Ah, Japan: The land of the Rising Sun, the birthplace of video games, and one of the few places on Earth where oddity is an everyday occurrence. This last part was no more evident than in late-2018 when a newly-ported version of a popular game series caused a lot of controversy due to an interesting glitch. The game, which was a port of a mobile game called “Love Live! School Idol Festival” to the arcade, stirred the metaphorical hornet’s nest due to a glitch that altered the character models. Specifically, it caused some of the characters—which consist mostly of school-age girls—to appear nude, while others had other physical problems such as appearing headless or with other body parts clipping through their models.
Love Live is a very popular multimedia project created through a collaboration of several important companies including ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki G’s Magazine, music label Lantis, and animation studio Sunrise. The series first launched in 2010, in the August issue of the aforementioned magazine, and then went on to take Japan by storm. The project revolved around the lives of nine schoolgirls-turned-idols who had to use their artistic and creative talents to save their school from shutting down.
Since its launch, the Love Live characters have had a significant presence in many multimedia industries, including in the aforementioned magazine as well as two manga adaptations. For those that are not familiar with the term, a “manga” is a Japanese graphic novel, similar to comic books here in the West. Furthermore, the companies behind the project have also released multiple music CDs interpreted by the idols, several anime music videos, and numerous video games. Additionally, between 2013 and 2014, Sunrise produced an anime television series which first aired in Japan, and were subsequently licensed to the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
But why are we going through such lengths to give a history lesson?
Well, Love Live was—and still is—a big thing in Japan, which is why the topic of this article is so baffling; it’s the equivalent of playing a hypothetical game about the old Disney Mouseketeers, only for the game to have visual glitches that made the characters look like nightmare fuel. Furthermore, since we’re talking about an arcade game, the glitches were not limited exclusively to the players currently engaged in the game; they were publicly visible to everyone in the entertainment center! Granted, while the characters appeared nude at a glance, the glitch made them resemble something akin to a naked Barbie doll, where you could see the naked skin, but with no visible genitalia—to the relief of everyone present.
— いっしー 4th楽曲センター投票中（梨子） (@medalplay_kame) December 6, 2018
However, it is interesting to note that this game is a port of an iOS game originally developed by KLabGames, which never experienced any of these glitches. This implies that whatever caused the issues were on the port developer’s end. In this case, Square Enix, the company renowned for several stellar game franchises such as the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, were the developers and publishers of the arcade port. Luckily, they were very quick to issue recalls and undergo “urgent maintenance” on all affected machines. Furthermore, they also worked on an issue where, allegedly, even local players were having troubles connecting to the game and were getting kicked from their sessions.
All in all, it was a very interesting few weeks for fans of this beloved franchise, who were not only horrified to witness action-figure-level nudity, but also headless characters, on top of connectivity problems. The problems have since been resolved, and everyone can now freely enjoy playing with their favorite Love Live characters—that is, as long as they have the coins!
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