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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node NecroKnight's Avatar
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    Japanese men dating virtual girls

    Now this is really pathetic. They live in a country with 127 million people and they can't find themselves real girlfriends.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...209658940.html
    http://www.getitbyte.com/2010/09/bac...ry-run-on.html

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    I blame capitalism.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NecroKnight View Post
    they can't find themselves real girlfriends
    I don't think the problem is that they can't find real girlfriends; I think it's that they don't want real girlfriends. Virtual girlfriends are very idealised. Physically, that's something that's enhanced by the anime styling which is abstract enough to leave room for the imagination to fill in the best possible details, yet aesthetic enough to be attractive. But behaviourally, they're very idealised, too. It's hard for real girls to compete.

    That's not to say it's not pathetic: I don't want to judge, but I reluctantly think you're right about that. The reasons may be different to what you think, though.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    Devil's advocate: What's the difference between this and getting heavily into any other character-based RPG?

    Assuming these guys have the cognitive faculties to know the difference between the real and the virtual (hardly a stretch), this could easily be viewed as just another type of harmless escapist fantasy, to go alongside the other types of harmless fantasy we all play.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Mhmm, why exactly is that pathetic?

    I thought we as gamers understand that a connection between people and certain games (which are just virtual entertainment most of the time) is something that can go a bit further than the mainstream "norm".

    Can I understand it? No, not really (though I know I fell a little bit in love with Annah from Planescape: Torment on my very first playthrough). But judge it "pathetic"? Why?
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  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Even when we become completely immersed in a game, we acknowledge the boundaries of the "magic circle". We acknowledge that the game is only 'real' within that circle. Refusal to acknowledge those boundaries is, if not pathetic, then at least some sort of social transgression. There are cultural factors, but I'm pretty sure that's true in Japan just as it is here.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Well, I'm fairly certain people know it's not real.

    I think it's on the same line as strange people garb plastic swords, don cloaks and erect some tents in a wood for a weekend of losing themselves in a fantastic alternative to reality.

    *shrugs* I find it interesting, not pathetic, but maybe I'm just wired differently. :)
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I don't find it pathetic but i do find it, a bit weird and a bit Maybe you should go get a real girlfriend kind of way. By the way I'm cool with cosplay and anything, that part of fantasising is cool to me, but this i can't really bring myself to not be a little judgemental on.

    If you let this kind of thing continue and even tell those fantasies are Ok by doing this kind of thing, you never really have the chance to bring them out of it and say. There are girls out there better because they don't go with the idealised version of Anime girls. I'm sure you will find some of these girls at anime conventions(seriously anime conventions are full of girls!)

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node NecroKnight's Avatar
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    I don't think you read the entire thing.

    The trips are actual, can be expensive and aim to re-create the virtual weekend outing featured in the game, a product of Konami Corp. played on Nintendo Co.'s DS videogame system.

    Some devoted fans will go so far as to pay twice the rate—most hotels in Japan charge per guest not per room—to indulge the fantasy that they are not there alone. A night's stay, at most, can cost $500 though many rooms are cheaper.

    This winter, a boy – whose character name is Sal9000 – and his virtual girlfriend, Nene (one of three virtual girlfriends you can choose in LovePlus +), had an official marriage ceremony, livecasted on a Japanese video site.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    I agree with the "harmless escapism" assessment, it's just an extension of the same combination of fantasy, technology and social pressures that gives us MMOs and ARGs. As the tech advances to let us create virtual characters with ever more complex behaviours I imagine we'll see this kind of thing become more and more common.


  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NecroKnight View Post
    This winter, a boy – whose character name is Sal9000 – and his virtual girlfriend, Nene (one of three virtual girlfriends you can choose in LovePlus +), had an official marriage ceremony, livecasted on a Japanese video site.
    Well, I know someone who paid a lot of bucks for a life-sized Tali statue, because she likes her butt. (I got a live sized Witch Hunter in the entrance of our house, because we're geeks.) If your personal entertainment value for these things matches your disposal income, go ahead and rent Las Vegas if that's your thing.

    And I saw the marriage. I actually found it really, really cool, even though it was a fake.


    Living out your fantasies is good! (And better and a lot more healthy than ACTUALLY marrying 14 year old-"looking" girls, if you know what I mean.)
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  12. #12
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    I will admit to trying this game out of sheer morbid curiosity and it scares the shit out of me, also I have an actual girlfriend so please don't hurt me :(

    From what I have played of it though, I can sort of see why the type of super-lonely Japanese guy this series attracts would be into it.
    Last edited by cosmicolor; 29-07-2011 at 07:15 PM.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node sinomatic's Avatar
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    I don't see this as being that far removed from my attempts to woo Leliana in Dragon Age....is it?

    I mean yes, there will be those who go to extremes with it, or will shell out ridiculous amounts of cash in relation to it.....but that happens in any sort of game. As long as the player isn't replacing or confusing a virtual relationship for a real one then I don't see the issue.

  14. #14
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    It's a little different from that, in that in Dragon Age or something once you've had the sex, that's it, whereas Love Plus seems to expect the player to actually maintain the video game relationship.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexing Vision View Post
    Well, I know someone who paid a lot of bucks for a life-sized Tali statue, because she likes her butt. (I got a live sized Witch Hunter in the entrance of our house, because we're geeks.)
    ...

    I am so jealous right now I cannot even know how to convey it via a forum post.

    about the topic:

    meh. Their life. If they are happy and they are not hurting anyone who am I to judge? Happiness in life is most important and if they found happiness in virtual girls than they are better off than most people on this planet.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    This is high-priced call girl money. One would wonder why he doesn't just get a high-priced call girl.
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  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Ah because thats just sex, these Virtual Girls...have some kind of conversation, or obey there every whim, or tell them there a great hunk. I have no idea I've never played the game...

  18. #18
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    Are these men neutered or something? D: All the expense of dating without any release of tension? What even is this?

  19. #19
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    The situation in Japan is weird. (and let me say first that there are lots of perfectly normal guys and girls in Japan - it's not everyone).

    There are large numbers of hot girls who spend hours every morning making their makeup and hair perfect, wearing high heels and very tiny short skirts - generally looking pretty great.

    And then there are lots of young men who aren't really interested. The "Herbivores" as they are called here.

    In many ways Japan is a little like 50s UK/USA - before the equal rights movement, and where a lot of the girls dress amazingly and watch their weight because their main goal is to find a husband. The number of career women is increasing, but i'd say the main life goal is to get married, immediately quit your job and become a housewife. (there's quite a glass ceiling too).

    But, partly because of pressure and expectations, and partly because they seem to find real women intimidating, a lot of young japanese men are opting out of their side of the bargain. Having real girlfriends is pretty high maintenance (even if they are doing their best to dress and act like cute little passive anime girls), and they'd much rather spend their free time and money playing video games and watching anime.

    So the girls get more desperate in their hunt, and the cycle of life continues... but the girls are the carnivores in this version of 50s america.

    I can see the cultural and societal reasons for the actions of both sides, but it can often seem very weird from a western point of view.

    (hence their birth rate going down, their population ageing rapidly, and their need for robot people to look after all the old people - and to be girlfriends*).

    *but not, of course, do anything useful like investigate nuclear power stations.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegooseking View Post
    I don't think the problem is that they can't find real girlfriends; I think it's that they don't want real girlfriends. Virtual girlfriends are very idealised. Physically, that's something that's enhanced by the anime styling which is abstract enough to leave room for the imagination to fill in the best possible details, yet aesthetic enough to be attractive. But behaviourally, they're very idealised, too. It's hard for real girls to compete.

    That's not to say it's not pathetic: I don't want to judge, but I reluctantly think you're right about that. The reasons may be different to what you think, though.
    Yeah. I think it's easy to condemn people on the basis that somehow their personal fascination is a resultant of desperation rather than as a result of a deliberate choice on their part. If anything I'd say the problem is very much that the fantasy of 'romance' as represented by the mainstream media is a very distinct thing from reality (something I'm sure we are all aware of) and in a country like Japan where that media representation is pretty much all encompassing it's easy to imagine that the fantasy becomes far more appealing than the reality. After all we are talking about a culture where even now their pornography is still genital free. Makes me think of this clip from family guy (SFW): -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWHJk5g9DOE
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