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"Virtual Girlfriend" iPhone App Huge Hit in Japan

I am trying to envision a scenario where I would want to go to a fabulous beach resort and instead of bringing someone special, I bring my iPhone and my virtual girlfriend. Well, in Japan this has happened over 2,000 times just in the past month. Apparently there is some game called Love Plus which is on Nintendo DS and also the iPhone. From what I understand, the makers of the simulation game have managed to take the virtual world and incorporate it into the real world.

At a beach resort in Japan, the makers of the game and the resort have teamed up to allow users to use their game and a two-dimensional barcode which shows their virtual girlfriend as if she was really there.

"Look, it's like I'm in a snapshot with her," said Shu Watanabe, 23, as he showed off his iPhone display, featuring himself next to the image of a doe-eyed cartoon character named Rinko, a smiling high school girl.

But wait, it gets even more weird. "The local Ohnoya hotel even offers traditional rooms to the unusual couples, which feature two sets of futon beds and another barcode panel that allows the men to visualize their girlfriends in a flattering summer kimono."

That's right, you can sleep right next to your virtual girlfriend all night, and, well, nothing else really. She just sits there. She isn't even some kind of blow-up doll. If the power goes out, so does your girlfriend. In one year, over 430,000 copies of this game have been sold. So, what does it say about society or life that men would rather hang out with a virtual girlfriend then take a real person to a beach resort instead?


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