Sunday, September 21, 2008

Japanese Girl Sensation: Virtual Boyfriends (Webkare)

The site is a huge hit over here. Girls sign up and become members of a social network but also users of a dating simulation in cartoon style. They have to try to hook up with one of four male Anime characters (who are the "stars" of the site) through "conversations" and must collaborate with other Webkare members in order to move on in the game. Eventually they conquer the heart of the chosen cartoon boy.

It's pretty weird but clever. Dating simulations have been popular in Japan for quite a while now, but Webkare marks the first time the concept has been brought online and combined with social networking functionality.

Bruce Sterling sez: "I wonder why anyone thinks that William Gibson, author of 'Idoru,' is anything other than a hardboiled realist."

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