Virtual Girlfriend, Real Vacation

Young men in Japan take videogame GF's on expensive trips.
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Virtual Girlfriend, Real Vacation

Young men in Japan take videogame GF’s on expensive trips.

-Carrie Seim

Virtual Girlfriend

Some men are so romantic! They take their girlfriends on romantic getaways to island resorts, treat them to fancy meals and tuck them in at expensive hotels. Just one problem. The vacations are real – the girlfriends are virtual.

In a story that’s equal parts creepy, sad and sci-fi-scary, the Wall Street Journal reports on a popular Japanese video game (offering simulated “girlfriend experiences”) that’s partnered with the resort town of Atami so that real-life gamers can take their imaginary GF’s on vacay.

This is truly taking your relationship to the next level. And that level is called Norman Bates.

According to the WSJ, more than 1,500 young Japanese men traveled to Atami in the first month of the promotion alone. The guys fork over up to $500 a night for the privilege of a (real) hotel room made up for two, a stamp in their official game passport and a chance to take jealously-inducing vacation photos with their virtual girlfriends superimposed next to them.

Read Sex Without Condoms

(Can you imagine the slideshow at that wedding? “Oh, the bride looks so thin!”)

In the video game, Love Plus +, men choose one of three Japanese schoolgirls to be their animated girlfriends. The adolescent girls (Nene has bangs, Manaka has a bob, Rinko’s in pig tails) sport sailor uniforms and keep things clean – no sexual contact except for a chaste smooch here and there. The guys can “hold” their gf’s hands, text them while they’re in “class” and meet in the school commons to “kiss” (which they initiate by pressing a button on the screen).

The gamers job isn’t just to win them young women, but to continually woo them – success comes from spoiling their virtual girlfriends rotten. (Maybe we shouldn’t judge this thing too quickly.) Men earn “boyfriend points” by helping with homework or exercising to look hot – if they neglect their ladies or forget their birthdays, the girls give them the silent treatment.


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12 thoughts on “Virtual Girlfriend, Real Vacation

  1. booksorclothes says:

    I don’t know what’s worse, the fact they’re dumping all this money into a game or the fact that the gf are soo much younger than them.

  2. Fashionista says:

    I think what's scarier is the concept that these guys are choosing virtual women over real women. What does that say? That virtual women are better and easier because all you have to do is push a button to make them happy?

    Could you imagine if the tables were turned and girls started having virtual BFs? I think guys everywhere would go ballistic!

    1. Bill and Ted says:

      In't a vibrator pretty much a boyfriend at the press of a button?

  3. Fern says:

    @booksorchlothes — totally! they can’t invest in a real life adult woman, they have to make their cartoon girlfriend a vapid teenager!

  4. MaryMack says:

    It’s crazy! This is another example of the laziness of our current young generation and their desire not to live in the “real” world. They will be happiest when they are simply plugged to a life support system from birth and the only place they live is in a virtual world in their minds

  5. kitty says:

    This is so weird and sad. But Carrie makes a great point about how much of our attention is sucked into virtual connections. Take a look any day at people on the street or out to lunch or even in the park — so many of them will be looking DOWN — at their handhelds!

  6. cookieclown2000 says:

    I love Japan and it’s culture, it’s just…
    it’s stuff like these that make me mad every single time. I’ve come to love and respect myself as a woman and yes I love a man just the same. I’ve accepted that, I just can’t stand it when people try to invent and diminish stuff like romance and love. It’s people who disregard the most simplest things in life that makes me mad.

  7. cookieclown2000 says:

    I love Japan and it's culture, it's just…
    it's stuff like these that make me mad every single time. I've come to love and respect myself as a woman and yes I love a man just the same. I've accepted that, I just can't stand it when people try to invent and diminish stuff like romance and love. It's people who disregard the most simplest things in life that makes me mad.

  8. high heels says:

    I find it frightening that it's middle-aged men attempting to hook up with teenage girls- read under age girls- these virtual chicks are definitely not in the adult age range- it's like there's an entire generation of pedophiles.

  9. high heels says:

    I find it frightening that it’s middle-aged men attempting to hook up with teenage girls- read under age girls- these virtual chicks are definitely not in the adult age range- it’s like there’s an entire generation of pedophiles.

  10. kliis says:

    Sigh.. Japan does it again– creeping me out for the millionth time…

  11. rgensemer says:

    Even if the “girls” were real – why would it be any different than Cougars going after young boys? If you condone one, you’ve got to accept the other.

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