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Surprising Science

Dating a Virtual Girl

“The men are real. The girls are cartoon.” Increasing numbers of Japanese men are flocking to Atami, a city that promotes weekend date packages with one of three virtual girlfriends.

“The men are real. The girls are cartoon characters on a screen. 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. ‘Atami has always been a romantic place, but it is now a romantic place for a modern generation,’ says Sakae Saito, Atami’s mayor. Love Plus+ re-creates the experience of an adolescent romance. The goal isn’t just to get the girl but to maintain a relationship with her.”


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