Meanwhile you can nag this guy about just what is so special about iM@S. I was this close to picking up a copy of Dearly Stars over the weekend. It was in my grasp (as in, the copy of the game was in my hand). Maybe I should have. Maybe I should not have. Maybe I should not have started playing the game a week ago. But it’s too late now. (Maybe I should hold out for a copy of iM@S SP Perfect Sun…).
There is a strange “one more turn”-itis going on with iM@S2, similar to what I experience in those 4X games. I’ve already mastered the rock-paper-scissors thing. I can, I guess, read lips. Telling seiyuu apart is harder than it sounds but it is something I’ve had some training for years, to say the least. Even when it is just by voice. (The concerts are something else, I assure you.) I still can’t read Japanese, which is what really counts in the end. Not knowing Japanese, or not knowing anything else for that matter, doesn’t present itself as enough of a stopping block, when you have websites like this. Truly we live in the information age.
[I guess Steve Jobs’s contribution to import gaming was enable that Sakura Taisen experience that I had many years ago, when going through the game on the PC (actually it was my Dreamcast hooked up to a TV card) on one side of the screen and the translation on the other, but using a tablet or smartphone instead.]
Fundamentally, the game is the core user experience. The anime is mostly fluff, although you can enjoy fluff by itself. It’s akin to pouring whipped creme in to your pie hole directly. The anime does serve better as icing on the PS/Xbox/DS cake, so much so that I want to go back and re-watch it. This is notably different than most galge adaptations. I mean I can go and play Kanon or even Fate Stay Night and get most of it from the corresponding anime (at least the adopted arc), and vice versa. I might even want to revisit the anime after I am done (although it didn’t happen for either of them). But iM@S, given its arcade lineage, has so much “game” to it that it elevates the experience beyond just a flat read of the stereotypical visual novel presentation.
[Tho I wonder if there was the “Nayuki Minase” equivalent in iM@S anime–someone who gets the short end of the stick. I guess that is what fans debate after all. And speaking of which, I even want to go re-read what 2DT shipped. Knowing the characters better, would it make more or less sense in terms of his pairing?]
The mistake I made was trying to “get it out of my system” by playing it as much as possible. Ha, never again. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that like all the 4X games I have encountered, the novelty eventually wear thin given the repetitiveness of it all. No amount of pretty girls dancing (prettily) will reduce the fact that I’m just hitting the highest-general-appeal-scoring-button, infinite times, every time, all the time. Okay, occasionally it’s about timing your memory appeals, but once you figure it out, you just do the same thing every time. So the question is no longer “if” I could get out of the hole Yukiho dug for me, but how deep she has dug it.