EDITOR'S NOTE:
Thus, Gaming Hell reveals its true idol colours. Both Love Live and iM@S fans. Pretty sure we have to file some paperwork for that.
This is definitely a more infodump-y kind of article, so it should mostly speak for itself. Now, we did get a bit of scanning done for this, but we had to improvise a little. We decided to do this as an extra pretty late, and so didn't have enough time to figure out the easiest way to scan the back of the jewel cases. So, those scans are missing, as is the proper front over of the BEST ALBUM + LIVE DVD album (the booklet uses a different illustration), so the one you see below is taken from the Solaris Japan page for the album, linked later on the page. The bottom also has a link repository which basically counts as our source list. I think that's it. Just read on, it's pretty self-explanatory.

After years of successfully resisting the call of Namco's idol-raising series...

What finally made us kneel before the iDOLM@STER throne?

Just one video, apparently.



This is EXCAVATE, a remix of the theme from Dig Dug sung by Yukiho Hagiwara from THE iDOLM@STER series.

Someone shared this on Twitter and we had to find out where it was from!

It was from the fourth in a line of five albums (plus a Best Of compilation) full of 6-bit-inspired iM@S songs- Famison 8BIT☆iDOLM@STER.



So, uh, yeah, our interest escalated quickly.

Things would only get worse from here for us.



Let's have a proper look at them all, then! The five Famison 8BIT☆iDOLM@STER series of albums were originally released between March and June of 2008, with a live concert, EXTRA: HYPER GAME MUSIC EVENT 2008, in October of that year, and a compilation, BEST ALBUM + LIVE DVD, in October 2011 collecting most of the new original songs from the albums, three new songs plus a DVD of the live show. Each album focuses on two idols (three on the first because of the Futami twins) from the franchise, with two brand new songs based on old Namco game songs from the obvious (Dig Dug and Mappy) to the obscure (Tower of Babel and Fighter & Attacker), two songs mixing together iM@S songs like GO MY WAY!! and relations with Namco game songs, one new 8-bit-inspired remix of an iM@S song, and a few bumper songs and audio dramas about 765-World, a theme park the idols are visiting. There were a couple of different music arrangers working on these, although a lot of the work was done by KPLECRAFT who would go on to contribute to other official albums for games like Bullet Soul, with 8-bit arranges. You get even more with the albums themselves- cover art by Akane (who would go on to illustrate the bizarre Puchimas manga), and booklets with the lyrics as well as a 4-koma and pixel art of that volume's idols. Even the spine cards are nice, reuising the numbering style from Namco's Famicom games!

We'll have a look at each album one by one, then, with scans of the booklets and a full list of songs.



Songs are colour-coded by the singer's image colour (below the album cover), white titles are sung by both.
Bold titles are full songs, italicised titles are audio dramas, grey titles are instrumental.
Also, song titles are presented in Romaji, taken from the project-imas wiki with some minor formatting changes.





Vol. 01
Yayoi Takatsuki & Futami Twins

Booklet
Front
02 & 03
04 & 05
06 & 07
08 & 09
10 & 11
Back
  1. 765 World * Opening (ver.01) ~(GO MY WAY!!)~
  2. 765 World he youkoso
  3. GO MY WAY!! ("Wonder Momo" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  4. Attraction "Pacman"
  5. Labyrinth ("Pacman" NEW SONG )
  6. Ohayou!! Asagohan ("The Tower of Druaga" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  7. Attraction "Libble Rabble"
  8. L < > R ("Libble Rabble" NEW SONG)
  9. Positive! ("Mappy" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  10. 765 Robot ...?
  11. Agent Yoru o Yuku (Hoover & Acid MIX)
  12. Mata no Goraien wo !
  13. 765 World * Finale (ver.01) ~(GO MY WAY!!)~
  14. GO MY WAY!! (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  15. Ohayou!! Asagohan (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  16. Positive! (Original 8BIT Instrumental)

This album lays out the format the others would follow, and also shows no fear in going straight to the deep cuts- sure, you've got a Pac-Man remix, but Libble Rabble right out of the gate by the Futami twins? That's the real stuff. Wonder Momo also gets its obligatory appearance in this series of albums, and the Hoover & Acid MIX of Agent Yoru o Yuku goes in pretty hard. A good start to the series, although not my favourite album, that's to come later.





Vol. 02
Miki Hoshii & Haruka Amami

Booklet
Front
02 & 03
04 & 05
06 & 07
08 & 09
10 & 11
Back
  1. 765 World * Opening (ver.02) ~(Watashi ha Idol ♡)~
  2. 765 World he youkoso (ver.02)
  3. Watashi ha Idol ♡ ("The Legend of Valkyrie" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  4. Attraction "Metro-Cross"
  5. Tsuyoi Onna ("Metro-Cross" NEW SONG )
  6. Taiyou no Jealousy ("Ordyne" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  7. Attraction (F/A)
  8. Shooting!!! ("F/A" NEW SONG)
  9. relations ("Gaplus" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  10. Sweets for you!
  11. THE IDOLM@STER (Tarosuke Buster NW MIX)
  12. Mata no Goraien wo ! (ver.02)
  13. 765 World * Finale (ver.02) ~("The Adventure of Valkyrie")~
  14. Watashi ha Idol ♡ (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  15. Taiyou no Jealousy (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  16. relations (Original 8BIT Instrumental)

Series mascot and Character Most Likely to Represent Series in Smash Bros. Haruka shows up in this one for a pretty great Metro-Cross remix (the title translates to Strong Girl) and Miki Hoshii provides the second deepest cut in the entire series, F/A (released as Fighter & Attacker overseas). For whatever reason, the remix of THE IDOLM@STER references Tarosuke from Shadowland / Youkai Douchuuki but doesn't actually use any music from it for this very abrasive and loud remix of the song (those are not complaints, absolutely compliments). It's also nice to see a bit of love for Gaplus, with quite a lot of its music showing up in the relations remix.





Vol. 03
Ritsuko Akizuki & Azusa Miura

Booklet
Front
02 & 03
04 & 05
06 & 07
08 & 09
10 & 11
Back
  1. 765 World * Opening (ver.03) ~(Massugu)~
  2. 765 World he youkoso (ver.03)
  3. Massugu ("Phelios" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  4. Attraction (Tower of Babel)
  5. Tower of Adventure ("Tower of Babel" NEW SONG)
  6. Mahou wo Kakete! ("Shadowland" Famison 8BIT MIX )
  7. Attraction (Genpei Touma Den)
  8. Kin Renka ("Genpei Touma Den" NEW SONG)
  9. 9:02pm ("Dragon Buster" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  10. Himitsuheiki
  11. Positive! ("Sky Kid" MIX)
  12. Mata no Goraien wo ! (ver.03)
  13. 765 World * Finale (ver.03) ~(Massugu) (Dragon Buster)~
  14. Massugu (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  15. Mahou wo Kakete! (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  16. 9:02pm (Original 8BIT Instrumental)

Here we go, this is the album for the kind of Namco fan who scoffs at references to Pac-Man and Dig Dug and wants the obscure stuff- Genpei Touma Den gets its own song, Dragon Buster, Phelios and Sky Kid get nods in the remixes, but the deepest cut of the entire series goes to Tower of Adventure, a vocal version of a few songs from Famicom obscurity Tower of Babel / Babel no Tou. That's going in deep. The Shadowland version of Mahou wo Kakete! is also a notable one, a brilliant remix of an already great iM@S song, especially as it gets creative when mixing in the Shadowland music.





Vol. 04
Makoto Kikuchi & Yukiho Hagiwara

Booklet
Front
02 & 03
04 & 05
06 & 07
08 & 09
10 & 11
Back
  1. 765 World * Opening (ver.04) ~(My Best Friend)~
  2. 765 World he youkoso (ver.04)
  3. My Best Friend ("The Return of Ishtar" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  4. Attraction "Dig Dug"
  5. EXCAVATE ("Dig Dug" NEW SONG)
  6. First Stage ("Xevious" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  7. Attraction "New Rally X"
  8. Harikiri★Rally ("New Rally X" NEW SONG)
  9. Agent Yoru o Yuku ("Rolling Thunder" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  10. Honjitsu no oshibai
  11. relations (digno-pop MIX)
  12. Mata no Goraien wo ! (ver.04)
  13. 765 World * Finale (ver.04) ~(My Best Friend)~
  14. My Best Friend (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  15. First Stage (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  16. Agent Yoru o Yuku (Original 8BIT Instrumental)

This was the very first of these albums I managed to grab, and that's entirely because it contains the song that started us looking into this series, Yukiho Hagiwara's take on the Dig Dug theme, EXCAVATE. To this day, some friends of mine can be heard to curse my name when I remind them of DIGGU DAGGU as she says in the song. This is also our favourite of the albums, with pretty much every remix on here being excellent, in particular the perfect union of Agent Yoru o Yuku and Rolling Thunder, and one of my favourite versions of probably my favourite iM@S song, relations.





Vol. 05
Chihaya Kisaragi & Iori Minase

Booklet
Front
02 & 03
04 & 05
06 & 07
08 & 09
10 & 11
Back
  1. 765 World * Opening (ver.05) ~(Omoide wo Arigatou)~
  2. 765 World he youkoso (ver.05)
  3. Omoide wo Arigatou ("Toypop" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  4. Attraction "Mappy"
  5. Otomegokoro Nusunde! ("Mappy" NEW SONG)
  6. Here we go!! ("Dig Dug II" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  7. Attraction "Dragon Spirit"
  8. Fly High! ("Dragon Spirit" NEW SONG)
  9. Aoi Tori ("Dragon Spirit" Famison 8BIT MIX)
  10. Service Time
  11. GO MY WAY!! (Dream Match MIX)
  12. Mata no Goraien wo ! (ver.05)
  13. 765 World * Finale (ver.05) ~(Omoide wo Arigatou)~
  14. Omoide wo Arigatou (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  15. Here we go!! (Original 8BIT Instrumental)
  16. Aoi Tori (Original 8BIT Instrumental)

This volume was actually the very last I ended up getting, because by this point the series had apparently gone out of print. While I managed to grab the other four and the compilation easily, this one I had to hunt down for seemingly months. It was worth the trouble in the end, because as well as the superb Iori-voiced Mappy remix (yes, Iori is so powerful she can even make Mappy sound good), it has a fantastic baseball-themed mix of GO MY WAY!!, which includes Chihaya doing baseball-style commentary and chanting "Go Go Let's Go Ga-La-Ga!" which is something I can get behind.





BEST ALBUM + LIVE DVD
Hibiki Ganaha &
Kotori Otonashi & Takane Shijou

Booklet
Front
02 & 03
04 & 05
06 & 07
08 & 09
10 & 11
12 & 13
14 & 15
16 & 17
18 & 19
Back
Disc 1
1. 765 World ☆Opening (BEST ALBUM ver.)
2. 765 World he youkoso (BEST ALBUM ver.)

Tracks 3-12 are the 'NEW SONGS' from Vols. 1 through 5.

13. Ureshi Ayakashi Douchuuki (“Shadowland” NEW SONG)
14. Tabi no Tochuu de (“The Legend of Valkyrie” NEW SONG)
15. Tobe! Sky Kid (“Sky Kid” NEW SONG)
16. Mata no Goraien wo ! (BEST ALBUM ver.)
17. Agent Yoru o Yuku (Hoover & Acid EXTRA 2008 ver. Instrumental)
18. GO MY WAY!! (Dream Match EXTRA 2008 ver. Instrumental)

Disc 2
Tracks 1-13 are instrumental versions of all of the 'NEW SONGS'.
Tracks 14-28 are BGMs from '765 World he youkoso' and 'Attraction' dramas.

Disc 3
Tracks 1-16 are instrumental versions of all of the 'Famison 8BIT MIX' songs.
Tracks 17 are BGMs from the remaining dramas.

Disc 4
DVD of THE iDOLM@STER performance at EXTRA: HYPER GAME MUSIC EVENT 2008

We'll have to be a bit more information-heavy on this one, as it's quite a bit different from the others. Released three years after the final album release and the live show, BEST ALBUM + LIVE DVD gathers together a considerable amount of the series' songs, but not all of them. All of the songs based specifically on Namco games (listed as 'NEW SONG' in our track lists) are present (as are their previously-unreleased instrumental versions) but not any of the iM@S remixes, Namco-inspired or otherwise. You do, however, get the BGMs used in the audio dramas at least. Furthermore, this was released after the 2nd Vision subseries began, which meant Hibiki Ganaha and Takane Shijou get their own songs based on Shadowland and The Legend of Valkyrie respectively, while 765Pro secretary Kotori Otonashi gets her own song too based on Sky Kid. Additionally, this was released after Yukiho Hagiwara's original VA, Yurina Hase, left the series (for what was later revealewd to be sad circumstances- she was receiving death threats). As such, EXCAVATE was rerecorded by her current VA, Azumi Asakura.



The real treasure of this set, though, is absolutely the fourth disc, a DVD with both a 4:3 high-quality and 16:9 wide angle recording of THE iDOLM@STER at EXTRA: HYPER GAME MUSIC EVENT 2008, a four-hour live event hosted by 5pb at Shinkiba Studio Coast (sadly the official site for the event is down, but you can see who else was at the event on this page. The event had Asami Imai (Chihaya Kisaragi), Mayako Nigo (Yayoi Takastuki), Hiromi Hirata (Makoto Kikuchi) and Akiko Hasegawa (Miki Hoshii) performing several songs from the Famison 8BIT☆iDOLM@STER albums interspersed with little talks on-stage. The best part is a live performance of GO MY WAY!! (Dream Match MIX) which has Asami Imai doing commentary on an imaginary baseball game and Hiromi Hirata taking out a baseball bat and pretending to nearly rush the mound. It's pretty magical.



There we go, that's all of them! We hope that was informative. Some loose ends here to close things out.

For a start, we put our cheap copy of Vegas to work and made a little crossfade of all the songs included across every volume.



And finally, a dump of source links for each album!

Specifically, links to VGMDB (for more arranger/release info), project-imas (for tracklistings) and Solaris Japan (easiest place to get 'em).



Vol. 1
VGMDB
project-imas
Solaris Japan

Vol. 2
VGMDB
project-imas
Solaris Japan

Vol. 3
VGMDB
project-imas
Solaris Japan


Vol. 4
VGMDB
project-imas
Solaris Japan

Vol. 5
VGMDB
project-imas
Solaris Japan

BEST ALBUM + LIVE DVD
VGMDB
project-imas
Solaris Japan





This was definitely more of a 'repository of dry info' kind of thing this time, but we hope our enthusiasm for these albums came through.

Seriously, we have these things on our phone. We actively listen to them all the time. They're... They're so good.

GO GO LET'S GO GEE-OH-SWORD