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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Idolm@ster in VR is all about the glowsticks

Idolm@ster in VR is all about the glowsticks

I love Idolm@ster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you, dear reader, have never heard of this delightful series. Let me bring you up to speed.

The Idolm@ster is a long-running rhythm game + raising simulator series, first seen as an arcade cabinet back in 2005. You play as a lowly producer, who encourages his clients—adorable aspiring pop idols of all personality types—to muster up the courage and talent to sing and dance their way to fame and happiness. It’s not always easy—some idols have strengths in one particular field over the other. Some have personal barriers and struggles they need to overcome. But in the end, everything ends up okay, or at least it does in its popular anime adaptation. The Idolm@ster series has nearly a dozen games, and now, a VR concert experience.

Look at that sea of glowsticks.
Look at that sea of glowsticks.

Launching alongside the Playstation VR on October 13th in Japan, The Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls Viewing Revolution is a VR-enabled concert, plopping fans directly into the front row of a concert for the second-generation charismatic idols. The game features the Idolm@ster songs “Onegai! Cinderella,” “Star!!,” and “Yes! Party Time!!,” unfortunately giving classic 765 Production tracks like “Kyun! Vampire Girl” the pass. The player can shift their position at the concert, from burying themselves in the depths of its glowstick waving crowd to sidling up to the stage. The best view is front and center, of course.

Essentially a wotagei simulator

Idolm@ster: Viewing Revolution is essentially a wotagei simulator. Wota, a shorthand nickname for fans of idol pop music in Japan, are typically the core niche audience for idol groupsboth of the real and fictional variety. Wotagei is a special form of cheering and dancing by wotas, where slogans are yelled as glowsticks are waved, sometimes with carefully coordinated routines that go along with the music. When I saw the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku perform earlier this year, we were all handed glowsticks upon entry. During the show, we enthusiastically pumped the green sticks into the air in tempo with the dancing hologram’s catchy tunes. That’s wotagei.

So many glowsticks, so little time.
So many glowsticks, so little time.

Idolm@ster: Viewing Revolution can’t implement real glowsticks in the game, but swaps them with the next best available optionPlaystation Move controllers. The player can customize how many glowsticks they want to hold at once within the game, and what colors they want them to be. Though Move controllers are obviously more chunky than any other glowstick, they’re good enough. Though it’s highly, highly doubtful that Idolm@ster: Viewing Revolution will ever be localized for Western audiences, I’ll gear up regardless. I’ll cheer “I’m lady!” aloud to the 765 Production Gods as I dream of immersing myself in it, and shove as many glowsticks between my fingers as I can handle. Wotagei simulator, here I come.

You can watch Famitsu’s gameplay preview of Idolm@ster: Viewing Revolution here, and its introduction trailer here.

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