There Is Hope: A Relationship Love Plus Didn’t Destroy

By Ishaan . November 1, 2009 . 11:10am

Manaka Takane Welcome to another "Games are evil" piece featuring — back by popular demand — our regular guest, Love Plus!




This week, we’re trying something a little different. Different being positive. Positive being a healthy, married relationship that looked Love Plus in the eye without blinking and came away unscathed.


The couple in question is that of Koh and Yurie, two happily married, perfectly normal Japanese people that reside in San Francisco. During a business trip back to Tokyo, Koh found that the Internet buzz surrounding Love Plus had piqued his curiosity, and so he decided to pick it up. Soon, he found the game having the same effects on him it has had on so many other men — blurring the line between fantasy and reality.


Fortunately, this lasted for all but a week. Things went right back to normal as soon as Koh got back to San Francisco, and both he and his wife had a good laugh over the game. Boing Boing has an interview with the couple:


Q: Koh, what do you and Rinko do together?


Koh: OK, this is pretty embarrassing. The DS has a mic and a touchscreen, so… one time, she asked me to say "I love you" a hundred times into the mic. I was on the airplane when she asked me that, so I was like, no way. There was also this part where you have to hold her hand on the touchscreen. If you touch her hand with the stylus, you get to hold her hand. And then there’s the part where you have to kiss her.


Q: Did you do it?


Koh: No, no! The girl’s face shows up on the screen, and you have to touch her lips to give her a kiss. That’s pretty weird…. this is embarrassing. I’m sweating right now just talking about it.


Q: What do you think, Yurie?


Yurie: Until now, I wasn’t aware of the specifics of the game. Hearing it now, I’m like, barf. That’s just gross.


Koh: I know. It’s pretty gross. I really wouldn’t want my wife to see me playing this, me desperately trying to hold hands with a touchscreen.


This sounds odd but I have to admit reading this kind of warms my heart. As fascinating as I think Love Plus is, the scary reality is that it’s also not having the most positive effect on an already troubled Japanese society. Coming across a reassuring story like this one every now and then is good for the old braincells. Give the rest of the interview a read; it’s quite interesting. I’ll leave you with this hilarious bit:


Q: So what is your Love Plus girlfriend doing now?


Koh: I’m too scared to find out. I’m probably going to get in big trouble if I open it after leaving her alone for several weeks. Maybe she’s dead now. That would be scary.


Yurie: Does that happen?


Koh: I don’t think so . But remember Tamagochi? They used to die if you didn’t feed them.


Yurie: Oh yeah. That would be kind of bittersweet.

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  • malek86

    Ahah, that’s like me every time I want to play Animal Crossing again… I always delete my old file first, because I don’t want to see what has happened to the city in the months I’ve been away.Now I just delete my file every time I get bored, so I don’t have to do it later :P

  • Hraesvelgr

    You know… I don’t really understand how anyone with a relationship with a real human being could allow this thing to destroy that. I mean, sure, I could see it coming from the “so ronery” guy, but it seems really strange that anyone with a girlfriend/wife would take this over that. Then again, I could never get into these types of games, so I guess I’ll never really understand.

    • abasm

      Real human beings are, like, HARD mode.

      …in all seriousness, though, it’s easy to get sucked into fantasy. Life doesn’t always play out the way we want it to, and there are bumps and hiccups along the way. In movies, novels, and video games especially, there is a degree of control one exerts over the world they immerse themselves in. You can start and stop at any time, and if things don’t play out the way you like, you can always start over. No harm done.

      • Slashlen

        They also don’t have strategy guides(accurate ones at least), volume controls, and you can’t trade them in. :)

        • Hraesvelgr

          You can trade them in, it’s just not usually as simple as it is with a game.

      • Hraesvelgr

        I think the issue is that a lot of these people *don’t* stop, much like the guy who bought flowers, perfume and a cake (which he threw out) for his virtual girl. I’m not really against these things, but some people take it a little too far and get too obsessed over something that’s not really real, to the point of where it affects their real life.

        • Sort of like the stories I hear about WoW and other games where it becomes “their” life.
          I came across an interesting video (all the videos are worth a look) that sort of dwells into how one can get sucked into a game on that level:

          Very interesting, especially the “Don interviews”. It shows how even though you’re in a relationship, things just get thrown out of the loop when it becomes tilted. Sometimes it’s the game themselves, but sometimes it isn’t.

    • Aoshi00

      Having a fantasy gf is way better than cheating on your real life girlfriend/wife, so there. And I guess it depends on how long one is married to his wife, lol… I don’t think this would have any adverse effects on a real couple either. But this kind of game is fun just as people think being an elf or dwarf is fun in a fantasy RPG, not everyone “gets” that. It’s just an escape in a way. You play a role in any game, a macho guy who shoots aliens, a helpless guy stranded in strange town, here a high school guy who could pursue some romance w/ his childhood friend (or smitten his senpai for those who go for the older type), stuffs that we don’t get to do in real life.

      • Hraesvelgr

        Sure, it’s better than cheating on your girlfriend/wife and it shouldn’t really be a problem in a healthy relationship, but weren’t there people supposedly ignoring their significant others because of the game? I can’t find the link for that one, so maybe I’m just thinking of something else. I just don’t think this should take precedence over something real.

        I see a lot of talk about how women in Japan want a guy to be making decent money if they want to date/marry them, so I can understand that it may be difficult to get with a real person in that situation. On the other hand, there are a lot of people with the “2D>3D” menality, posting their misogynistic views all over the internet. And then they wonder why “3D girls” won’t go out with them…

        • Aoshi00

          I don’t have any statics, but I don’t have any reason to believe this game has actually ruined people’s relationships, other than the fact that girlfriends/wifes probably don’t like their bf/husbands playing so much games in general, especially this since it’s kind of like Tamagotchi that you have to give it undivided attention. Imagine a guy comes home, his wife asks how his day is, and he says I have to give Rinko her birthday present, or something.. and I doubt the missus would like that (realistically she would want you to go back to school w/ your spare time to earn more money for the family). Also I think this game is just being made as a scapecoat or something, by that argument, the time spent on manga/anime/games also contribute to taking one’s time in socializing. So should Konami stop making this game for the good of the society? Games are only evil as you want them to be. If one lets their life be controlled by their hobby, then you can’t blame the company that makes these things.EDIT: Personally, I think this type of games is best played by younger males in their teens, since at that time you don’t have a real other half yet and can indulge yourself in a make believe dating perfect 2D girls. For grown ups/working adults I’m not so sure. I have pretty much lost interest in this kind of games now, but I would like to try it and see for myself what this is about down the road.

          • Hmm… I’m not so sure about younger males, at least in their early/mid teens.
            I read from one of the editors at Tiny Cartridge that said something that I was wondering that kind of concerned me a little and that was the control. Not gameplay controls, but mechanics and system on how you play.
            You see, you have moments in the game (and the article even cited comments about this) that had players really taken in by the girls in the game, how they would change their ways (hair style and such) just by slight comments.
            I’m not Mr. Fabio Romantic but the author and I understand that relationships are 50/50, give and take – all that jazz, so what’s laid out in this game kind of gets that ideal all murky when its just one sided, know what I mean? But, like I said, I’m not in a relationship so what do I got to worry about? :P

            I’ve read other articles where Kojima and Suda shared their thoughts on the game’s effect. Kojima noted that it has made one of his employees happier and Suda just thinks its crazy (although, he was kind of stalking the guy into a theater…).

  • haha pretty funny xD, at the end these are just games, it isnt bad to have weird kind of fun sometimes

  • Aoshi00

    Seems like everybody goes for Rinko (the spunky short haired tomboy) so far. I haven’t bought the game yet for the same reason as other games, commitment.
    That bit about Tamagotchi was funny, I’m curious what happens when you neglect her for days/weeks. I will try this next year or something.

    • Aoshi, are you going to maintain a journal of your playthrough once you finally get down to playing this?

      • Aoshi00

        That sounds like a good idea, but I’m not sure if it would take me out of the experience. Feels like something that should only btwn “us two” lol. I’ll tell you this, I’m aiming at the 3rd girl, the onee-san type who’s more mature (and because Minaguchi Yuuko was one of my favorite seiyuu) . Not to blow my own horn, but in real life I’ve dated more than my fair share of older women since I’m always instinctively drawn to them, my boyish good looks be damned.. I hope I would find this game cheap later on. If I ever get a chance w/ this game I’ll be sure to regale you w/ my adventure :)

        • Haha, you and me both. But yea, you need to keep Qoo and me updated when you get down to playing Love Plus. That’ll make for one heck of a mail thread. :D

          (Hopefully, it’ll also keep you from eloping with your DS, leaving your entire family behind)

  • I’ve been reading about this game for a while now and it does seem rather interesting in a bizarre way, lol. It’s like all those guys going crazy over Tokimeki Memorial back in the day, haha. This is much worse though because of all the advanced interactions you can have with your girlfriend this time!

    It’s kind of scary, but very interesting at the same time. On one hand, people would say that it is creepy and if you play it, you’re pathetic. However, on the other hand, people would say that this is a wonderful step towards making the player feel more interactive with the game, thus creating a better atmosphere for said player.

    I, for one, am on the fence. I’m kind of scared about how interactive it is, haha. Although, I will say that I can understand why some guys prefer playing this over having a real girlfriend.

    If you ever get into an argument, you can just turn the DS off. If you’re ever found cheating, once can just turn the DS off. If you are going to get married and you start having second thoughts, you can turn the DS off and never look back.

    Putting the time and effort into a real human being is kind of pressuring when put into big decisions such as: moving in together, getting married, starting a family, etc.

    I think it’s just much harder to let go when you’re attached to a real person, but yeah, the virtual girlfriend is much more easier to deal with because if she gives you too much lip, you can threaten to sell her on ebay :D

    • Aoshi00

      Or let her die starving like a tamagotchi, lol… I think people are taking this issue way too seriously sometimes (yet I suppose it is serious for those gamers who have no gfs and depend too much on this fantasy). I’m going to give this a try later on and looking forward to “kiss” her and such, ah, saying such thoughts out loud makes me blush haha.

      But seriously, I’m extremely curious on how they take the interaction to the next level w/ the DS. I want to see the girls’ faces on a bigger DS LL (XL) screen!

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