Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Not a girl, not yet a woman

A couple of weeks ago, you may have noticed the headcount in your office dropping suddenly. But this wasn't a bout of seasonal affective disorder brought about by enough rain to have Noah reaching for the Ronseal. Nor had all those doom-mongering prophesies about a widespread H1N1 pandemic finally come true.

Instead, this mass
work-avoidance programme was inspired by the launch of a new computer game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Offering its players a variety of blood-thirsty scenarios to twiddle their RSI-addled thumbs at, the game's release was so eagerly awaited that even the Rapture will seem like an anti-climax by comparison. Obviously, the opportunity to infiltrate a terrorist organisation and wipe out an airport full of civilians proved too much for some people to miss, so they booked time off work to spend time with its gaming goodness.

Taking a week off to play a computer-generated soldier may seem a little excessive, but it's nothing compared with SAL9000 (presumably not his birth name), a Japanese blogger who has
married his virtual girlfriend Nene Anegasaki. 

It's a story we've all heard a million times - man meets collection of polygons programmed with rudimentary artificial intelligence in online game, falls in love and gets married in Guam. Somewhere, the ghost of Barbara Cartland is kicking herself that she didn't think of it first.

The wedding was streamed live on the web, with a proper reception to follow in Tokyo at a later date. Apparently a Pentium Processor will be giving the father of the bride's speech and the honeymoon will be two weeks in Second Life. I'm guessing that consumation of the happy couple's union will involve a
Wii Fit exercise mat and a couple of Nunchuks

It's all good for a laugh, and the blogosphere is buzzing with countless stories (much like this one) revelling in the chance to make jokes at the expense of those wacky Japanese early-adopters. But if I'm honest, it all feels a little too much like an easy PR story seeded to publicise the Nintendo DS game Love Plus, which is where SAL9000 met and courted his perky pixelated paramour. 

Or maybe I'm just a cynic who thinks that true love is more than just the modern equivalent of an end-of-level boss

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