Miku Tsuku at Snow Miku 2017: The VR Game That Stole The Show at Sapporo Factory Atrium
Hatsune Miku has been opening the gateway for many new topics of interest in technology for Vocaloid fans, and one of those recent interests has been the rise in virtual reality technologies. With the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and even simple phone-powered HMDs (head mounted displays), VR is everywhere these days. But it’s still in its infancy, while developers and game companies experiment to figure out what will truly make VR a staple in the modern gaming world.
A group of talented developers and devoted Miku fans in Japan have figured that the best way to enjoy the world of virtual reality is with our favorite virtual idol (Miku of course!). At last year’s Snow Miku, the team showed off a simple VR demo with the Oculus Rift, where you could have your picture taken with Snow Miku. As simple as this demo was, it put the biggest smile on my face, and was one of the standout moments of my visit to Snow Miku 2016.
When I saw the team had returned to Snow Miku 2017 with yet another demo, this time with Oculus Touch controls, I knew I would be in for another treat. This time they were presenting an all new Snow Miku demo called “Miku Tsuku”, which means “Making Miku”. The demo booth was so popular, there was over an hour estimated wait time. While waiting, I spoke to some of the staff to learn about the demo. The demo was developed in a matter of just 3 weeks with a team of 5~6 people. That was truly impressive!
After observing other players, and having the staff explain the run down on the game controls, it was soon my turn to jump back into the virtual reality world.
Miku Tsuku Gameplay Demo
In Miku Tsuku, you are presented with a desk with a figure-sized Snow Miku and various objects scattered around you. The purpose of the demo is to decorate the stage with the various objects, as well as position the Snow Miku figure (which is actually alive and watching you!) however you like. At any time, you also have the ability to instantly shrink down in size and join Snow Miku on the stage by tapping the smart watch that’s on your left hand inside the game. There is a sudden shock and surprise when you do this for the first time, and the feeling of having Miku right there in front of you… It’s truly surreal.
The interactive experience was so joyful and fun, the 5:35 time limit felt like it passed too quickly before I could try everything that I wanted to do. Like the previous year, I was left with the biggest smile on my face once my turn was finished, and I had nothing but praise for the developers of Miku Tsuku. I also played with the rhythm VR game presented by Crypton themselves, as well as the Google Tango AR demo. But neither of these could compare to the marvelous experience of Miku Tsuku.
The team of Miku Tsuku is hopeful that there will be interest and support from fans to help encourage further development of this idea, along with a release on Oculus and Steam stores, and other platforms. I hope they succeed, and that many more Hatsune Miku fans will be introduced to the world of VR. I can really see this concept going somewhere in the future, and Hatsune Miku will help lead the way.