Saturday, September 13, 2014

Maybe the weirdest story you'll hear all year

WARNING:  This is a re-post from four years ago.  Not sure if this place is still thriving but boy, wouldn't you like to see the mastermind pitch this on SHARK TANK?

Remember those songs like “Lonesome Town” and “Heartbreak Hotel”, metaphoric destinations for the lost and lonely? Imaginary havens for love’s refuse. Well, it turns out one such place actually exists!!

There is a seaside resort town in Japan named Atami. It used to be a romantic getaway for young lovebirds. Well, either business was bad the women were stealing too many hair dryers but the town decided to go in a different direction. Atami now caters to a new clientele – the world’s most pathetic losers.

To increase tourism, the town has become the destination for male enthusiasts of Love Plus, a dating simulation game. This is according to Discovery News.

The town has partnered with gaming company Konami Digital Entertainment, the creators of Love Plus, to establish a resort that brings together the virtual girlfriend and her real-world boyfriend in a beach-side setting.

Yes. Yikes. Hang on. It gets worse.

Love Plus is an extended scenario in which the real-life "beau" plays a high school boy character in a relationship with a virtual girl. "The goal is to see how good you can be to her [the virtual girlfriend] and to build a relationship." And what better way to capture the heart of a screen cartoon image than by whisking her away for a romantic weekend by the sea?

Wow! And I thought the Burning Man festival was weird.

Now I know I shouldn’t be judgmental here. No one’s getting hurt (although some of the virtual girls might get their hearts broken or fail Algebra 2 because they’re spending too much time with their beaus), it’s all in good fun, but I’m sorry – middle-aged guys acting out fantasies with high school girls… in public – that’s a Sunday drive into some serious dementia.

The Discovery article explains how it works:

In 13 locations around the town, players can find 2D barcodes to scan and call up images of the young women in the game. The girls wear different clothing from their typical in-game looks. One hotel has gone as far as putting a barcode in its rooms, allowing players to see their "girlfriends" in a more private setting wearing summer kimonos.

Double yikes! Triple yikes!

Over 2,000 guys made this their summer vacation this year. I wonder if the iPad has a virtual condom app.


Again, my apologies but this is a giant cry for help. Please, somebody, create virtual therapists!

And here's what scares me. I’m sure there are congressmen reading this right now and booking their trip to Japan for fact-finding expeditions. At least four Florida beach towns and one Six Flags will flip to this next summer. The Fox reality series should hit the air right after the World Series. And worst of all, people will confuse me with the Ken Levine who created Bioshock and think that I created this game.

But the good news is this: You can now go to Comic-Com, wear whatever ridiculous tin foil superhero costume you want, and you're still the well-adjusted one.

11 comments:

Stoney said...

All that's missing from this post is an mp3 of "Imaginary Lovers" by Atlanta Rhythm Section!

Hamid said...

And worst of all, people will confuse me with the Ken Levine who created Bioshock and think that I created this game.

What, you mean this ISN'T you?
http://media.officialplaystationmagazine.co.uk/files/2013/02/Ken-Levine-.jpg

Covarr said...

Love Plus is so last year. The big dating sim right now is Hatoful Boyfriend, in which you play a human girl attending a school full of pigeons, in a world where pigeons have taken over. In order to be not killed, you have to find a pigeon boyfriend.

DBenson said...

Movie pitch:

Through both overt and subliminal marketing, an alarming number of powerful men have submissive, worshipful virtual girlfriends (and a some pieces of creepy hardware) as a safe and portable alternative to real mistresses.

Suddenly these men begin breaking down in public, some even killing themselves. The virtual girlfriends are dumping their real-world suitors, subjecting these powerful men to the painful rejection they spent their lives acquiring power and wealth to avoid. They go on Facebook with mocking posts and photos of their much-better new boyfriends. Some even sue for palimony.

Is the shadowy corporation behind the virtual girls beginning a campaign of world domination? Are hacker nerds exacting a terrible revenge against the guys who make money off them? Are real women pulling the strings, determined to teach the male sex a valuable lesson?

Or have the virtual girlfriends acquired sentience . . . and taste . . .

Corey said...
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Anonymous said...

I visited and stayed in Atami when I was in the Army, stationed in Korea, on a RELIGIOUS RETREAT (Jewish no less). It was a beautiful little town, with good suring beaches. Would liked to have lived there with a real Japanese Girl friend....

Anonymous said...

I visited and stayed in Atami when I was in the Army, stationed in Korea, on a RELIGIOUS RETREAT (Jewish no less). It was a beautiful little town, with good surfing beaches. Would liked to have lived there with a real Japanese Girl friend....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John the Scientist said...

WTF? Atami is a beautiful place, and they have an annual Cherry Blossom festival that is well attended.

http://www.fuji-travel-guide.com.e.kx.hp.transer.com/wp/news-item/4259/

Granted, not many gaijin go there, but I cant imagine why the city decided it needed this, except that it's really the first small, seaside town you come to on the Shinkansen headed out of Tokyo, making it convenient and uncrowded enough for producers based in Tokyo to run on a shoestring budget.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TheCroatoan said...

Want to hear a crazy coincidence? While I am reading this blog post mentioning the "Bioshock" Ken Levine, I am listening to the Bioshock Infinite soundtrack. It may sound nerdy, but the beautiful thing is that the songs are turn of the century style remakes of popular hit songs of the 60's and 80's such as a barbershop quartet version of "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys which is my favorite song on this track. Again, just a coincidence, but I only started reading this blog a week ago(had a burning question about The Tortellis show and this site came up).