Archive for the 'game' Category

I’ve seen the future

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

It’s positively impossible to stay dead when things like this video are happening (I was just browsing lolcats videos and it was suggested…).

With a long history of giving it a chance, I came to detest the 3D anime and 3D in anime indiscriminately. If 3D is inserted, it invariably mixes poorly, even in the best series by best creators. I grit my teeth even at buildings in ZKC, what to say about LOL GONZO. But if the contrast is removed by going 100% 3D, the motions of characters are terrible, even in theatrical releases.

Thus seeing how Haruka et.al. move in the Idolmaster game was a big surprise. DiGiKerot and Evirus were right and I was blind… blind!

UPDATE: Some are in high quality. And yes, Makoto is oddly feminine.

UPDATE: Although, maybe not so much in her intro.

UPDATE: Steven e-mailed to say that it was only a motion capture. I guess the implication is, I should not be in too much awe over the Idolm@ster’s software and Microsoft’s hardware. Which is probably true… Also, once everything is motion capture, why have animated characters at all? Just go live action with computer touch-up, right? Where does the magic end?

The real Sharon Apple

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

The raise of artificial entertainment characters is an idea so obvious that even Hollywood took a stab at it (fortunately, I forgot the title of that movie). However, why stop at what already is? Enhance the entertainers! This actually happens today, just look at Miku’s impossible hair. I’m pretty sure the real Sharon Apple is not going to look anything like the anime one.

Speaking of Miku, there’s something called Miku Miku Dance, which I think runs on Wii. It’s a different software core from Idolm@ster, and the video it produces does not look quite as refined, but it is very flexible. The two most famous clips are Balalaika (via Evirus), where Miku copies someone from Morning Musume, apparently (I wonder what J. thinks about Miku’s progeny displacing his faves), and inimitable Gekido.Obu.Hatsune: poor Shamus became second best with his bowling video.

As far as realtime kinematic and dynamic are concerned, there is an Western game called “Catch the Groove” or something like that. It plays like a fighting game, only the opponents dance as players mush buttons instead of pummeling each other. No motion capture, that. All that’s left is taking the Groove’s real-time mechanics, Idolmaster’s real-time rendering, and maybe Miku’s flexibility, and we’ll create a monster: hikkis from all over the Internet race to create their own Sharon Apples… And one of them might even win.

UPDATE: J. e-mailed to let me know that he had posts dedicated to the lady dancing with Miku, and he’s not a fan. He writes: “Koharu’s dancing would be fine if she just never opened her mouth. :-)” I can see now that my shoutout may be read in different ways. I meant that once Miku is done destroying Koharu, she’s bound to move to someone more talented. And she’s a singing computer program in the first place.

765 and 961 in Idolm@ster

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I was wondering what the studio names mean in Idolm@ster, and DiGiKerot said:

<DiGiKerot> The trick is that the character for 6 can be pronounced Mu or Mutsu or similar, so it contracts to NaMuGo, or, rather, Namco, the name of the developer of the iM@S games.
<DiGiKerot> I think 961 is supposed to be Kuroi

I began to pay attention when I noticed the fans’ outrage over the defection of Miki to 961 Studios in the PSP version. BTW, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the “961” moniker in some entirely unrelated anime, but cannot remember which one it was.

UPDATE: Andy writes:

Hm… Keroro maybe? I know they’re constantly doing 723 and 623 for Natsumi and Mutsumi…

Do they make a Keroro game? I don’t know.

DiGiKerot and Idolmaster SP

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

In case anyone thought that I was a fan of the game or anything, here’s what a real fan is like: “three sets of the alternative sleeves for the game” (with pictures!). Sadly, judging from the YouTube videos, the PSP version is animated much worse than 360. DiGiKerot puts a positive spin to it though:

PSP iM@S is actually a pretty good game. Obviously it doesn’t have the visual fidelity of the 360 version – it’s cel-shading is entirely faux, achieved using fixed pre-shaded textures and a lack of lighting, and its frame rate does tend to stutter a little when there’s two characters on display during the dialogue sequences – and the fact that you can only manage one character at once kind of stings, but from what I’ve played so far, everything else seems like a step-up from the 360 version.

Still, even if I wanted to play this, I probably would not bother, what is with all the firmware and region issues. My daughter has an ancient PSP that has gone into a semi-retirement after I got her a DS, and I even inquired about borrowing it. But the uncertainty is too great, and in any case I’m not a gamer.

UPDATE: DiGiKerot e-mailed that I’m just confused and there’s no region coding for games, only for UMD movies.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: I lookead a screencaps at Play-Asia and became convinced that with my Japanese, I would be getting way ahead of myself by attempting to play this. Otherwise, the game is eminently affordable (unlike a project of getting a whole Japanese 360).

Idolm@aster CDs

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I blame DiGiKerot. His gendoesque gaze compels me to buy IM@S merch. This time it’s the combo of COCX-35247 and LACA-5736. The former is bought without sampling first, as I swore to do previously.

It wasn’t a mistake, I’m happy to report. Master of Master turned out to be a fake “concert” with song tracks punctuated by talk segments where idols introduce themselves, announce upcoming songs, and generally kid around. Musical performances were pretty neat too (nothing new for gamers, I’m sure).

One especially curious musical number is “Danketsu” (“Unity”), where idols rap their short intorductions, some are rather goofy. Haruka says that her main quality is hair ribbon, I think. Yayoi proclaims that she’s poor but does her best, which is at least understandable.

The talk tracks weird me out somewhat, and in the same way live videos and drama CDs. Clearly I’m too used to familiar and comfortable visual language and mores. Graduation from anime didn’t come a day early, it appears.

Kotori Otonashi

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

My insatiable hunger for Idolm@ster videos led me from Youtube to Nico, where I found this fan edition:

The chick represents Kotori, the non-playable character. She is an office assistant in the 765 Studios. On the Master of Master CD, she does the Talk 02 track and “is made by audience” to sing, delivers sora, and is every bit as good as any regular employee whose job is actually to sing. I wonder if it’s a hint at goings on in Rondo-robe.

Finding what she actually looks like requires a few searches. The official site only has a smallish sprite (center). She also appears in promotional materials (left), and in figure set (right).

The only in-game screen I have is this:

It may or may not be real. Kotori says “タベ、危ない目にあってる私を、真ちゃんが助けてくれる……、夢を見たんです。うふふ……”, which is a perfect case of “know all words, cannot understand the meaning” for me. Someone has a dangerous eye, and then she saw a dream? In which Makoto saved her? Particles!

Anyway, after seeing the website “Kotorim@ster“, I have to suspect that a part of Kotori’s popularity has something to do with the office space romance.

Prosecution rests the case.

UPDATE: J.Greely e-mailed:

危ない目に会う is “to be exposed to danger; to have a dangerous experience”; I had to use my big dictionary to find it.

Now it all makes complete sense: Kotori saw a dream where Makoto rescued her.

Shin on Idolm@ster SP

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Shin is unbelievably pervy and I feel unnerved linking to stuff like this:

Probably the best part of the interactions occurs when things get physical. You’re then allowed to touch your idol when prompted, and in case you’re wondering, yes you can actually cope a feel, although be prepared to face the consequences. For the most part, Yayoi doesn’t seem to mind having her delicious flat chests kneaded (´・ω・)つ(・(・ other than just being flustered. I just got an erection typing that out.

I suppose my problem is, I project onto the game too much and this is not the way I handle my women and/or employees IRL. I must be one of those types who go postal after playing GTA.

Anyway, it’s an incredibly useful article as far as gameplay is concerned. On the upside, I’m convinced that I can handle the required Japanese. On the downside, there’s this stuff with keeping appointments:

Lessons consist of minigames that vary in difficulty, although you may skip this process altogether by returning at a later date, after putting your PSP to sleep mode. Convenient, but unreliable, since punctuality determines the results, where being late by even a couple of seconds could determine between a good and bad outcome.

My life has too many distractions to play games like this. Heck I cannot find 15 minutes free to do levels in Kanken.

Toradora VN is coming

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

I was browsing Amazon randomly [*], and ran across what looks like a Toradora VN, to be released on April 30 2009 for PSP. Tempting. But what if I buy it, and there’s no Ami path? /wrists

[*] Actually, I caught an ad at sidebar of Akibaos (NSFW ads). But this seemed like such a small lie.

UPDATE: Aroduc threw a bucket of water on my interest by reminding at #animeblogger that most tie-in games are trash. Toradora Portable is made by Bandai-Namco, which is a conglomerate of groups with varying track record and varying budgets. Most likely the game is not worth the bother.

Hinano on Megumi Nakajima

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I don’t know if it’s the cosmic justice or anything, but according to Hinano, Megumi Nakajima was used as a character in Vocaloid (and presumably her voice was somehow used as a base for synthesized vocals there). I mentioned it just recently that Sheryl’s singing was more dramatic and forceful in Macross Frontier than Ranka’s, but since I listened to the OST without watching the same performances in original context, it was blatantly obvious that, in an surprise reversal, Nakajima is a better singer than May’n.

Hinano herself is ironically clueless about the selection:

I never really understood why they used newbie seiyuus as vocaloids.. The only feasible vocaloid I can think of is probably Gakupo since he is based off an actually GOOD singer. Otherwise they can grab any person off the street and be like “can you sing a couple notes?

Well, who never put her foot in mouth please throw the first stone.

The soundtracks and music by itself is essentially a different world, and Hinano may simply be not adept in it, have weird tastes and preconceptions, etc. Look how in another example of unexpected discovery, I’ve become a fan of Rie Kugimiya the singer after sampling her Iori in Idolmaster musical numbers off an accidentially purchased CD. And I thought she was only a two-bit seyuu for two-bit tsundere parts. Tsk, tsk. I’m no better than Hinano when pigeon-holing them.

Idolm@ster for DS

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

As seen at “my game news flash” (via), a gaming magazine Famitsu announced Idolm@ster Dear Stars for DS.

The whole idea seems cynical. First Idolmaster Portable, and now this. For the game defined by its exquisite 3D to be detuned progressively for the worse and worse platform… may be very shrewd! I am sure that the groping excercise is still in there. Release the VN and strategy part of the game, in poor resolution, and reap the green harvest.

As for the all-new cast, well, I don’t know what to think. Seems difficult to come up with new and appealing personality types. And their names are in English exactly why?

UPDATE: DiGiKerot noted by e-mail:

Looks like it may be a DSi native game, though, which means it’ll probably be region locked, which means I’m probably going to have to buy yet another DS.

Regions suck. And I don’t think DSi is as powerful as PSP (its screen is definitely not as good in any case).