I’ve escaped gacha idol hell.

OK. It’s inaccurate to say I’ve “escaped” gacha idol hell, because I didn’t really escape it. After 9 years of service, the plug got pulled on Love Live: School Idol Festival, sending all of my hard-earned idol .pngs to a black hole.

And when I say “a black hole”, I really mean it. See, while the makers of Love Live: School Idol Festival are offering a transfer service that takes all of the cards you collected and adds them to an album in the sequel game, this service was only available to players of the North American or Japanese versions of the game. Players of the European version weren’t eligible to transfer, probably due to some sort of contract nonsense.

…did I say “Players of the European version”? I’m sorry, I meant “anyone who ever logged on to the game while they were in Europe”. So the week I spent in Brussels and France back in 2019 meant that I was not eligible to transfer my stuff to the new game… something that’s both bad and good. While it means that I don’t get to flip through my virtual idols like the baseball cards of my childhood, it also means that I don’t feel driven to download the new game once it comes out.

That isn’t to say that I won’t try it. Love Live: School Idol Festival was a supremely fun game, and looking at my play stats on its final day of service revealed that I had logged into it on 1159 unique days since installing it in January of 2018. That is a LOT of play time.

Also, over the course of five years, I spent about sixty bucks total on it – and most of that was just because I wanted particularly pretty cards, not because I needed them to play the game. As far as a free-to-play game goes, it was EXCEPTIONALLY generous with the amount you could play and the amount of currency that was thrown at you to draw for random characters.

So, on the last day, I logged in, played one final song – START:DASH!! – and took a few screenshots to remember it by.

Here are some of my favorite cards, selected because they were really pretty:

Yes I may have a little bit of a Nozomi bias. BEST GIRL.

And one very special card to me for how broken it was:

This particular Kotori card had a special ability that the game developers added to exactly three cards ever and then never ever put on a card ever again. It was simple enough in theory: Every time you got a certain amount of score, Kotori would give you a little more score. I think that it was something like getting a 200 point bonus every time you got 1800 points. Nothing huge, right?

Well, you could have multiple Kotoris in a team. And if you were playing one of LLSIF’s team events, Kotori’s “add score” would fire on the team’s score rather than just your score. And it would activate for every Kotori in your hand. The end result was rather explosive, and the score counter would keep scrolling for quite a while after a song ended just to update with your final score.

Let’s not talk about her giant, nightmare-inducing syringe. Some people have very particular fetishes.

Anyway. It was an awesome game, it’s dead now, I’m a little sad but life goes on.

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