Idol Game (lost prototype of THE [email protected]; 2002)
On July 26, 2005, Namco released an arcade game called THE [email protected]. It is a raising sim/rhythm game where the player assumes the role of a producer assigned to train potential pop idols. It became very popular, spawning sequels, spin-offs, anime and manga.
Three years earlier in 2002, Namco location tested a prototype of THE [email protected], tentatively known as Idol Game. This prototype was presumably similar to the released game, but there are known differences. For example, two extra idols were advertised, Takane and Hibiki. These characters were not present in the released game but were later revived for the later game subseries THE [email protected] SP as Takane Shijou and Hibiki Ganaha.
The prototype was shown at the 40th Amusement Game Show. It was presumably location tested and then withdrawn after Namco received results and decided to go forward with the project.