NACVGM 2020 – Idols of Mass Destruction: Music as a Weaponizing force in Omega Quintet (2014)

From the Abstract

Brent Ferguson (University of Kansas) and TJ Laws-Nicola (Texas State University)

Idols of Mass Destruction: Music as a Weaponing force in Omega Quintet (2014)

Omega Quintet (2014), an idol simulation and role playing video game released for the Sony PlayStation 4, centers around the concept of weaponizing musical entities and apparatuses.  In this presentation, we analyze the hyper-weaponization of music in Omega Quintet as an allegory for the commodification and consumption of popular music.  We draw from the research of other ludomusicologists, such as William Cheng and Time Summers, that have previously examined the weaponization of music in other games.

The story of Omega Quintet is set in a dystopian Japan overrun by monsters known as the Beep.  Protagonist Takuto and his childhood friend, Otoha, join an organization that develops special idols to fight the Beep know as Verse Maidens.  Idols are highly produced and marketed young Japanese entertainment personalities.  Surviving members of humanity provide the fan base for the Verse Maidens. The Verse Maidens depend on fan support to fuel their powers. 

Battles in Omega Quintet feature an assortment of musical weaponization.  Examples include Sound Weapons as the main conduit for physical attacks, each Verse Maiden possessing equippable songs to play during extended attack sequences known as Live Mode, and special joint attacks known as Harmonic Chains.  The battles intrinsically connect to the Verse Maiden’s music, taking the commodification of idols to such an extreme that they are simultaneously consumed and used as weapons.  Presented as a duality of fragility and strength, beauty and brutality, art and war – the verse Maidens are consumed in a complex system of cultural and narrative implications.

Source: Bardic Knowledge

Source: NACVGM

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