Date AKB48!01 January, 2011 by Chad
Hardcore AKB48 fans were treated to an early Christmas this year with the launch of the first video game featuring all 48 members from Japan’s leading female idol group. Released on 23rd December 2010 for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), AKB1/48: Idol to Koishitara… (AKB1/48アイドルと恋したら・・・/AKB1/48 If you fall in love with an idol…) is a novel take on the classic dating simulation formula.
One of the reasons you don’t see video games as a topic on this site is because I already spend 8-9 hours a day facing those things and the last thing I’d want to do is return home and spend the remaining 4 hours of my day writing about them. But since this game features AKB48, I’ll make an exception.
Bandai Namco is not particularly well known for making dating simulation games, a genre better identified with Konami. Popular titles include the Tokimeki Memorial series and the more recent Love Plus games. In traditional games from this genre, the player plays as a young boy (or girl) whose aim of the game is to win the affection of a usually anime character.
AKB1/48: Idol to Koishitara… switches things around 360 degrees. Instead of vying for the girls affection, players have to reject the advances of the girls, who all happen to be love sick with the player right from the get go. Expectantly, it doesn’t take very long to make the members hate you, so this unique concept was only possible with a huge cast of characters, which AKB48 conveniently have.
The entire game is voice acted and the game features over 10,000 photographs of the girls and 100 minutes of video which is great. It’s kind of awkward (in an amusing way) though to have people you’re used to seeing in videos speaking to you as static pictures. The next time you see someone grinning while looking into a PSP, let them be. They might just be playing AKB1/48: Idol to Koishitara…
Not unlike a typical AKB48 release, AKB1/48: Idol to Koishitara… comes in multiple varieties. The versions listed below.
The Normal Edition is the more basic version of the game sold in stores. It’s the most affordable option for those who just want to play the game. It comes random with 1 of 144 possible (48 members x 3 costumes) photos.
For 2100 yen more, the Limited Edition version of the game comes with an extra UMD disc containing additional unused video footage in the game. Apart from this, it features a different cover and includes three random photos instead of one. As the name suggests, the Limited Edition version will see a limited run.
At double the cost of the regular, the First Press Edition of AKB1/48: Idol to Koishitara… caters to the typical AKB48 collector. It comes in a large box filled with an assortment of other goodies. The Limited Edition copy of the game is there, together with extra behind the scenes “making of” videos. There’s a set of life sized “kiss mark” stickers from all 48 members and alternate jackets for the game. It also comes with 10 photos.
The First Press Edition of the game sold out almost instantly during pre-orders. For those looking to collect or deal with AKB48 photos, this was the most cost effective bundle. At least in Japan, getting a set of popular member photos would more than cover the cost of the bundle.
Finally there’s a “Premier Special Pack” that includes everything in the first press box with the addition of a pink AKB48 PSP and 48 separate “kiss mark” battery covers, one for each member. The Premier Special Pack is probably an option for only the most obsessive AKB48 fans, who must own everything to do with the group. It doesn’t come cheap, with the package going for more than twice the price of a normal PSP. But even before it was released most boxes were immediately snatched up through pre-orders. YesAsia took this opportunity to mark them up to USD$650 a pop.
Bandai Namco have reported over 250,000 pre-orders combined from all versions of the game and are expecting to sell up to half a million copies after launch. An impressive number for such a title. Considering
So which would I buy, if at all? (Hint: I don’t own a PSP).
If you guessed none, then you obviously haven’t been following this blog for long. Overpriced AKB48 PSP? Hell yeah.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.