Category Archives: Bishoujo Gaming

Idolm@ster Channel & Shiny Festa TV First Takes

So I spent a night with iM@S Channel (ie., 30 minutes) and here’s a very rough take. Well, you will do well to read this first.

Iori & Tropicana Field

Idolm@ster Channel, the game is a free download from the Japanese Playstation Store. It’s a game. It is about 3GB, and took me ~25 minutes to pull it and maybe another 20 minutes to install it, I didn’t keep track (was away from PS3). Each song pack is about another 2GB. Yayoi (pack 2) was slightly smaller than Haruka (pack 1). [Insert joke here.]

The iM@S channel game takes you to a landing page with some options you can select left and right. On start it phones home for new content updates, so you probably need to be online if not logged in? I didn’t get to test. The background music in the main page is off-vocal versions of the iM@S classics, although it kept on playing relations when I was in the main menu.

The first option launches you to Shiny TV and it’s basically a PS3 port of the Shiny Festa game. Instead of the “story mode” or watching an anime or whatever, you just play the song packs in the “stage” mode or do challenges in the “Shiny TV” mode. The game engine is notably different in the following:

  • Calibration. You can calibrate to adjust for lag. It has an “auto” feature where it does a sound sync and then TV timing sync. You can also manually adjust the delay slider (but it uses arbitrary units from -10 to +10).
  • Silence is a default chime tone, for those of you who want your presses to be silent (like me).
  • The scoring has changed a little, if not the timing window. Or so I feel it’s a little tighter than on PSP/iOS. I think it’s a lot easier to get a lower grade, but that might just be me sucking it up.
  • Gravure Mode, which I will describe below.

Honestly I haven’t had that much time to tease out the details even if I spent most of my time playing this. Machiuke Prince is a very…AKB48-style song, and it’s a nice change of pace. For some, that alone is worth the price of admission.

iM@S Channel’s free download comes with one song, We Have A Dream. It’s a little funky but could grow on you…after God knows how many times like the majority of iM@S music. As for song packs, if you sunk money for Shiny Festa already, then this kinda sucks because about 2/3 of it is stuff already on Shiny Festa. For example in song pack 2 you get READY which is exactly as is from iOS/PSP, Hamburger is new. I didn’t look at VampKyun and Yakusoku, but they have the same line up as iOS/PSP so I expect the same (especially since VampKyun is great already, no need to change). Machiuke Prince is new, but it repeats on every pack so far. Finally Kiramekirai is almost exactly as is from PSP/iOS, except for Gravure Mode.

Gravure Mode….basically gives you a third video track to the stage mode to Shiny TV. One song per pack (should be obvious which) will have this feature. When enabled in the stage mode, instead of the usual video to that song, you get the G4U experience instead. I think this is a great improvement; instead of camera UI hell, you get to play a game with Haruka or Yayoi in the background, making cute poses. Can’t go wrong with that.

Totally worth the 1500 yen. Ahem. Maybe it is time to remember Tanake is next up.

G4U mode seems to be the same, I didn’t really go into it, but for 300 yen you can unlock the same kind of game play as those Blu-ray bonus items from iM@S anime or the LE PS3 game. I wonder if they’ll hike the price. The free download also comes with the “demo” version of G4U #1 which does what you think it does.

The rest of Idolm@ster Channel features some voice clips and you can cycle through which idol graces the main menu, and thus who is talking to you. The sub menus have different background tracks. The home page selection opens the web browser. DLC page takes you to PS Store. There are two additional “???” place holder spots in the main menu. There’s also some kind of log in bonus and you can unlock pictures. I’m going to assume it grafts into the G4U image sharing service as advertised, so you can send it over the internet easier. Not that I have tried.

I guess I better play some more tonight. Learning the timing on PS3 is kind of annoying, now that I have to do the same songs over again.

What I can say is, even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a good value for a free download. If you do end up buying something, it probably is a good value too. Because if you did it, you probably did it for a reason, and I can say that these reasons are probably good reasons. Do you know what I mean?

PS. The EN iOS version of Shiny Festa has some songs with toned-down graphics. The one I can confirm is Kimi wa Melody, where in the PSP version Takane juggles that dance routine at the beach and on iOS she does it in the meadow or something, wearing a winter school uniform (one of them DLC outfits like from Vol. 16 or some such). But there are probably others, I don’t remember. I wonder if JP iOS versions are the same? Anyway, I bring this up because Kimi wa Melody would probably be the Gravure Mode song from pack 03, which is just ironic.

The Shinier Festa: Now Requires Less Thespian Whine

In case you were living under a rock while rocking out with an iOS device (6 and after), the iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa games are now available in English, and at half the price. Yours Truly found about about this on Anime Expo 2013 day zero, which is about 4 days too late. It’s too late because I already purchased all three games, but also because I was in the company of peers who would make fun of this situation. The best I could do was picking up some discounted iTMS store cards from eBay (daily deals), but 20% off sure stacks much better with 50% off rather than 0%.

So, don’t make the same mistake. Buy it now (because we should still recognize games are worth less over time) to tell Bamco that we want more iM@S content. The three Shiny Festa games are not only experiments or thermometer for them, but they’re also fun to play. Especially on an iPad mini (or similar gear). At least that’s why I bought them.

Check out this measured, methodological trailer from NGBI. It’s in English. Besides that, this trailer is made with the same measured pacing and display of feature that you will find after watching all 18 iM@S 2 PS3 DLC trailers. So now, once more.

For review-like material, check out here, and there’s the 3-some I did with Josh and Elliot. It’s… a little dated, but I think you get the idea. It seems like Bamco JP is handling the Shiny Festa games, so I don’t think it got the usual press marketing among game sites. It’s too bad, because I want to see more pro reviews of this game and what normal gamers think of it.

Season Ending Blog Anthology

A chain of short blog posts about their subjects. The last one is a run-on about Moenovel. The rest are about currently-ending or airing anime.

Waiting for a Levia-sama joke

Continue reading

All I’ve Got Are Stinking MADs

Convention season is also remembrance season. Spring is, for me, always a time to get excited. It’s when I fell in love with things like Sakura Taisen and Tsukihime and other nonsense that I can only look on fondly as memories, plastic figures, and a lost seashore of words as grounded sand by the passage of time on the internets.

I was just in the mood. And maybe you are too, to remember a couple old MADs that accompanied my recent fandom: Love Plus and the Idolm@ster. Or maybe they’re new to you?

It’s weird, because they do mark the points when I my tastes decided to change. In the Love Plus case, though, I was already playing the game around launch so maybe it was already too late.

I would like to thank the guy, who made the MAD, that made me first pay it any attention:

You can catch it at its original location on Nico (man, 2008 was not all that long ago). A high-resolution version can be found here. And, there’s sex bomb, a follow up.

The great thing about this video is that it doesn’t take much to understand what’s going on. The song is catchy, and it’s in English. The humor translates well without any meddling. It even has that iM@S feel within the concept–a gang of entertainers, being entertaining by being themselves. Sure, it’s still full of in-jokes, but that just adds to the flavor, not a requirement to get it. The follow up video is the same, too.

Less I could say about this pretty neat video featuring Love Plus (the original) and Nene the virtual girlfriend. I think it speaks for itself. And it doesn’t take an in joke to explain much anything. Familiarity with Love Plus just makes this video more striking.

You can find it on Nico and Vimeo. Only half a million views since 2010, this is pretty obscure relatively lol.

The Shiny Festa: Now an English Language Hoobie

Isn't she on my team wut

Since Bamco decided to localize the three iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa games for the iOS (and especially make it look nice on the iPad), I’ve been enthralled with them yet again. Well, specifically, I finally got to play all three this time, thanks to a friend whose favorite is Chihaya, which rounds out the one game that I don’t own in some form. If it wasn’t clear, I own “Rhythmic Record” on the iOS (that’s the team lolicon version) and “Groovy Tunes” on the PSP (that’s the one everyone buys, ie., Makoto, Miki, Yukiho & Takane).

In some ways if you are familiar with iM@S, there are no surprises here. It’s the same smooth cool-aid that I’ve been drinking since almost 2 years ago. The games offer new songs, old songs, popular songs, character songs, meaningful songs, and some duds. I still don’t think much of the music in the game, but seeing the girls dance to the rhythm is a fun thing. Turning the experience into a video game, though, is something else entirely.

It’s exactly what you don’t get when you go to an idol concert. Maybe this is where wotagei can transform these group-participatory experiences into game-like situations. It’s as if someone turned the ritual of Mass into achievements and on-beat motions, or pulling off a PPPH with the preacher gets you bonuses? I’m not sure how to feel about that exaggeration that I just made. But it’s not far off the mark.

Which is to say, Shiny Festa is still a set of video games. It’s fun, because of the songs, of the dancing, of the core game design decisions, because it’s well-polished, it looks nice on an iPad, and it’s got our oshimen in it.

Best Cinderella Idol

Me too, Anzu.

And lots of jokes. Jokes are the studs and buttons and the stitches of iDOLM@STER fandom. The entire franchise is a series of corny jokes, interspersed with showsmanship, gameplay, and spending of money. And I’m barely exaggerating. Continue reading