Is this the world's weirdest travel guide?
Y’know, we always thought Lonely Planet, Fodor’s and the other Big Travel Guides were missing a trick by failing to include an element of romance in their chunky tomes, so it’s heartening to see a Japanese firm stepping in to fill that achy, breaky gap for us.
Tokyo-based game developer Overdrive has taken that particular step into the unknown with a new travel guide to Japan aimed at -- how can we put this? -- gamers with an interest in touring Japan while meeting the fictional woman of their dreams.
Perhaps that should be plural -- Overdrive’s “Go! Go! Nippon! My First Trip to Japan” is a role-playing travel adventure that drops you as a houseguest with a pair of sisters eager to show you round the country.
An integral part of the tourist experience, as decided by the scriptwriters it seems, is that your hosts’ parents are out of town, leaving the pair to guide you to their favorite destinations unsupervised.
If that sounds a bit strange, that’s probably because Overdrive is better known for its erotic visual novels. “Go! Go! Nippon!,” however, is clearly labeled as a family guide for “all ages.”
Yes, it’s a real guide
Still, some of the sales copy is a bit off-the-beaten-track. “Enjoy the date-like atmosphere as Makoto and Akira take you on a tour of famous sites,” it enthuses.
“You'll marvel at the beauty and history of Japanese culture, fill up on local delicacies and even share some thrilling moments with the girls.”
That aside, the title does appear to be a genuine guide, complete with information on customs, food, tourist destinations like Asakusa and Kamakura and even apparently useful bilingual dialogues.
Available now for Windows computers and in English, “Go! Go! Nippon!” costs around US$14, depending on the yen-dollar exchange rate, from distributor Manga Gamer.
- More on CNNGo: How Japanese manga can land travelers in jail