You know, today I wanted to write a follow up to the iPhone post I made recently, commenting on the remarks Steve Jobs made at a recent press conference. BUT THE FATES WOULD NOT ALLOW IT!
I found something much more interesting. Apparently, some Japanese women, half to be precise, think they can’t compete with virtual girlfriends. Virtual girlfriends would be the dating simulation games that appear to be quite popular in Japan. They simulate a girl who flirts with you, goes out on dates with you in the in-game world, and even let you put it in, which as gameplay features go is pretty awesome. However when I say “put it in” I mean have your own in-game avatar put it in…and by “put it in” I mean “sex”. Just so there’s no confusion.
But for these women to be jealous of these games is ridiculous right? I mean it’s not like anyone in their right mind would actually develop a serious emotional attachment to a game right? Well I don’t know about the right mind part, but one guy did develop an emotional bond strong enough for him to decide to tie the knot. That’s right, this idiot married a video game. Nice going, you do know there’s such a thing as reality right?
Now, I’m a big fan of Japanese culture. I think they are crazy insane, and their creativity knows no bounds. Though one might notice even they tend to repeat their own work. How many giant robot anime series are there now? Also, sushi is delicious. But this particular cultural phenomenon is kind of ridiculous.
Now, can’t judge too harshly. I once fell in love with a girl over the internet. She lived on the other side of the country, and I never met her in person. All I knew of her were some pictures and words typed on a screen. However there is a major difference here: she’s real! She’s not a series of ones and zeros, she’s a real human being, with real motives, real flaws and real emotions. REAL! Plus there was always the possibility of us meeting in person. Though it never happened, but I digress.
I’m not saying the games themselves are bad. Hell, I’m kinda curious to try it out, assuming I can find one with an English mode or a proper localization. This one I’ve heard a bit about, Love Plus, seems kinda interesting. It even includes some interesting social commentary: If you pirate the game, the girl will attack you with pure scorn, at least until it’s patched by the hacking community. I don’t know how it does it, probably detects whether the game card is legitimate or not. Anyway, the point is, much like in real life, if you don’t pay up, she wants nothing to do with you. Of course in real life it’s in the form of fancy dinners and jewelery, but the same ideas apply.
But the problem isn’t the game itself, it’s the fact that people are so obsessed over it. One fan even said, “who needs real women when you have Love Plus?” …Those who want to reproduce. Hell, there are even those who go out of their way to buy a special perfume that they spray on their DS to give an “authentic schoolgirl dating experience” which raises a few concerns but I assume it’s somehow not considered pedophilia…some loophole as it were.
But you know it makes me think, the whole idea of simulators has kind of gotten out of hand. The Sims is a game who’s existence I loathe for a similar reason. Take any other similar simulator, SimCity, SimTower, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Microsoft Space Simulator, Gran Turismo, they all simulate something you might not be able to do, depending on your age and education. However the Sims is defined as a Life Simulator. You do know you live life right? Why do you need a simulator for something you already do? It’s like playing Microsoft Flight Simulator while you fly an actual plane. Now if you play a dating simulator while you are single I can understand, but you must realize, every hour you spend playing the game is an hour you aren’t out looking for a real girl.
Is it really more satisfying getting a mindless set of ones and zeros to write on a screen that they love you, than it is to get a real human being to actually love you? I doubt it.
There’s always this question that comes up with technology: Have we gone too far? I think we have.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those luddite assholes who thinks technology and society shouldn’t advance over time. I await the day when we have starships and artificial intelligence, I think it would be awesome, and any technology is good…as long as we keep our humanity. This is causing us to lose it. It’s the same problem I have with the idea that we will all join the Borg Collective one day.
When we fall in love with machines we are basically treating them like humans. Which we shouldn’t. Because once we do that we start losing the definition of what it means to be human, and that, at least to me, is unsettling.
Finally there’s the differences: What makes a virtual girlfriend inferior to a flesh and blood woman? There are a few big things: You can’t take them out on dates, you can’t show them a good time, you can’t introduce them to your friends and family…without getting laughed at…and finally, you can’t actually have sex with them. A Nintendo DS doesn’t have a vagina. Though we do have the technology to give one to your computer and it’s only a matter of time before dating simulators are released that are compatible with this device. Right now it only works with porn movies, but dating sims seem like the most logical application.
True these girls are idealized and “perfect,” but they are also merely a fantasy. At the end of the day, it’s more important to live in reality than fantasy. That’s why I’m an atheist, but I digress.
You know, back a long time ago I watched the anime series Chobits. It was basically about a gynoid who was learning about the world. She ended up falling in love with her owner, which makes no sense to me. Who would want to give a computer sentience, and emotions? There’s also several unfortunate implications. Is sex with a robot, sex or masturbating? Old question that’s been bugging me for a long time, and comes to a head with these dating sims. These dating sims are designed so that you get the girl and have sex with her, and like having a sex robot, what’s the difference between that and any one of the robot sex toys you can buy at the local sex store?
But you know, looking back at all I wrote makes me sound like an arrogant tosser. I’m reminded of the prejudice homosexuals have faced, and continue to face, simply because their sexuality is different. I don’t feel it’s right to continue that discrimination. But at the same time, I don’t want to take back what I wrote. But I will say this: You want to fuck a robot, or pretend to fuck an anime character, go right ahead. I’m not going to stop you, nor beat you nor shun you for it. I might laugh at you. Say, “what? Too lazy to get a real girl?” But I really can’t force you to do anything. If you want, you can even marry them. I don’t care. Besides, we’re probably better off if you don’t reproduce anyway. The thing is, dating code instead of a woman is not that difficult. You don’t have to impress code, it’s programmed to “love” you. You’re probably better off trying to date an extraterrestrial. Even if you couldn’t have a kid, there’s a mutual emotional benefit, and a challenge.
Basically, I’m saying aim a little higher than a mindless series of ones and zeros.
In closing I’d like to point out that thankfully not everyone takes this shit that seriously. For instance, when asked if they would dump their boyfriend if they played Love Plus, one woman said, “I’m playing it too so I don’t mind. Nene is my wife.”