SimCity and The Sims blew my mind back in the day. Sure, I’d played Atari
and Nintendo (when my parents weren’t watching), but the realism of the Sim games represented a whole new level of video games to me. Video games have come a long way since then, especially now that we can play them on virtual reality headsets. Now, Sony is developing a dating simulation game for Project Morpheus, their VR headset.
Sony’s Tekken Team is working on a game called Summer Lessons, which isn’t the kind of fighting game one might expect. Instead, the point of the game is to interact with and try to woo a Japanese schoolgirl. The sim involves answering her questions with a nod or shake of the head, as well as lots of staring. And I mean a lot of staring. Players get to follow her around her bedroom as she does simple tasks and does things such as drop her pencil — it’s like staring in through someone’s window, only the “window” is on the player’s face. The game is nothing if not voyeuristic — players generally stare a lot at the schoolgirl, who covers her tender bits (over her clothes) if you embarrass her.
Attendees of the Tokyo Game Show, which starts on September 18, will have the first opportunity to play the game. It’s unclear just how developed this playable version will be, though, especially as Sony appears to have not yet given the green light to Tekken to turn the prototype version into a full-fledged game. It’ll be interesting to see what the response to this game is, as some people have been a little creeped out by the voyeuristic element of the demo. It all seems pretty innocent there in the girl’s bedroom, but I’m not sure how interactive this game actually gets.
Dating sims aren’t unusual in Japan; neither are stories of people marrying anime characters. Thus, a VR game — or at least a demo — like this was inevitable. Pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend became hugely popular, even warranting an updated version. And while that’s a little bit weird, I find the pursuit of a pigeon to be less creepy than the pursuit of a shy Japanese schoolgirl. It’s just a matter of time before we get a VR dating sim from a feminist point of view — or, for that matter, a robot or alien’s point of view, which sounds more interesting than most of the real-life dating experiences I’ve had.