image from skatterbugged at spriters resource!
The first rhythm video game I played was DDR for Wii – but the first rhythm game I played on my own, intentionally (and that wasn’t a dance rhythm game) was Taiko no Tatsujin Switch Version, after I saw a friend talking about it on Twitter and thought it looked fun.
At the time in my life when I picked up Project DIVA, I’d come to realize how much games were a part of my life, and particularly the extent of the role they played in how I bonded and socialized with friends. And yet I’d played so few of them, almost all of them being extremely popular mainstream titles, and I decided I wanted to expand my game repertoire. Scanning the Nintendo eShop, I found games with demos to try out first, and saw Project DIVA, which I’d only heard about previously online but had never seen or even thought I could ever play.
I first got into Vocaloid as a teen around middle school at a time where I was entering a weeb phase, and while I initially liked it I had a hard time navigating popular Vocaloid music sites given my lack of Japanese, so it never became too strong of an interest, despite me definitely blasting songs like “Triple Baka” or “Gocha Gocha Urusee” in the car with my mom. It was something I had nostalgia for, but no serious knowledge of, and I mostly stopped paying attention to it from high school onwards.
So I downloaded the demo excitedly, looking forward to finally getting to up my Vocaloid knowledge and play the famous game from my childhood, and – I’m terrible at it. Like, I’ve never been this atrociously bad at a game before. The background music video distracts me so much I hardly even see the scattered few notes I have to hit, and I think I’ll never be able to play this game… But a year later I buy it, and by the end of that year I play it nearly daily to drown out either the noise and lights around me or my thoughts. I start spending more and more time thinking about Project DIVA, memorizing bits of songs, learning about chart layouts and common note patterns and practicing and getting visibly better at the game.
Now I invent my own challenges while playing, just for fun. I’ve tried playing every song in Future Tone/ Mega Mix at least once, I’ve played extra extreme, I’ve full cleared songs, gotten 100% and above on songs, played the extra difficulties. Project DIVA is my favorite game to play at Round 1, even though it’s the one I have the most access to at home and only lets you play two songs per credit. It’s gotten me back into Vocaloid. This series feels important to me, and I hold a lot of love for it.