Are you starting to feel that your virtual girlfriend just isn’t real enough? Craving the feel of her soft skin against your own? With the technological leaps being made in the field of virtual reality gaming headsets, otaku are being offered the chance to get closer to their digital darlings than ever before. But can they handle it?!
For those not up-to-date on the latest in gaming tech, the Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset being developed by Oculus VR (now owned by Facebook), that raised most of its early funding via Kickstarter. Although the device is not yet available on the consumer market, a developer kit is currently available, and many small indie games and simulators are starting to trickle out that try to take full advantage of all that 360 degree virtual reality offers. Everything is very much in the experimental stage with many ambitious and creative ideas cropping up, some of which are a hit, and others very much a miss.
A Japanese developer called Up Frontier has created a simulator and accompanying ‘item’ called ‘Ichi Makura’, which features the anime-style character Unity-chan, an ‘open source 3-D idol’. Think Hatsune Miku, but without the copyright issues. Anyone can download her 3-D data and use it in games and apps.
▼ Say hello to Unity-chan!
The simulator is essentially a short experience of a date with your 3-D animated girlfriend where you sit on a bench together, then romantically lay your head down in her lap. The developer uploaded a video of their creation to NicoNico Douga which shows one guy testing the sim, along with footage of what he’s seeing on his Rift headset.
Check out the video to see just how bizarre it seems to anyone watching, and read below for a walk-through of what’s going on.
First, you sit down on the sofa with your Oculus Rift headset on, and Unity-chan will appear next to you!
The next part is the important feature that adds to the realism of the experience. The ‘hizamakura’ is a ‘lap cushion’. By that I don’t mean a cushion for your lap…but a lap that is a cushion. The object is disconcertingly shaped like a pair of disembodied kneeling legs, but apparently it feels just like the real thing, which makes it not creepy at all.
The tester seems to enjoy rubbing Unity-chan’s leg thoroughly.
Next you can lie down with your head on Unity-chan’s lap, and gaze up at her kawaii smiling face.
▼ The stuff of nightmares…
She’ll recognize when you lie down and get up, and if you walk away from her she’ll punish you with a flying roundhouse kick!
The tester was extremely hurt by Unity-chan’s rejection.
This all sounds very promising for otaku wanting some physical interaction with their virtual girlfriends, but the conclusion from the tester after finishing the experience?