Virtual Girlfriend, Real Vacation
Recently, I did a short, informal history of efforts to merge video games and sex, inspired by a news item about Mojowijo, a company that's trying to sell vibrating attachments for the Wii. Today I woke up to find that I'd missed something even more sophisticated and odd: a video game called LovePlus+ which not only allows you to have a virtual girlfriend, but to take her on an expensive vacation in the real world.
The original version of the game, LovePlus, attracted international attention last year when a man married his electronic girlfriend in a public ceremony. When the expanded version was launched this year, Konami, which makes the game, approached the government of Atami, a once-prosperous resort town that's fallen on hard times, to help promote LovePlus+ through vacation packages specifically for players and their virtual girlfriends. Users of LovePlus can buy branded snack foods in Atami, have pictures taken with their virtual girlfriend, and stay at a local hotel where everything is arranged for two—even if one person is electronic. Watch the video report by the Wall Street Journal below for the full story.