Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Virtual Girlfriend?!?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004
In the same year that saw The Stepford Wives remade into a film which basically blames women for their own oppression, software and gaming company Artificial Life has gone one better. Introducing, the Virtual Girlfriend:

As the BBC reports, she's:
For men without a partner, help may be at hand - in the form of a virtual girlfriend. The Hong Kong company Artificial Life, which developed the new game, says the girl will appear as an animated figure on the video screen of a mobile phone. But there is a downside to the virtual girlfriend - she will require more flowers and gifts than many real women. [...] All virtual girls will look the same - but each girl will behave differently - depending on how much money is spent on her. On top of a general subscription, men will be charged a fee to buy flowers and gifts for the virtual girlfriend.In return, she will introduce them to different aspects of her life, like letting them meet her female friends - also electronic images. [...] If players neglect her, she will refuse to speak.
So, for wealthy enough men, women are still reduced to a status symbol with status dependant on "how much she costs to maintain"?!? *sigh* I really hope this simulation tanks in terms of sales. [Via TerraNova]

Update (26 Aug 2004, 10:58): Along very similar lines, Chris Morris (for CNN/Money) reports:
She's a statuesque redhead with green eyes who stands 5'7". Her measurements are 36-22-36 and she's posing topless for the October issue of Playboy magazine.Oh, just one thing... she's a video game character. Her name's Bloodrayne and she'll make her naked debut alongside a feature in the upcoming issue of the men's magazine. Joining her in the CGI photospread (which will accompany an article about the changing face of gaming) will be a handful of gaming characters. While not all the characters will appear in the pixilated buff, you can expect a lot of come hither looks from some butt-kicking women...
While nude CGI models have always existed in "Latest Digital Art" type books, the move of these images into the mainstay softcore porn magazine Playboy certainly opens interesting questions about eroticisation, the digital and (retrospectively) body types & images in video games. (In this climate, surely establishing an R18+ rating category for videogames in Australia is even more important!). [Via WaxyLinks]

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