Barcode Kanojo, ruthlessly separating nerds from their money

I am not playing this game, nor do I suspect (or is that hope) that anyone on this forum would be interested in playing this game. But I am posting it because I have watched it blow up huge in certain circles in the last 48 hours and I admire the just how ruthless this thing is going to be once they open their inevitable microtransations.

I am talking about Barcode Kanojo for the iPhone.

The basic idea of the game is that you find an item like, say, Gears of War. You scan in the barcode on that item and the program checks the database. If no one else has scanned in Gears of War, the game randomly generates a cute girl for you. You give her a name, and then you can spend your two resources, Stress and Money, to fill up her Love bar and make her your girlfriend. She’ll make a variety of cute faces as you touch her and get dizzy when you shake the phone and is pretty much designed to make lonely nerds never turn off their phone ever again.

The great part is what happens when you scan a barcode and it turns out that someone else has scanned the same barcode before. You get the girl’s profile, including who she is dating, and you can choose to add her anyway. Then you can spend your resources to steal her away. So you’ve got infidelity and paranoia built right in to your cute pretend girlfriend game. I’ve already seen someone share their barcode and then multiple others immediately get into a flamewar as they all try to steal her from each other.

This makes it so that you have a choice between spending all of your resources to keep a highly desirable barcode to yourself, or scan a bunch of stuff no one else will think to scan, like condoms, and spread your points between them to make a harem. When they let you make microtransactions to refill your resources faster, they will have the perfect tool to extract money from the desperately lonely.

For me, just occasionally refreshing the main page and seeing what kind of stuff people are scanning is more than enough amusement. It was heartening to see someone use deodorant, and I was entertained to see Diddy Dirty Money-chan.


One question you may be able to clarify: the rules state that it’s forbidden to “Scanning barcode on the product that hasn’t been bought yet”. So what are the chances in practice that different people will scan the same barcode and will clash with others?

Barcodes aren’t unique. Two copies of Season 3 of The Andy Griffith Show will have the same barcode, most likely.

Yeah, anyone from the same country can scan the Dragon Age:Origins Ultimate Pack and they will all have to fight over the same girl.

Go to google image search, look up “barcode”, print, scan, win.

You don’t even have to print it. Presumably you can scan it off the screen. You could also make some kind of barcode generator, though I guess you’d really need to be hooked into their database to prevent invalid codes. If you could convert ISBNs to barcodes, then you’d be able to generate massive numbers of barcodes fairly easily.

Creating your own barcodes is grounds for banning, according to the terms of service.

hrmm. i thought loveplus was pathetic, and now they top it. well perhaps not quite topped yet as tourist spots in jp are beginning to be loveplus compatible.

“Then there’s the plan that’s getting all the English press: the Love Plus Plus tour, a romantic overnight stay in coastal Atami that seems like it was designed just to get people to say “Did you see what the Japanese are doing?” The bus trip for fans of the dating-simulation video game from Konami is pitched as “the first summer vacation with your girlfriend.” While it is possible to book the tour for two actual people, the “girlfriend” they’re referring to is the one in the game. Local shops and sites are participating, and the magic of augmented reality technology can put the digital girls into iPhone photos.”

Any idea why it doesn’t scan barcodes on my Ipod Touch 4th generation?
I fear the camera’s low resolution is biting me in the ass.

And before you start calling me a nerd with no life:
I wanted to scan some rare PC game boxes to see if anyone did it already / will steal my chick (Day of the Tentacle Three Angle box, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers oddly shaped box and others).

Would actually be a neat way to see how many copies are still floating around out there for a collector. :)

Oh and in case the barcodes are too “old” to work (if that is possible):
I also tried Lego Star Wars but it didn’t work either.

The game is detecting that you won’t really care for your new electronic ladyfriend.

Point taken! :p

Actually it seems it doesn’t work for the Ipod Touch (yet) as a lot of people are complaining on some sites.
It seems to be miss labeled on the Itunes site that lists the Touch as compatible.

Oh well no girls for me, no rare box barcodes for the world. ;)

I’ve heard about people having trouble scanning things on their 3Gs because the camera won’t focus properly too. It seems to be a pretty early product, I heard that the Android version is about a month away from coming out too.

It’s a free app… is it ad supported or what? Or is the idea just to hook a jillion lonely otaku and then open a micro-transaction store?

We have a winner!

It does have ads right now, and I am 100% certain there will be a micro-transaction store.

It would be awesomer if they had figured out some way to make money off of people scanning barcodes. A Mechanical Turk where the payoff is in cartoon ladies.

This is a terribly stupid thing.

At least the feed updates are mildly amusing.

“One” was generated from “Baby wipes” in “United States, California”.

So are things like this a symptom of the low population growth in Japan, or the cause?

This is genius, even without the microtransaction part. It’s a way more interesting social game than something like Farmville.

i think they are just better at catering to their otaku. the dating sim genre has been around for a while over there.

the low population growth in jp has alot to do with high cost of living and an unstable work environment, its estimated ~33% of the workforce are temp workers thanks to the Koizumi reforms.