As much as I try to move on to more stimulating games, the subconscious just won’t shut up about the importance of finishing what you once start. That annoying bugger is right, too, so I’ve returned to The Idolm@ster: Platinum Stars. Not that anything of note would’ve taken place. I used to grind on a stage that rewarded five idols each with 5,460 fans per song whereas I’m now grinding on a stage that gives 13,200 to three. That currently feels like the most efficient way to make progress, even if efficient is hardly a word to describe this purgatory. Since one in-game year lasts about three hours, that time translates to 801,600 fans for three idols and 168,000 for the remaining ten, thanks to quarterly joint shows. Feel free to calculate just how long it will take for all 13 idols to reach their ten million fans required for platinum stardom. As the game already turned into a bit of a chore after 30 hours, maintaining sanity these days requires finding joy in little things, for example:
- 63 hours: Received Valentine’s chocolate from everyone. No impact on anything but serves as a checkpoint.
- 65 hours: Producer-san levels up to 15, effectively unlocking the last song. The entire soundtrack is now playable. Yay.
- 79 hours: Producer-san levels up to 16. Since all songs are now unlocked, this is only good for a fuzzy feeling, if that.
- 82 hours: An after-show present had a new costume! Since it has been more than 30 hours since the last one, this is technically a major deal even if the costume itself is rubbish stats-wise and will end up in the back of the wardrobe to serve as a moth bait.
- 86 hours: Omfgrblrbl, another new costume! Even after this one, 14 out of 40 are still locked. If unlocking all of them is based purely on luck, this will be an even bigger headache than turning everyone into platinum stars.
- 87 hours: All girls’ affection meters maxed out. Pure, innocent, platonic love, all you shameless perverts!
- 91 hours: Producer-san levels up to 17. Worth a glorious bronze trophy. Meh.
- 100 hours: All girls have reached at least level 70. Nothing consequential, just a nice round number.
I’ve now pretty much both cleared and extremely cleared (getting enough points to max out the audience fervor meter rather than just going over the clear line) every show available. Now nothing even pretentiously new is in the horizon, apart from a list of DLC lives promising plenty of new experiences. A real pity, considering all my idols are still hovering around 3-5 million fans each. In practice, this has long since turned into a standoff between two extremely cynical and stubborn parties; a game that makes perfectly clear that without ponying up extra cash, the mindless grind will continue and probably gets worse, and yours truly, who double-bird flips such extortion and apathetically trudges on with the content initially provided. At this point, I’m no longer even mad at Platinum Stars. It’s still a technically wonderful rhythm game but also an excellent example of a game that will guarantee consumers like me will skip any and all future releases by the developer. Sigh… The hoops I jump through just to prove myself something trifling.