In Japan, producers and distributors of media are disproportionately centered in Tokyo.
This paper offers an in-depth analysis of bishōjo games for the personal computer, which run the gamut from conversation to pornography, and comprise a huge industry in Japan that blurs the line between direct, mediated and purely machine contact.
Recent publications include “Moe: Exploring Virtual Potential in Post-Millennial Japan” (EJCJS, 2009), “Akihabara: Conditioning a Public ‘Otaku’ Image” (Mechademia 5, 2010) and “Maid in Japan: An Ethnographic Account of Alternative Intimacy” (Intersections, 2011).
The paper concludes with a discussion of Love Plus, a bishōjo game for portable devices, which offers open-ended interactions with a virtual girl.
These interactions are also with the machine, contributing to the formation of “techno-intimacy” (Allison 2006) and opening up possibilities of “becoming” with a technological “companion species” (Haraway 2003).
Keywords: Bishōjo games, dating simulator games, technology, Martin Heidegger, shōjo, Japan, popular culture.