There are some games you're supposed play by yourself, but for some, you're supposed to play with yourself.
In Issue 214 of The Escapist, Peter Parrish introduces us to Artificial Girl 3, just one example of the booming Japanese eroge industry. Though erotic gaming had an unimpressive and low-tech start, he says, it's since evolved into something far more polished and detailed. If you've ever wondered what seducing a digital paramour might be like - and admit it, you have - here's but a brief glimpse:
If you're ever able to shake off the heavy sense of unease and get down to business, the way into every Artificial Girl's pants is through hugging. Really. You need to hold her in your arms and only stop when her lungs are about to collapse. Each hug raises points towards making the girl fancy you, as does lurking around near her, which suggests that stalking and inappropriate touching are the keys to building and maintaining a successful relationship. Once you've done this enough to achieve "lover" status, most of your sinister hugging will act as a trigger for more salacious acts. You can choose between a few positions, each one as stilted and repetitive as the last and each one ending with the curious icon of a bulbous red mushroom coated in pale hummus.
I'm not entirely sure how to feel about games like Artificial Girl 3. One the one hand (no pun intended), fashioning your dream girl with options like "is a blood relation" is rather unsettling, but lonely people using games to fulfill their fantasies seems harmless enough. Check out Artifical Thrills and give us your verdict: creepy hobby or harmless entertainment?