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Tokimeki Memorial Goes Both On&Off Line

Tokimeki Memorial, a hit "love simulation" game, goes to both on and off line.

Tokimeki Memorial ("Tokimemo") series are known to be the best hit love simulation games in Japan. Konami launched the first game in 1994. A player played the role of a high-school boy, and developed relationships with female classmates through various school activities. Finally the player chose one of the girls and ask for steady relationship. The result depended on how the player had developed the relationship with the chosen girl.

Since then, Konami launched 3 follow-on products, of which 2 is for males (boy-meets-girl type) and 1 is for girls (girl-meets-boy type). Another girl-meets-boy type game is under development. All these are single-player, console-based games.

And now is the time for Tokimemo to go online. "Tokimeki Memorial Online" has started its open beta test on October 2005. In the game, each player becomes a high school student and spends school life. There are no monsters nor warriors. Instead, students take classes (answer quizzes) to raise the teacher's evaluation, or club activities for group battle. But more emphasis is put on communication among players. The status of players are developed through communication rather than competition. The game allows players to spend virtual school life.

One characteristic of the promotion campaign of this game is an attempt to merge on and off line worlds. Several idol talents (both males and females) participate in the game by using avatars of themselves. Besides, they will open a cafe featuring Tokimemo in Harajuku, the trendiest spot in Tokyo in November. The staff of the cafe wear the uniform of the virtual school in the game so that players can feel like they are actually in the game. These staff also play the game as the avatar of themselves, and participate in various promotion activities of the game.

A major difference between single-player and MMO RPGs is that not everyone can be the heroine/hero in the latter. In MMORPG a player is just "one of many players." This makes MMORPGs less "dramatic" than single-player games and less "centered." Konami's attempt in the promotion campaign of Tokimemo Online is to solve this problem by having real "idols" in the game. These idols (including the staff of Tokimemo cafe) are expected to become the hub of relationship and communication among players in the game.

If you define the relationship with (paid) idols are not real, the communication in Tokimemo Online is only imaginary. But in many cases human relationships in MMORPGs are virtual anyway. Commitment to the "idol" avatar in the game is nothing different from that to a real-world rock star. The "communication" with the rock star is only imaginary, but for the fans it is nothing less than real. In this sense, this is another way to create virtual communities and to promote virtual communication.

For virtual idols in the game, this is another chance for them to be exposed to people. They might appear in television, radio, magazines, and movies; and now they obtain a new media: MMORPG. If one of them becomes a "real" star, it would certainly alter what people think of games.


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well,try it later

Posted by: James | April 24, 2006 11:12 AM

being looking to it for a long time,yeah!

Posted by: Hebe | April 24, 2006 11:21 AM

Is there any job to choose on first entry?for example,bar waiter...ah..

Posted by: Sellina | April 24, 2006 11:33 AM

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