Even if you don’t play video games, you may have heard of a Japanese dating simulation game for the Nintendo DS called Love Plus, back when one lovestruck young man married his significant sim. Produced by Konami (a company with a long history of dating simulation games [such as the Tokimeki Memorial series]), the game lets you date one of three teenage girls. A countryside hotel featured in the game even offered discounts for “couples” to stay there, and now there’s a sight-seeing tour built around taking photos with your digital girlfriend!
The tour takes advantage of an augmented reality set-up for the iPhone that will conjure a 3d model of your polygonal paramour in specific photogenic locations. So long as you don’t occlude the camera’s view of the AR signposts, you can pose next to the character in snapshots.
The latest game includes an emergency help button that can be used only once, and the designer cautions players should not press the button unless they really need to – and that it is “not a toy”. Apparently if you are feeling really down about your life (hey, the programmers know their audience) you can watch a tear-jerking scene in which your digital girlfriend gives you an impassioned pep talk about life. It has been said that not a single dry eye could be found in the recording studio when the voice over actresses had to record these particular sessions. Dating sims aren’t just for lonely guys- there’s also a selection of games with cute digital boyfriends to choose from for girls.
If the popularity of Love Plus is any indication, robots built to be the perfect partner may be welcomed with open arms rather than the disgust and paranoia one might expect. They would alleviate loneliness and, even with relatively simple A.I., might improve the quality of life for some people.
[source: Famitsu (JP)]