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Let Me Tell You About MaiMai MURASAKI Plus

Hi Internet, I wonder if anyone is still around? It’s never too late to revive this blog and talk about my continuing love of MaiMai!

Over 4 years have passed since I wrote about MaiMai GreeN, but it doesn’t feel like that long, and any English-language discussion online is still a bit sparse and scattered. I no longer live in Asia, so have had less opportunity to play and practice, but any time I visit a city with MaiMai available, I’m always hunting down an arcade to check it out!

We are currently on version “purple” with MaiMai MURASAKI Plus, after Pink and Orange, and my Aime account still works, although I have no idea what my “rank” is anymore. This incarnation has a fun Japanese traditional shrine theme and related mascot characters, which I think are pretty cute.

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As for some of the new features (perhaps a few were introduced with Orange or Pink, but I’m not too sure as I only played those versions a couple of times over the years), I’m a bit mixed on them. You can get lost in the super-robust Japanese wiki for this game for hours, but these are some general impressions:

・The blue and yellow “tracing” lines can now be super squiggly all over the place. It’s no longer just a straight line swipe across the screen. I think this is a pretty smart upgrade to the play experience, and makes the game more challenging overall.

・Point systems are in “Zenny”, another arbitrary money unit to help you buy nameplates, unlock songs (but why do I have to unlock them in the first place T___T), and also….to give to Otohime 乙姫 so she might toss you a reward in return? In a mini-game after your songs, you slap on the buttons as many times as you can/want in a given few seconds and hope you get a special sticker, but seriously I “donated” so much of my Zenny to her and she still just sneered at me. Boooo :(
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・There are more special “events” to get special stamps and achievements, such as clearing or S-ranking 4 pre-determined songs in a row. I thought these were pretty good to force me to try out new songs I might not have otherwise selected randomly, since I’m pretty attached to the oldies:
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・The difficulty level can also get ramped up with an even harder Re:Master level for certain songs if you achieve S-rank on Master level, and there are special “challenge tracks” where you must get all Perfects or else the song will shut down. The number of allowable goof-ups, i.e., anything not a Perfect, increases every few days after the song is released, until the song is released normally without the “challenge” mode. New tracks get released this way every few weeks, which is not a bad way to drum up excitement for it! Here is my terrible attempt at the song Ultranova (,,꒪꒫꒪,,)

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・As for the songs themselves, despite a few notable additions, I have not been super impressed with the roster. A lot of them are forgettable Vocaloidish tunes or just EDM-style songs to use as a basis for super-fast “arms flying” tracks for the really hardcore players. Ok fine, I’m biased towards pop hits, but my favorites were always the ones I feel like I can really dance to while playing, and every time there is an update, I worry they’re going to take away classics like “Dancing ✩ Samurai” (RIP, Love Circulation, you are always such a relaxing little tune to play as warmup <3….and where is my fav Momoiro Clover Z track?? * cry *). The list of deleted songs just makes me kind of sad sometimes.

・However, I was soothed a bit by the (temporary??) addition of RADWIMPS’s “前前前世”, which is a terrific song from the movie “Your Name”. Please go see it if you haven’t yet!

・Finally, I don’t know when they added this, but probably as a nod to those poor arcade workers who used to have to hustle people out of the arcade at closing time, the machines themselves have a countdown and will stop accepting new players a few minutes before closing. IMG_3676

Overall, it’s nice to see this game’s popularity continuing, but I think some of the “extras” are a little bit complicated. I understand they want to keep churning out new features and ramp up the difficulty level for veteran players, but I hope they don’t forget the original elements that made this game a hit in the first place.

I’m also glad to have added a few more cities to my list of “MaiMai destinations”, so now it’s Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Taipei, Bangkok, AND Kawasaki, Yokohama, Fukuoka, and Seoul! Every arcade is just a little bit different, but players’ enthusiasm is always the same!

As for permanent USA availability, I’m not too hopeful. I’ve seen online some older versions pop up in California and Las Vegas, but they don’t appear to be connected to the Aime system and were pretty expensive (around $1.50 per song reported). Maybe this will be the only way I can eventually play some of my old favorites Stateside – if they decide to keep the machines around – but it’s just not quite the same. Oh well, until my next trip to Asia then!

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Let Me Tell You About MaiMai GreeN

Since my last post about MaiMai PLUS, Sega has released an updated version called MaiMai GreeN! (Yes, the N is capitalized). While the gameplay and machines are still the same, there have been some changes to the experience. Some of them I love, some not as much, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on them here.

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Yes, the machines are “GreeN” now too.

I explained all the basic elements of gameplay (slap buttons or tap a screen to match colored rings appearing in beat with a song) and using the personal Aime card in my original post, so if you’re new to the game, please read my write-up there.

NOTE: When I first tried to use my Aime card on a MaiMai GreeN machine, an alert popped up saying once you configure your card to the new machines and import your player data, you cannot go back to using the Aime card on a MaiMai PLUS machine. I imagine most, if not all, of the arcades in Asia with Aime-compatible MaiMai PLUS machines have already upgraded to GreeN by now, so it shouldn’t be an issue for players, but just  something to be aware of.

There are 3 major changes in MaiMai GreeN from MaiMai PLUS:

1) New songs, plus sorting 

I am SO happy with the songs out on MaiMai GreeN. They still have all of the old songs and your scores for them are saved if you have Aime. Meanwhile, they’ve added excellent hits such as L’Arc~en~ciel’s “Ready Steady Go!“, Exile’s “Choo Choo Train“, Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s “Rewrite“, and Flow’s “Go!!!“. All you FMA and Naruto theme song fans can rejoice! There are also some relatively new songs to enjoy. One of my current favorites is a quirky song by the Japanese girl group Momoiro Clover Z, “Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi yo” or “Farewell, My Dear Sorrows”. Whoever programmed the game’s ring sequences is also a genius, because this song is SUPER fun to play.  Here’s the music video, viewable in-game:

A new feature of the game allows you to sort the songs by popularity ranking and this one always ranks high. You can also sort by difficulty level when you only want to play Master level 11 songs, ha.

*All songs are listed on the Sega MaiMai GreeN site here.*

2) Maimile points

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On MaiMai GreeN, you can now earn “maimiles” to “buy” things in the game, such as new songs and icons/nameplates/wallpapers for the screen above your head while playing.  The game just throws a bunch of points at you at the beginning of each game, and you can get more points by scoring high or getting certain achievements.  I like that you can earn points to buy new songs, but I’m not too sure about shelling out points just to dress up your profile screen.  Some of them are quite “expensive” too, costing thousands of maimiles! I’d rather save them up for songs I can play. The menu to choose from isn’t bad either.

3) No more classic leveling-up

This might be the biggest change, in my opinion. In the past, as long as you kept playing and playing, you could level up, all the way past level 100. I’m not sure what the maximum level anybody reached was, but it seemed like you could only go up. In MaiMai GreeN, your ranking can now go up OR DOWN depending on how well you play. When I switched my player data over to GreeN, I vaguely remember it converted my 110+ ranking into a 5 or 6, and as I kept clearing/mastering new songs the ranking quickly went up in increments ranging from 0.01 to 0.1 all the way to 10.

Above 10, however, it becomes more and more difficult to level up. I’ve been playing for a few weeks and am currently stuck hovering around 10.42. If I happen to play worse on a song than my all-time high score, the ranking can drop. It’s a bit frustrating, actually, but I guess the game discourages grinding to level up.  I haven’t figured out the exact science of the plus and minus, but in short, you can’t slack off!  So far, a number of more advanced players in Hong Kong are somewhere around 11.xx.  I haven’t personally seen anyone break 12 yet, but perhaps it’s possible (Update: Seen it! Yeah, I lost that round of VS Play, ha). Anyway, I’m not sure how I feel about this new feature because even though it gently pressures you to keep improving, it’s really discouraging to see the ranking drop when you’re not in top form that day and just want to play a few rounds for fun. This system is definitely catering to more competitive players.

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That’s about all it for the major changes.  Overall, I still think MaiMai is a great game and continue to play the new version often. I’m also very happy to have now tried it out in seven Asian cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Taipei, and Bangkok). It’s been really enjoyable to see the different songs that are popular among players in each location, as well as their enthusiasm for the game.  Although I missed out on this, it looks like Sega held MaiMai tournaments in various cities, and some players are now sporting MaiMai-branded gaming gloves in the arcades.  So cool!  I’ll just have to be satisfied with my plain black ones in the meantime. To any players reading, DEFINITELY get a pair of gloves. It will save your hands and improve your game a lot. Just a simple pair from a costume shop will do. They don’t have to be special capacitative ones.

And to the powers that be at Sega, PLEASE bring this game to North America. I would be ever so grateful if you plopped a MaiMai GreeN machine in say…New York City. I’ll be there soon and would love to play it!