Sega's new game touches hearts - and more

Games developer Sega is adding a new dimension to interactive entertainment with a game in which players touch silhouetted models to see what sort of "reaction" they can get.

The game, being developed for Nintendo's Nintendo Double Screen (DS) handheld console, is called "Kimi no tame nara shineru" in Japanese, or "I could die for you." In English it has been given the provisional title "Project Rub."

Demonstrating the game at the Tokyo Game Show, Takeshi Shimizu marketing manager for Nintendo DS, touched the 'model' on one of her breasts, her elbow and her upper thigh.

"You can get different reactions when you touch different places, and if you are lucky, you can even get a date," Shimizu said in an interview at the Tokyo Game Show last week.

While the game may be seen as offensive by many, Japanese culture often permits the exploitation of female sexuality in contexts that would not be allowed in many western countries.

The game scenario, billed as a "hot love story" that is "a little painful," involves the player taking the role as an "ordinary guy" who is trying to win the heart of a young woman with a "nice body" who is surrounded by attractive men, according to an explanation of the game provided by Sega.

One of the most highly-anticipated features of the Nintendo DS will be its touch-screen ability, which Sega is keen to exploit, Shimizu said. Actions for "Project Rub" include "pick up," "shoot," "fan," "rub," and "touch."

No working versions of the Nintendo DS were on display at Tokyo Game Show, but gamers were able to touch the silhouetted models on several panels mounted on a wall at the Sega stand. The stand featured a video of a male excitedly playing Project Rub, who was repeatedly touching the screen of a game console.

The game promises to create a "rhapsody" between the player and love, and will go on sale in Japan on December 2.

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Paul Kallender

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