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In Japan, producers and distributors of media are disproportionately centered in Tokyo.

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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.