Are you tired of your boyfriend's looks and the way he just lies around the house? Perhaps it's time to upgrade to one with… cat's ears!
At the Tokyo Game Show, in a special booth crammed full of the latest romance simulation games, there are boyfriends galore – well-turned out 'digital men' who will offer you flowers and cookies at the drop of a hat… and then pick the hat up and tidy it away.
Voltage Romance Apps, targeted at women in their 30s, has a range of games in which players flirt with a fictional handsome, clean shaven flatmate. One of them, the free-to-download Our Two Bedroom Story does exactly what it says on the tin, and allows the player to “enjoy sharing a home with a variety of cute guys,” says a company spokeswoman.
These fictional flatmates don't laze around on the sofa or steal food from the fridge, but instead present the player with flowers on their return home, don aprons to make heart-shaped chocolates and will kiss and cuddle at the press of a button – how sweet is that?
Other titles include scenarios such as the kabe-don phenomenon – a fantasy popular in Japanese anime of a tall man leaning over a girl against a wall. Meanwhile, a not-so-cute version of the romance game has a spy theme that has been “designed for North American women's tastes,” by Voltage in San Francisco, says the spokeswoman.
Voltage says its games are designed to be played on smartphones and can be played by couples and singles. They include features that make them readily shareable among friends. Although it's mostly in Japanese at the moment, take heart that the apps are in the process of being translated into English.
He's such an animal
For the young woman who wants something that little bit out of the ordinary, game developer Ambition is offering teenagers the chance to keep a “half animal, half boyfriend” pet on their phones. “The cat boyfriend – which has cat's ears and a human body – is most popular, as its the most sophisticated,” says a spokesperson for Ambition. These “animal boyfriends” can be ordered to “study,” or “work” to buy new clothes and accessories. Meow.
Another developer, Sunsoft, is focusing on a genre called “BL” or Boys' Love (or yaoi in Japanese), featuring homosexual romances between young, good-looking men that are aimed squarely at women. The genre has pedigree in Japan's vast manga industry.
“We have some 50 years of history as a game developer but we entered the smartphone game industry two years ago with BL games,” says a Sunsoft spokeswoman, adding that the company hopes to expand its customer base to older people with more titles. “The latest one involves the mafia.”
The Tokyo Game Show is an annual gaming convention where developers can showcase their latest creations to the public. This year's edition was held on the weekend of Sept 20 and 21, and featured 421 developers from 32 countries. According to the organisers, more than 250,000 people visited the fair this year, marking the event's second highest number of visitors to date. – AFP/RelaxNews