For women there are a bunch of romance simulations on the market – a scene that contrasts the Science Fiction-world of LovePlus: The otome scene is in a phase of fast growth, but it's still deeply rooted in the traditions of romantic storytelling as in books or mangas.
As for now, romance simulation games are almost uniquely a Japanese phenomenon. These games might involve the player a bit more than a classic book because of the interactive features and the multimedia character of the games, combining text, music and illustrations, but finally they are just doing the same old trick in a new media: trying to tell a story in a emotionally convincing way.
Where Tamagotchi emulated pets, LovePlus emulates a human partner.
And once again Japan proves to be the most advanced societal research lab when it comes to digital technologies.