Those wacky Asian games…


Would I marry this cute elf girl and raise a happy family with pets? Read on to find out.

I came across another cute computer game today. “Luna Online” is one of the new Asian MMORPGs that are free to play but typically sell extra features to do dedicated players. The graphics are less realistic than in western MMORPGs, more similar to anime and usually excessively cute. The games can usually run on older and cheaper hardware than recent western games.

Luna Online looked interesting enough that I almost wanted to try it. Except for the Match Making. Evidently romance is an integral part of the game, with the game matching compatible characters and setting off a “Heart Alarm” when a match shows up, signifying “love at first sight”. This opens the possibility of a “date instance”, a separate area which the dating couple can explore together, with unique loot. (The voices in my head believe the instances are also decorated differently. I hope I shall never find out from experience.) Dates can be rated, and great dates can lead to establishing a family. Other family relations are also possible, like parents and children. Families can get a farm and grow various magical crops, including pets.

I can only assume that in the game’s homeland, this is considered attractive. I doubt it will have the same appeal here. I try to imagine City of Heroes trying to match random heroes, and my mental picture comes up with just static. It is just not done. (Romance certainly happens, particularly on the unofficial roleplaying server, but it is not aided and abetted by the game.) Even Dark Age of Camelot, which had a semi-automatic cleric performing marriages in the Camelot cathedral, left the actual courtship entirely to the roleplayers. I guess (from my anime viewing not least) that people in the Far East are more accepting of arranged relationships still than we are here. It is not like some places in the Middle East where you can basically sell your daughter, of course: You still have to decide in the end. But for those who don’t feel like hunting down a mate for themselves, it is perfectly normal and honorable to leave it either to the families or to highly trained professionals.

It creeps me out, though. Of course, romance creeps me out in Real Life as well, but even so. I rather not have my games try to marry me off, thank you. At least there ought to be romance-free zones or a no-romance flag…

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