaks to the player in-game, it's evident that they know how downright wrong some of the jokes are and they even make self-deprecating jokes about it. 

In a way, the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator even made me begin running through my own self-deprecating humor in my head. I sat there after 21 play-throughs of this ridiculous game, thinking, "Wow, how much time did you just waste on this edgelord's try-hard humor? Five hours?" I'd even lost track of the time. 

But it pulled me in. I couldn't stop myself from laughing at all of the awful jokes and scenarios. I couldn't stop answering all the same questions in the correct manner, just to get to a point where I could choose a different answer and try to get a different ending (I later learned of the "skip" and "load" functions, which saved me some time).

I found a lot of value in the fact that Skrillexdere Dev put over a year into the making of this game, and apparently a good amount of money. The time spent on little details and inside jokes was impressive to me, as was the actual knowledge and discourse on the genre. While the humor was extremely lowbrow, I couldn't stop laughing. 

More easily offended people may not feel the same way, so I will definitely reiterate: play the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator at your own risk. It's not for the faint of heart, and it's not made to be good, clean fun. The game is made to shock and appall, and to make you question your own morality and convictions. It's made for those who enjoy potty humor and downright offensive jokes. 

You can download the Sonny Moore Dating Simulator at Skrillexdere Dev's official webpage at your own peril.

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