If you visited the Japanese hot springs resort of Atami recently and spotted a disproportionate number of men gazing longingly at their smartphones, it probably wasn't because they were playing Angry Birds. This summer, the beach town became a vacation hub for guys who like to treat their girlfriends to sun-and-fun holidays. Girlfriends, that is, who only exist on-screen.
And yes, there are such men, particularly those enthralled with Konami's Love Plus, a popular dating sim for Nintendo DS that also comes as an augmented-reality application for iPhones. Players of the game know that to keep their virtual gals happy, they'd best spend quality time with them,
Sadly for romantics everywhere, Atami's summer of virtual love ends Tuesday. It was geared toward players of Love Plus Plus, a sequel to Love Plus released this year. The object is to form and nurture a relationship with one of three high school girls with rotating outfits, distinct musical tastes, and clearly permissive parents. (See a game trailer featuring stars Rinko Kobayakawa, Manaka Takane, and Nene Anegasaki below.)