Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Giant schoolgirls can destroy Tokyo too

Giant schoolgirls can destroy Tokyo too

Cave is a name not only synonymous with bat-infested crevices, but also the shoot ‘em up games of Japan (the ones often referred to as “bullet hell” or “curtain fire”). Cave, a developer from Japan, have crafted dozens of arcade and console games over the years, from the frenetic Mushihimesama (2007) to the classic DoDonPachi (1997). Cave have been a purveyor of shmups (a shorthand for shoot ‘em ups) since nearly the dawn of the genre. But now they’re going in a new direction; one without those classic inclinations.

not just any schoolgirl

Entering A.I am Monster, the newest title from Cave, as reported by Famitsu (and translated by Gematsu). A.I am Monster, in addition to being a grammatically frustrating name to type, is a virtual reality game for an as-of-yet unannounced platform. It has its roots in the well-trodden kaiju (giant monster) genre—y’know, like Godzilla—except instead of playing a giant monstrous beast, you’re something a bit less intimidating: a schoolgirl. The schoolgirl isn’t just any schoolgirl though, she towers as high as any skyscraper that crosses her path. And, her limbs are robotic.

I'm just a girl, in the world.
I’m just a girl, yeah little ol’ me.

Despite not being a shmup, A.I am Monster does share a similarity with the company’s other titles with the thematic element of “destruction and exhilaration.” The game itself sees you smacking down buildings and other naysayers to your monstrous size. And the score skyrockets upwards with the more havoc left in your wake. The score is accounted by the fittingly titled “economic loss.” In your typical shmup, the player narrowly navigates death in a wall of bullets. In A.I am Monster, the player destroys everything in their path: buildings, tanks, helicopters. Just as any other kaiju or mecha (giant robot) might. It’s destruction in the same sense; exhilarating in a non-stressful sense.

Before she grew big...
Before she grew big…

A.I am Monster is the first VR title from Cave, and the rough announcement trailer for the project looks surprisingly barren. In an expected Cave fashion, one might anticipate dozens of helicopters or other villainous things obstructing your giant schoolgirl’s path. But instead, there is hardly anything aside from a couple nuisances to grab and crush with your bare hands. The visuals are more akin to a bargain bin Steam game than something from a developer of this caliber and name recognition. But taking the trailer with a grain of salt, maybe Cave will spruce up the game into something more Cave-like after all by the time of its eventual 2017 release.

A.I am Monster will release in 2017 for an unconfirmed platform. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer for the game below.

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