Friday Poll: Your take on virtual girlfriends?

Players of a Japanese dating sim went so far as to take their virtual girlfriends on vacation this summer. Are digital girlfriends good social training or a bad idea?

<b>What's your take on the virtual-girlfriend trend?</b>

<b>What's your take on the virtual-girlfriend trend?</b>

Love Plus Plus girls
Konami

As we've noted before, some people in Japan have rather wacky ideas when it comes to the intersection of technology and culture.

Take, for example, the Nintendo DS dating sim Love Plus. Men must keep their virtual dates happy by engaging with them in real time-- buying them gifts , taking them on dates, and generally doing whatever it takes to keep them happy.

The latest craze with the Konami game, however, takes this relationship nurturing to a whole new level. This summer, guys brought their virtual gals on vacation to the Japan beach town of Atami as part of a promotion for the game's sequel, Love Plus Plus, in which players form and tend to a relationship with one of three high school girls. Players traveled from as far away as Korea and Taiwan to participate in sun-and-fun getaways with their 16-year-old pixilated sweethearts.

Which got us wondering about men and their digital dates. Anyone who pays attention to geek culture knows that in Japan it's OK for fully grown men to openly fantasize about having underage girls as virtual girlfriends. But age issues aside, are virtual girlfriends just innocent fun? A good tool for imparting social skills? Just plain creepy? Vote in our poll, and be sure to add your additional thoughts in the TalkBack section below.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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