Gamera Obscura: Girlfriend Construction Set

Why the long face, buddy? Did you run out of old taco shells in the ol' pantry for snacking?

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Over 8-million people purchased Halo 3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sold a whopping 12 million. And Nintendo can’t defecate out Pokémon and “Wii Insert Random Thing To Do Here” games fast enough to completely satisfy the masses. But with all these amazing successes, there have been numerous games and even complete series that have fallen to the wayside. Remember: for every Super Mario Bros., there’s a Shutokou Battle 2: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh. As a proud gamer, I feel that it is my privilege—nay, my duty—to take some time and offer a brief glimpse at many of the games that disappeared into bargain bins and trash bins alike due to overshadowing from more prominent titles, as well as titles that will forever remain sequestered within one region of the world. You’d better be prepared to be educated a little, because there is much that you haven’t seen.

March 2012: Girlfriend Construction Set

HO-HUM…

Why the long face, buddy? Did you run out of old taco shells in the ol’ pantry for snacking?

WHY DO YOU CARE? YOU ONLY SHOW UP HERE ONCE A MONTH, TALK ABOUT SOME CRAPPY JAPANESE FAMICOM GAME, AND THEN DISAPPEAR INTO THIN AIR. I DOUBT YOU GIVE A RAT’S WIGGLY PLUM PUDDING ABOUT ANY PROBLEMS I HAVE.

Now, listen here, Ominous Voice! It may be true that I visit GameCola to promote obscure videogames and bring them into the limelight, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be here for other purposes. I am a human being, just like…well, I am a human being, I understand emotions and feelings, and if ever there is a crisis with a fellow being, I can’t simply stand by and ignore it, especially when it is you, my gruff partner in crime! So tell me, what’s bothering you?

I THINK I WILL BE…FOREVER ALONE!

Like that annoying Internet meme?

YES, LIKE THE MEME. IT’S BEEN AGES SINCE I HAD A GIRLFRIEND. HECK, I’M NOT EVEN SURE I’VE EVER HAD A FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP AT ALL WITH ANYONE OF THE FEMALE PERSUASION. I KNOW IT COMES EASY FOR THE OTHER FOLKS HERE AT GAMECOLA; THEY JUST MARRY EACH OTHER AND SAVE THEMSELVES THE TROUBLE OF ACTUALLY SEARCHING FOR A LOVED ONE. BUT, AS FOR ME, I’M STARTING TO DOUBT MY ABILITY TO BE A…”CATCH.”

You poor guy! Well, I realize we’re running out of available mates—it’s a real sausage-with-beardfest around here, but there must be somebody! What about Kate Jay? Or how about Jillian Dingwall, perhaps? Eh? Wanna be the Angry Ominous Dingwall?

THEY BOTH TURNED ME DOWN.

Those ingrates! Well, we don’t need them! There’s another way to get a date!

NOT THOSE MAIL-ORDER BRIDES AGAIN, I HOPE…

On the contrary. If you can’t get yourself a steady girlfriend, you can build one yourself!

WHAT THE?! YOU MEAN, LIKE, A ROBOT?

Not exactly…but, in an amusing twist of fate, this ties in very well to this month’s obscure game: Girlfriend Construction Set, a classic that really shouldn’t be called that for the PC.

IT’S FREAKIN’ COINCIDENTAL THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE A GAME TO MATCH THE THEME OF OUR CONVERSATION, ISN’T IT?

Yes. Well, let me give you a brief rundown of how this goes. Maybe you can try it out afterward and snag yourself the ideal cybergal. Girlfriend Construction Set is exactly what it sounds like: you are constructing what you consider to be the perfect girlfriend. First, you have to input your name and that of the female you wish to create, followed by the toughest decision you’ll ever have to make: what should her face look like? I think they pulled random faces from those crappy late 1980s CGA game show programs; I recognize a couple from Classic Concentration…and that’s sad. Then you get to rate a few things out of 10: their body type, how well they dress, how often they get jealous, things like that…

AND THEN WHAT?

Then comes the real fun. You get to take her out on dates! Just choose where you want to take her: the zoo, bowling, to a Jell-O wrestling match—whatever tickles your fancy. Next, call her up and see if she’s interested. If she is, you’ll get to encounter a wacky situation (in text form, sadly) with several options at your disposal; the selection you make determines if the date continues or not. Sometimes it’s best to be a gentleman, but occasionally you’ll want to do away with such chivalry and drop the chauvinist wildcard…then grab your girlfriend’s breasts in an inappropriate situation. Of course, that doesn’t help you in your quest to find your soulmate. But basically, it’s just a case of picking different places to go and then taking her there. Making good boyfriend choices just helps push the action a little further along, if only in text mode.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M ASKING THIS ABOUT A DIGITAL GIRLFRIEND, BUT…DOES IT EVER ACTUALLY DEVELOP INTO ANYTHING MORE MEANINGFUL?

Funny you should mention that. I actually did end up marrying my constructed girlfriend. However, the next screen pleasantly informed me that years later, we would start having fights and I would eventually lose half my money in the divorce, at which point I had to create a new girl from scratch. I should’ve picked up on the signals earlier and clicked on the trash bin icon to “dump” her!

WELL, THIS WAS AN AMUSING ROMP, BUT THIS STILL DOESN’T SOLVE MY PROBLEM.

Yeah, not to mention the fact that the game isn’t very fun after the first…well, OK, it was never really fun. Anyway, I wonder what I can do to help. Hey, how about a blind date?

I GUESS SHE’D HAVE TO BE BLIND TO DATE SOMEONE LIKE ME.

Poor fellow. All right, I’ll hook you up with one of my girlfriend’s acquaintances.

ALL RIGHT, BUT SHE’D BETTER BE BUSTY AND NOT BITCH AT ME EVERY TIME I SAY SOMETHING TOO “REAL” FOR HER.

I think I understand why you’re single…

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From 2009 to 2014

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