A new Japanese iPhone app turns barcodes into virtual girlfriends.
Whether it is the ball-rolling cubism of Katamari Damacy or the butt-poking action of Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the Japanese have the weird game market cornered. Cybird plans to uphold this proud tradition with its newest iPhone app, Barcode Kanojo (Barcode Girlfriend). The game, which turns scanned barcodes into virtual girls, offers the first - and probably only - opportunity to enter Wal-Mart for some cheap furniture and leave with a girlfriend.
Here's how it works - if you see a barcode that catches your eye, snap a picture of it with your iPhone camera. Open that picture in the Barcode Kanojo app, and it will generate a three-dimensional girl for you (3D in terms of graphics, she'll likely be 1D in personality). A collection of minigames will allow you to build up the girl's affection for you, and if you get bored, you can beef up your collection of virtual girls by scanning additional barcodes or stealing girls from your friends.
The amount of technical prowess going into the app is slightly impressive. By utilizing the "Live 2D" game engine, Barcode Kanojo's seven trillion model variations appear in a hand-illustrated style. Apparently, they will animate smoothly, with movements responding to the phone's accelerometers.
If you're actually interested and have a Japanese iTunes account, Barcode Kanojo will be free to download and play, with built-in product placement covering the developer's costs. Readers can subscribe for a beta test on the official site.