In Hong Kong, there are 127 women per 100 men within the 20 – 34 age bracket. Yet this gender imbalance took a further twist when Japanese computer manufacturer Illusion released an adult game that further pushes the city’s fascination for virtual girlfriends in video games.
Real Kanojo’s release was met with enthusiasm by fans that flocked to forums to express enthusiasm over the newly-released game. The game’s official website had recorded half a million downloads by January 25, barely two months after its launch. Using webcam and mouse controls, players can interact with a virtual girl who responds to certain commands and actions. The game comes with a pair of 3D glasses as its maker boasts that it “challenges the limits of expression” as the most advanced game of its kind.
Supporters hailed the launch of the game. However, the game’s prominence also becomes a concern to certain groups who raised fears the game will eventually bring negative effects. One major concern is the difficulty for women to find partners when many male youths get hooked on the virtual girlfriend game.
The game reminds me of tamagotchi (derived from Japanese term tamago which means egg), a popular game a decade ago that allows players to keep a virtual pet on a hand-held device and feed and play with them. Virtual pets are similar to these virtual girlfriends who need attention to maintain well-being.
I am not sure now if Illusion will develop game with virtual boyfriends, given the gender imbalance in Hong Kong?
January 12, 2010