This book serves as an introduction to Japanese dating-simulation games dating-sim games and as an examination of their function and place in Japanese popular culture and their reception in the United States. Based on theories of subjectivity and game playing, it examines how video games are attractive and addictive and focuses on one popular simulator, the tamagotchi, as associated with "techno-intimacy" fantasy. Several connecting realms of Japanese popular culture are examined video games, anime, manga, and pornography or hentai in order to classify dating-sim games. Dating-sim games are also placed in a social context in contemporary Japan by analyzing common attitudes toward relationships and dating, otaku geek culture, and obscenity and pornography. The author argues that dating-sim games, as a form of control, offer an escape from the demands young Japanese men face from the ongoing marriage drought. This escape perpetuates the separation of reality and fantasy, a trend seen in other forms of Japanese pornography. Attitudes toward adolescents viewing pornography and playing video games in the United States are analyzed to understand the lack of popularity of dating-sim games outside of Japan.
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