Yuuya Iwama is a young Japanese man who enjoy taking his girlfriend Manaka Takane on dates around Tokyo. What makes Manaka special, is that she’s a virtual character found on the dating game Love Plus, which is available on the Nintendo DS portable gaming console. However, just like a real relationship, Iwama can converse with Manaka, reply to her e-mails and go on romantic dates. Love Plus includes over 5,000 scripts, 150 CG events and over 25,000 voice expressions. The game is set in real-time and essentially can be played 24 hours a day for a lifetime. The game only ends when the relationship falters.
Iwama has been ‘dating’ Manaka for over a year and explains that, “She feels as real as my real girlfriend. She is very cute but the most attractive feature is how difficult it is. I have to reply to e-mails. She gets upset if I’m late for dates.”
Love Plus was created by Akari Uchida, who believes that having sentiments for a virtual game character is no stranger than having feelings for characters in novels or TV dramas. At this stage, he has no plans to release Love Plus in English.