Unreal and very real all at once… and don’t be thinking you can get away with being flakey with your new and sometimes demanding girlfriend on Love Plus(Konami creation). This is a computer generated game launched September 2009 where virtual relationships come to life and it seems to be an absolute hit amongst the Japanese men (around 240,000 units of the game have been sold).
Originally Love Plus was Nintendo DS based now the iPhone also supports this technology, both are great devices for the game as they have the right technology such as touch screens, picture and video taking technology… perfect tools for when that moment comes to insert yourself into your home made romcom!
So how does it work?
Well you pick one of three girls who are all high school students (is that a bit odd? Or is that okay as they’re not real?) I’ll list the three options below…
- Manaka Takane who is sweet and studious and loves tennis and baking
- Rinko Kobayakawa who is a loner that’s into punk music and chips (random)
- Nene Anegasaki who enjoys housework and horror films
Each girl develops according to her ‘boyfriends’ tastes, he controls everything from the length of her hair to the pet name by which she addresses him. As Danielle Demetriou reports in the March issue of Marie Claire ‘these girls aren’t pushovers, they demand to be treated as respectfully as any real counterpart, and a mere hint of neglect (a late email, a forgotten birthday) results in a serious sulk’.
Sincere users of the game have learnt early on that their virtual girlfriend can take things very seriously and sometimes it can take days to repair the relationship…is this good training or what?
Now it gets a bit more bonkers when it seems to be a serious dilema for men when deciding which relationnship they like most out of the non virtual love life and the virtual one…tricky?!!!
So you think that’s bonkers?
The software is now portable so goodbye to the days of sitting in front of a TV dating, you can now take your girlfriend out ‘the interaction on Love Plus is intense, but innocent (it’s rated 15+): hands are held, hair is stroked and kisses are exchanged by touching a stylus on the screen of the image of the girlfriend, unleashing a flurry of cartoon hearts. But the images are racy at times, particularly when the girlfriends slip off their flirtatious short school uniforms to appear in pulse-raising bikinis for a date at the local pool’.
Well it seems users of the game go out with their girlfriends and actually visit hotels and restaurants that are also featured in the virtual world. Konami have taken this concept/fantasy to the next level peeps players of the game can take their girlfriends on a holiday to the coastal town of Atami. Atami restaurateur Kanji Nagasawa has watched men sit and play with the game whilst eating ‘we’ve been stunned by how happy this makes those customers’ .
Creators Konami hosted a sell out Christmas concert in Tokyo where life sized holograms of the girls performed, taking that on screen fantasy a step further out of the box and onto a stage.
For those that are new to this I hope this has been an interesting and brief introduction into something bizarre and clever.