THE iDOLM@STER (Arcade)

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THE iDOLM@STER (Arcade)
Initial Logo Before Release
Arcade Machine

THE iDOLM@STER (アイドルマスター AIDORUMASUTAA?), is a Japanese arcade game released by Namco on July 26, 2005. It was ported and rereleased to the Xbox 360 in January 25, 2007, also under the title THE iDOLM@STER. The game follows the career of a producer who works for the fictional 765 Production studio and has to work with a selection of nine prospective pop Japanese idols. It is commonly recognized as "アケマス" or "Akemasu", a blend between the words "arcade" and "iDOLM@STER".

On September 1, 2010, the game's online service was retired to coincide with the development and marketing of THE iDOLM@STER 2.

Gameplay

The iDOLM@STER arcade machines use a touch screen interface for all command inputs. A player's game data is recorded onto two different types of cards, Producer Cards and Idol Cards. The Producer Card details such things as Producer Rank, and one card can be used for up to 50 different idol units. The Idol Card details the status of an idol unit that the player is producing, and so the player will have an Idol Card for every idol unit that they have. These are provided by the machine if a player does not possess one or the other. A player can also provide their mobile e-mail address to the game in order to receive text messages to that address from their idol unit.

There are three primary activities in the game: Lessons, Communications, and Auditions. Lessons level up the stats of the idols, Communications increase the amount of "memories" the player can use during auditions and concerts, and Auditions increase the idol's fan count, thereby allowing the player to raise their Idol Rank. There is a limited amount of time within which the player must raise their Idol Rank, and if the player does not succeed in this time period, a retirement concert will be held for that idol unit, and the player will have to start over. The photos taken during the concerts that are held after a successful audition can be printed on to the player's Idol Card.

The player can also change their idol's costume for performances.

Characters

Haruka Amami
(CV: Eriko Nakamura)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 5
Visual 13
Vocal 19
Character 19
Haruka (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
TaiyounoJealousy-logo.jpg
Chihaya Kisaragi
(CV: Asami Imai)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 21
Visual 19
Vocal 37
Character 1
Chihaya (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
Aoitori-logo.jpg
Yukiho Hagiwara
(CV: Yurina Hase)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 1
Visual 15
Vocal 7
Character 27
Yukiho (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
FirstStage-logo.jpg
Yayoi Takatsuki
(CV: Mayako Nigo)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 11
Visual 7
Vocal 5
Character 27
Yayoi (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
OhayouAsagohan-logo.jpg
Ritsuko Akizuki
(CV: Naomi Wakabayashi)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 23
Visual 21
Vocal 25
Character 3
Ritsuko (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
Mahouokakete-logo.jpg
Azusa Miura
(CV: Chiaki Takahashi)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 5
Visual 21
Vocal 15
Character 17
Azusa (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
902pm-logo.jpg
Iori Minase
(CV: Rie Kugimiya)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 19
Visual 33
Vocal 21
Character 1
Iori (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
Herewego-logo.jpg
Makoto Kikuchi
(CV: Hiromi Hirata)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 19
Visual 13
Vocal 11
Character 17
Makoto (Debut Card).jpg
Image Song
Agentyoruoyuku-logo.jpg
Ami & Mami Futami
(CV: Asami Shimoda)
Image Stats Debut Profile
Dance 13
Visual 7
Vocal 1
Character 27
Ami&Mami (Debut Card).gif
Image Song
Positive-logo.jpg
765 Production Staff
Kotori (Arcade Website).gif Takagi profile.jpg Producer (Arcade Website).jpg
Kotori Otonashi Junichirou Takagi Producer

Songs

These songs were the first for the THE iDOLM@STER series and have made appearances in nearly every subsequent game. However, minor changes have been made to their dances since their debut, most notably Here we go!!, Mahou o Kakete!, and Positive!.

THE iDOLM@STER Arcade Songs
TheIdolmastersong-logo.jpg TaiyounoJealousy-logo.jpg OhayouAsagohan-logo.jpg 902pm-logo.jpg Herewego-logo.jpg
Aoitori-logo.jpg Mahouokakete-logo.jpg Agentyoruoyuku-logo.jpg FirstStage-logo.jpg Positive-logo.jpg

Development

In the early 2000s, there were arcade games already in use that allowed players to save their progress on magnetic stripe cards to continue playing later. Namco designer Akihiro Ishihara chose to create an arcade game that used that technology. Ishihara wanted to make a game that would make players want to come back to play every day, which would be tied to the growth of arcades. Ishihara realized that players would need an emotional attachment to the game for them to play it every day. With the target audience to be male players, Ishihara thought that a raising sim where players could befriend girls and young women would lead players to form a strong emotional attachment for the game.

To effectively use the competitive culture that surrounds arcades, Ishihara thought about various themes for the game, including professional wrestling and volleyball. Ishihara finally settled on a game featuring pop idols, who players would raise and compete against other players' idols to reach the top of the entertainment industry. The popularity of the talent search show Asayan partially influenced Ishihara in deciding on idols for the subject of the game, although he was still unsure if it was the right decision at the time. Video game producer Junichirō Koyama also points out that the concept of developing a simulation game featuring girls was influenced by the positive reception of bishōjo games such as Tokimeki Memorial and the horse raising simulation game Derby Owners Club. There were some members of Namco that thought it would feel awkward to play THE iDOLM@STER in public and that it would not be well received by players. However, when the game was first tested in arcades, there were long lines of people waiting to play. As word spread and its popularity grew, rival game companies said they had wanted to be the first to create a game like THE iDOLM@STER.

The goal of the development team was to create a raising simulation game that would have gameplay distinctive of arcade games at the time, including making use of a large touchscreen and a national online network. Koyama suggested that it would be interesting to have a touchscreen so that players could touch the girls at certain times during gameplay and get interesting reactions. While developing the game, Koyama realized that most bishōjo games at the time focused on specializing characters for players' specific tastes, which he felt was detrimental to the community surrounding such games. Therefore, one of Koyama's goals in developing the game was to restore a community where players would discuss what parts of which characters they like or find cute. Ishihara focused on developing realistic characters because of his view that there were too many bishōjo games at the time that had characters who were developed to be convenient for the player. Ishihara wanted to place the burden of an idol's mistakes on the player for not training her enough to deepen the player's attachment with the idols.

The ultimate focus was to create a game with a "cool, club-like image" that would be close to the feel of a music game. Originally, the protagonist was going to be put in the role of the idol's manager, but it was later changed to the idol's producer because the latter was perceived to be "cooler". The basic concept of the game dealing with a producer training a prospective idol to reach the top of the entertainment industry was only solidified late in the development process. The development team had many problems with creating a game that had no close equivalent or preceding game that involved training idols, so trial-and-error served to lengthen the development process. The balance between the graphics, music and gameplay system had to be adjusted to lessen concerns about players being embarrassed to play the arcade game. The staff wanted to strike a balance with the character designs so they would not appear too moe. It was decided from the start the characters would be rendered using 3D graphics, so Toshiyuki Kubooka was chosen to do the character design because his art could be easier translated into 3D. The developers employed motion capture to present a realistic view of the characters—not only during normal gameplay, but also during performances, which were rendered using motion capture from professional dancers. It was originally planned that the game would include 13 idols, and at least two of these extra characters (Takane Shijou and Hibiki Ganaha) also had character designs, but were not featured in the final game and were featured in later games. The idols of the Japanese girl-group Morning Musume were used as an influence to create the character types in THE iDOLM@STER.

Prototype

The game's working title was "Idol Game", and was first playable at the 40th Amusement Machine Expo in 2002 for testing. Concept art from this version also appeared in "THE iDOLM@STER: Platinum Album". There were noticeable changes from the final version:

  • Yukiho was originally named Megumi. In pre-release shots, Chihaya and Ritsuko's names were accidentally swapped.
  • Haruka and Yukiho were shown wearing costumes not in the final game.
  • School clothes for Haruka, Chihaya, Yukiho, and Yayoi were designed, but were never used.
  • Chihaya, Makoto, Yayoi, and the Futami twins' casual clothes differed slightly in color and detail from the final version.
  • Takane and Hibiki were two planned idols to be in the game, but were ultimately cut from the final release.
    • Takane: A sophisticated, quarter-European daughter of a company CEO. She is proficient in German and the piano.
    • Hibiki: A cheerful and vivacious child of the southern isles. She is an Okinawan of bright and active disposition.
    • Aspects of Takane and Hibiki were combined into the character of Miki Hoshii for the Xbox 360 remake, and they were both eventually revived in THE iDOLM@STER SP releases.

Idol Game Gallery

External links

References