Not Getting the Full Combo: Gender and Agency in Mobile Idol Games

I am still in idol hell.

It’s been three months since my criticism of Love Live: School Idol Festival, and my opinions really haven’t changed that much. I just have to admit it to myself: I like the game mechanics despite the problematic material. Though I may not have replied to all the comments, I have read through all of them, and I do appreciate all the points that you, the commenters, brought up. Reading through them, though, one topic continued festering in my mind: are there any female-marketed equivalents to SIF? I have a phone incapable of running mobile games (and BlueStacks is especially hard on my poor laptop) so I haven’t exactly had the opportunity to go delving; however, sometimes life just drops a gift on your doorstep, and heaven forbid I ignore it. I present for your comparison pleasure: I-Chu.

Hello darkness my old friend... via visual-novels-are-life @ Tumblr

Hello darkness my old friend…
via visual-novels-are-life @ Tumblr

As you can probably guess, I-Chu takes the same kind of game mechanics, but instead of playing as Muse (the band from Love Live), the player takes on the role of a producer/teacher, watching over a whole wealth of bands featuring boys of many different types and cultures. Game mechanics-wise, the games are roughly similar: tap circles, score points, idolize idols, scout for better idols. Story-wise, however, is where the two diverge, and I think this game better illustrates some of what makes SIF slightly more problematic than I-Chu.

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