As someone with a sickening obsession for all things Jin Akanishi J-boyband/tat related, I often find myself spending disgusting amounts of money on Japanese teen fash/music mags. Quite a few of these run large advertisements for new Nintendo DS games, generally featuring Cinnamoroll, seals baking cakes etc etc – which is a nice change to the mags here which only EVER advertise sodding Brain Age…. but a random one jumped out at me the other day and gave me a double take! 99 no Namida (99 Tears). I thought for one MAD moment that it might have been some sort of related DS game to the bawl-yr-eyes-out-sobfest drama that is 1 Litre of Tears – a drama based on a girl with a degenerative and incurable spinal disease, which renders her incapable of movement by the end, but doesn’t affect her mind at all, nrgghh gawd… and awfully? That’s not so far from the truth!

99 no Namida essentially does what it says on the tin. It’s an emotional development game (one might say… an EMO game?!) which creates a ‘personality profile’ based on your answering a few questions on the starting input screen, and then uses this profile to generate a story which should… make you cry! The point being that it is healthy to unleash your emotions and release stress, whether that is through a solitary tear rolling down the cheek or an all out bawl.

Whether this is true or not, I certainly can’t imagine playing this one on the tube. And how does it measure if you’ve cried or not? And if it doesn’t try and measure, then why not just read a weepy book? Or download aforementioned “1 Litre of Tears” into yr iPod? (Or in fact, read the actual true-life diary the story came from?). Can the crying game… really be a game at all? So – I seriously have zero clue on whether this will make it out of Japan. Can any of our Japanese correspondents confirm or deny swathes of salarymen sniffling as inconspiciously as possible into their briefcases on the tube each morning? Or… given the genre of the mag I saw the original ad in, swathes of schoolgirls gathered round in the playground, at the heart-rending stories of … ???

Well – I suppose emotional development is as important as mental development, given the popularity of Prof. Kawashima’s Brain Training — which has JUST dropped out of the UK charts! For the first time since release! Is this a sign that we’re ready to develop other parts of our mind, as well as arithmetic and logic? Hardly very Vulcan, is it…