Polygamists rejoice! Just when you thought it was safe to talk about the portrayal of females in video games again, Japan proves us all wrong with this new game from Bandai Namco for PS Vita and PSP.
AKB1/149 romance election is the third in a series of pseudo-perverted games starring the popular AKB48, following “AKB1/48 if I dated an Idol…”, and “AKB1/48 if I dated an Idol in Guam…”. Allied groups SKE48, NMB48, and NKT48 are also going to be in the game, giving it a load out of a whopping 149 characters from real life.
Conspiracy in the land of the rising nerds
Now you may be thinking “who are these weird bands, how are they connected, and why do they all have the number ’48’ on the end of their name?”. Well these bands are the product of a mass produced entertainment machine whose target market is young, socially awkward Japanese nerds. AKB stands for Akiba, which is short for Akihabara, the go-to destination for everything ‘otaku’ or nerd related in Tokyo. The undertones of the name make it clear that the pop-group’s creation was solely based on the premise of exhorting money out of lonely otakus. After the monumental success of AKB48, the other sister-bands (read: clone-bands) started to crop up like vultures to a fresh corpse, if you will excuse the analogy. So now you know how 149 famous people ended up in a video game.
In Romance Election, players have a shot at dating more girls than there are games in PS Vita’s library.
A B F 5 X.. what were they called again?
By playing this title, gamers will get to live out their sordid dreams of dating the members of AKB48 – who by the way consist of the idols ‘A’, ‘K’, ‘B’, and ‘4’, the members of SKE48, called ‘S’, ‘KII’ (K was already taken), and ‘E’, or the members of NMB48 (‘N’, ‘M’), etc… you get the drift. It seems that the developers were quick to push out a game featuring all band members at this point in time, as at this rate there will be so many new sister-bands that it will be impossible to fit them all in the same game (not even on a BluRay disc).
How to play the game
So basically this is how you play the game. Members of each girl group will randomly send you text messages, and you can respond to the girls you like and then ask them out on a date. How did you manage to become so close-knit to these pop superstars in the first place you ask? Well you’ll have to play the game to find out, but you can be sure of one thing – It will be the most tired, creatively-bankrupt explanation you have ever heard in your entire life. But I guess that’s to be expected. After spending most of the games budget getting the rights to these bands, and taking photos of 149 girls in numerous poses, do you really think there was any time or money left to create a real storyline?
So anyway, in regular dating-sim fashion, you get to select from a series of multiple choice answers in response to the girls’ banter, and if you say the wrong thing they ignore you and won’t call anymore. Standard fare so far, but what makes this game stand out, besides the 149 characters?
Let’s see here… you raise the girls’ impression of you by selecting the right answer, bla bla bla, once you get a high enough score they confess their undying love to you, yadda yadda… Hold on I’m looking for something original about this game hidden under this mountain of poorly acting vapid pop-stars…. Oh here, you can look at these pictures while you wait:
So it turns out, that there’s actually more to this game than just random multiple choice. Surprised? I know I am. Remember that this game features 4 idol groups? Well it turns out that they have an intricate and complex relationship to each other. Like if you are doing well with a girl from a certain band, her co-members will like you. Dumping her will result in all the other girls from that band hating your guts for an indefinite period of time. Not bad for a jumped-up jpeg slideshow, huh?
Uh-oh, she’s pissed. Time to bail unless you want 149 heel marks on your face!
Of course, if you play the game too fast and loose, you will lose a lot of members from your contact list. Whether or not anyone stays behind to comfort you will depend greatly on how many points you have scored with them previously. If you only spent a lot of time wooing AKB48, then AKB48 members will be more likely to stay in touch with you. Strangely enough there was no mention of jealously between members of the same group, I guess we can chock that one down to er… good teamwork? Oh boy now I’m making excuses for their lazy plotlines. Time to end this article I think!
It’s up to you to decide how to prioritize each group. If you happen to be a fan of all of them, it’s also possible to be a total sleaze and wrangle all groups at once if you are good enough at the game.
AKB1/149 Love Election is coming out in Japan on December 20th, and it will be the same price on both PSP and PS Vita: 7,329 Yen ($91 USD) for the standard version or 14,679 Yen ($182 USD) for the limited first print edition. And if you pay that price to import it, well, I guess that makes you a true fan (amongst other things).
The game is rated Teen and is suitable for players aged 12 and above.
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Bandai Namco Games Japan
AKB1/149 Love Election