Who knew that you could use an app to get a made-to-order boyfriend?
Seriously. I've spent the last couple of days occasionally "chatting," shopping and playing dress up with a virtual boyfriend while playing the game Boyfriend Maker. Yes, I'm aware that this is a game meant for pre-teen girls. I can tell by looking at other games in its suit—like Bride and Groom Maker as well as apps where you can take a picture with a hot anime dude of your creation. Even so, my friends and I can't stop playing this game.
Thing is, Boyfriend Maker is hilarious. You never know what your boyfriend is going to say—it might be on-topic, or it might be absurd, or both. He seems to follow the conventions of conversation... almost. The game reminds me of Cleverbot in this way.
Here are some choice screenshots of Boyfriend Maker shenanigans, courtesy of the Boyfriend Maker Tumblr, friends from Twitter, and myself. Blue is boyfriend, pink is "you."
I only have two complaints about Boyfriend Maker . My boyfriend has limited energy, meaning you can only talk to him so much in one sitting. Secondly, the accessories store is conspicuously missing a gold chain. Game, don't give me a freaking THUG shirt and not give me a gold chain to go along with it. That's just stupid.
If you're curious, the game is free and gets its information from another chat program that people can teach phrases and responses to, meaning that your boyfriend is always learning from interactions (though whether or not that includes those in Boyfriend Maker itself is unclear to me). That's how the boyfriend approaches seeming human-like in its responses—kind of like Cleverbot.
But unlike Cleverbot, we don't have a set of expectations that come with Cleverbot's "role." We know it's an AI, and will try to make that obvious when we interact with it. Someone being your "boyfriend," though, comes with certain preconceptions of what is expected and needed when it comes to intimacy, which is part of what makes Boyfriend Maker compelling and funny.
Also, you can't dress up Cleverbot, so my iPad boyfriend wins.