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Idol Hakkenden

Composed by Kiyohiro Sada and Tomoo Misato

After starting his career in Konami which includes working on the popular NES port of Contra, Sada left Konami to join Natsume. As part of Natsume, Sada would work on a game that would ultimately define his career, as well as a game that helped innovate a genre rarely seen in video games at the time. Idol Hakkenden, a text-based adventure game about a girl who must compete with her family to inherit her Grandmother's fortune. To do this, she persues a career as an idol. 

In Japan, idols are young celebrities who are marketed as actors, models, entertainers, and most significantly, singers. Text adventures were exactly as they sounded, interactive stories relying only on text. But Idol Hakkenden was among the first, specifically in the console market, to incorporate visuals into text adventures. Thus, becoming an early example of what would become the visual novel genre.

The soundtrack is a mix of simple, easy-going background music, plus arrangements of classical music like Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and chiptuned Jpop music, to fit the mood of idol culture, as well as the music performed by main protagonist Erika. The Jpop music even incorporates the sounds of a live audience clapping and cheering to the beat of the music, envoking the feeling of listening to the music performed live. The lyrics to Erika's songs are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and timed to match when the lyrics are sung.

After 1993, Sada left Natsume to form a music composition company called Pure Sound, producing music for the majority of Japanese entertainment from video games, to pachinko machines. In 2011, Hoehoe Records through Pure Sound studio released an arrangement album of Idol Hakkenden's songs, actually performed by idols Satowa Tanaka, Mikami Haruka, and Mori Chiaki.

Everything about Idol Hakkenden represented an innovation for video games, and video game music. And despite its hardware limitations, it managed to capture idol culture in a way that was charming, and cute. And as an interactive adventure, it helped provide babysteps towards a genre that would become more and more popular as the methods of playing video games continued to improve.

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