->''According to an ancient legend...\\
There was a time when humans all spoke the same language. But one day, [[TowerOfBabel they attempted to build a tower that would reach the heavens and bring them closer to their Creator.]]\\
The Creator punished them for their impudence by taking away their common tongue and scattering them across the world.''
-->-- '''Opening narration'''

The year is [[ExtyYearsFromNow 203X]]. Humanity as we know it has been destroyed. All you have to protect yourself, is [[ImprobableWeaponUser your trusty microphone]], [[HealingPotion a stack of candy]], and [[PalsWithJesus a contract with a god of death and destruction]]. The odds are against you.

''Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE'' is the {{MMORPG}} adaptation of the increasingly popular ''ShinMegamiTensei'' franchise. Developed by {{Cave}} (yes, ''[[BulletHell that]]'' Cave), who bought the rights, rather than {{Atlus}} owners of the franchise as a whole. While originally exclusive to Japan, it was announced in 2008 that Creator/AeriaGames had licensed the game for an English release. The game officially entered open beta on December 30, 2008. The game is Free To Play, but uses the standard Asian [[AllegedlyFreeGame cash shop model.]]

The game has several features that make it unique from other [=MMOs=], including a rigid storyline, with well defined characters rather than several unrelated sidequests, a complex combat system that is frequently described as comparable to rock-paper-scissors with a healthy dose of NintendoHard, and the bizarre fact that [[TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse the entire thing's happening in Tokyo.]]

In April 2012, Aeria, who ran the game's servers, handed control over to Atlus Online (now [[http://megaten.marvelous-usa.com Marvelous USA]]). All North American servers were officially closed on February 28, 2014 due to the disbanding of the [=PC=] online division responsible for managing the servers. The Japanese-based servers, including the official site, remained up and running until May 24, 2016, due to the developers being too understaffed to handle player requests.

!!This game provides examples of:

* AddressingThePlayer: Snakeman does it everytime you talk to him.
--> '''Snakeman''': [Player], we were waiting for you.
* AfterTheEnd
* AllegedlyFreeGame: You can survive for free, but success is, as always, at a premium. A great part of the content [[http://imgur.com/a/ZPOyj doesn't need tons of]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5z9JMKOY4o cash shop gear]], but not using it will get you flamed by the {{Stop Having Fun Guy}}s. Certain things (such as Shiva&Vishnu, Daisoujou Eggs, [[BeachEpisode Virtual Beach]], etc) do require a good deal of cash shop gears to be successful, though.
* AKA47: There are many weapons that are clearly real-life guns. For instance, the "Desert Rambus" looks suspiciously like a rather common ([[RareGuns in media anyway]]) .50AE pistol.
* ApocalypseHow: The game is set after the first numbered ''ShinMegamiTensei'' game, though it probably won't catch up to the second.
* ArtificialHuman: The Innocent are artificial people made to make up for the population destroyed by the Great Destruction. It seems they end up almost all the menial jobs, leaving all the normal people to either be Demon Busters, Shopkeepers, or Guardsmen.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** Congrats, you just made a character who can dodge, block, and counter at any moment. Good luck winning any battles with more than one enemy. Also your use in battle is very low, only being slightly better than "TheLoad" because you have a small chance of dying. However, this is a good focus of non-combat characters, as it allows you to level by going into a party, but not a good focus for a fighter.
** The Dimensional Incision skill. It's a gunner skill with an almighty affinity, something a lot of people have wished for the Magic Bullet chain expertise to have. However, it costs a horrid 50 MP (all other gunner skills cost 5 MP at most), and since the only enemies weak to almighty are Slime, Blob and Black Ooze, it's better to just use something else.
** Same thing with the Dimensional Laceration skill, which is pretty much the same as the example above, but it's a melee skill, and costs ''50% of your max HP'' to use.
* BecomeARealBoy: Some of the Innocents have gained sapience and built their own community in the hollows of one of the destroyed communes. This has since become the Neutral factions' home base.
* CastFromHitPoints: As usual for the ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' series, most physical skills cost a percentage of HP instead of MP.
* CharacterAlignment:[[invoked]] The game has SMT's standard LAW/NEUTRAL/CHAOS alignments.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Law is blue, Chaos is red, Neutral is green.
* CoolOldGuy: Snakeman. [[LawfulStupid Usually.]]
* CreativeSterility: Innocents. They are incapable of using magic and making contracts with demons because of this.
* CriticalStatusBuff: A good amount of equipments and soulstones provide this. Some builds are even made to abuse this, and are aptly named "[[OneHitPointWonder suicide builds]]".
* DiskOneNuke: Having a character master counter/dodge/block, at least two usable skills of each, means you can solo any enemy, however that isn't the same for groups of enemies, as counter takes some time to prepare. Despite that, you can distract a boss, and possibly kill, at any level as long as they don't use any special statuses.
* ElementalRockPaperScissors: This being a ShinMegamiTensei game, it couldn't be any different, but it's taken UpToEleven, as there are ''21'' different affinities.
* EmptyRoomPsych: Celu Tower.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: The Spin expertise. With the implementation of channel unification, the game now disconnects players who stay still for too long. Players then found a way for their characters to stay spinning in place constantly to prevent this.
* GameWithinAGame: The Golden Ark Casino in Ikebukuro Chinatown.
* GlassCannon: It's easy to hit 4 digits, and possible to hit 5 digits, but most players have 300 HP or lower. Mages and gunners in particular tend to die in 2 to 4 hits.
* HideYourChildren: The only child in the game is Azura.
* HumanResources: Plasma, lovely floating spheres of light, which Demon Busters can "communicate" with to scavenge materials are made out of the ''souls'' of people who died in the apocalyptic flood.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Improbable armor is even more common. Wearing a full Kimono and a blade made of glass to fight Yamato-No-Orochi, is just one of the epic things you can get done in this game.
* InUniverseGameClock: Each hour in-game takes 2 minutes in real time. Also, each 12 hours in-game represent one phase of the moon. Some stores only sell specific items during a specific moonphase, and some enemies only spawn during a specific hour or moonphase.
* [[spoiler:KillTheCutie]]: During one of the late the main acts [[NoExportForYou currently available only in the japanese server]], [[spoiler: [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe Azura is torn in half]]. [[AGodAmI She comes back as Isis]] later, though.]]
* LawEnforcementInc: The Demon Busters come off as this (with elements of HeroesRUs), considering how many of their missions involve providing services/protection/vengeance in exchange for goods or money.
* LevelGrinding: It takes more experience to get from Level 96 to Level 97 than it does to get from Level 1 to Level 96. Mathematically, the amount of XP needed to get from 96 to 97 is TWICE the amount required from '''''1 to 96''''', and '''''more than FOUR TIMES''''' the amount required to go '''''from 1 to 95'''''.
* LevelUpFillUp: Players also get increased movement speed and damage for 5 minutes.
* LoadingScreen: Originally, the game didn't have them, but after the channel unification, specific areas require one. While in the japanese server it usually has some advertising of new items or new content, the US server has [[{{Fanart}} drawings made by players]]. Creator/AeriaGames used to have one event to make new ones every 6 months, but apparently Atlus Online isn't going to follow this.
* LoadsAndLoadsofLoading: ''Old Ichigaya Camp (Gold)'', ''Protopia Hack'', and pretty much every ''Hack Run'' are guilty of this. These dungeons dungeons are very short, and when they are ran through, most people go for at least 10 runs. You get a loading screen when entering and exiting each time.
* LockedDoor: Suginami Tunnels.
* LostInTranslation: In the beginning of Law Act 1, you can tell DB Candidate Lin to "cut it out with the sir", but she didn't say "sir" even a single time. [[UsefulNotes/JapaneseHonorifics This is because she was supposed to call you [Player]-san]].
* MagikarpPower: The Rapid expertise. You start with a weak skill that shoots 3 times, then you get a skill that '''always''' deals 49 damage total (and for that reason it's used to [[StatGrinding grind the expertise]]), then you get a skill that shoots 4 times, but has so random a damage that one of the hits usually hits below 10 damage. Then you get ''13 Shots to Hell'', which shoots 14 times, each of which is more powerful in raw power than most non-spell attacks in the game.
* TheManBehindTheMan: In chapter 16, [[spoiler:its heavily implied that the person responsible for [[BigBad Ogami's]] resurrection is a revived Gotou, the StarterVillain of the original ''Shin Megami Tensei''.]]
* MegaNeko: Cait Siths, especially the Rowdy Avatar versions.
* {{Mons}}: One of the better {{Massively Multiplayer Online Game}}s that features this as a central concept. Probably due to its roots.
* MiniGame: Plasmas.
* MonstersEverywhere
* NoEnding: Ending? How about a middle? Unfortunately, the devs have yet to completely implement a plotline.
* NintendoHard: However, unlike Atlus-Made games, there are a few instances of FakeDifficulty.
* ObviousBeta: Most new contents are obviously not even tested. Special mention to version 1.605, which fixed one minor bug while introducing a crapton of others, some of which were [[GameBreakingBug pretty awful]]. In this particular case, it was impossible to revert the update, because it changed the entire game's build (the "update" actually had you download the whole game again).
** Back in the first implementation of the Denshi Kairo dungeon, so many things were bugged that they had to take the server down the next day to ''revert the update''.
** Creator/AeriaGames's Game Masters (and even some Game Sages) would always claim that they [[BlatantLies tested content extensively before implementing]]. One would think "extensive testing" would make them notice that the most popular dungeon (Old Ichigaya Camp Gold) is lacking AI, or that the most rewarding cash run bosses (Shiva & Vishnu, which were being spammed to hell and back at the time) are lacking ''two thirds of their HP'', or that the soulstones they just implemented are not working at all.
** Atlus Online isn't much better. They apparently have no testers at all, and have to have the players test their contents. This was made rather obvious when they tried to fix the PvP bug twice, but players confirmed they failed half an hour after the maintenances. They also needed player confirmation when the bug was actually fixed on the third try.
* OlympusMons: [[Myth/NorseMythology Odin]], [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Cerberus]], [[Creator/HPLovecraft Nyarlathotep]], and [[FairyTale Alice]]; to name a few.
* OrderVersusChaos: In-story, they're currently in a period of relative peace.
* OneHitPolykill: The Pierce Shot skill.
* PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling: Ichigaya Gold, Hacked Chip Alpha, New Moon and Egg Daisoujou runs, and Shiva/Vishnu runs.
* PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo: Demi-Fiend will appear in the game as a event boss.
* RepeatableQuest: There is a small variety of these, including quests you can only repeat if you pick up uncommon loot.
* RelationshipValues: Contracted demons can range from "Wishes Death on-" to "Linked by Fate with-" towards the player controlling it. Demons receive attribute bonuses with high friendship and penalties with low friendship. High friendship demons also give you daily quests.
* RunDontWalk: Players cannot walk at all. They do have a walking animation, but you can only see it by moving towards a wall and holding the move forward command.
* SacrificialLion: DB Kuroe.
* ScavengerWorld
* {{Skybox}}
* ShoutOut: Most of the items are based on outfits of other SMT heroes, allowing for easy cosplay of them.
** [[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann Your Drill Comp is the Drill Comp that will]] [[OlympusMons capture those who rule heaven (or hell)]]. [[http://megaten.sesshou.com/wiki/index.php/Drill_COMP However, the creator's passion can somehow be felt oozing out of the COMP]].
** The [[Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms Supremacy Outfits]]: Violent Dragon (Shu), Fighting Dragon (Wei) and Colossal Dragon (Wu).
** Also the Winged Dragon outfit:
---> A Chinese shirt with a design based on a legendary kingdom that never once took center stage during the so-called Three Kingdoms period, in spite of its powerful military.
** The [[EverythingIsAnIPodInTheFuture iCOMP]].
--> The latest handheld PC, finely tuned for the needs of Demon Busters. Works well with a wide range of hardware and software and is equipped with some forms of magic resistance.
* SoloSequence: Denshi Kairo.
* StatGrinding: Has both this and the standard CharacterLevel.
* {{Stripperiffic}}:
** [[http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4272178/MTWiki/Demon/Gaian/assassin.jpg Assassins]].
** Some female outfits, the most [[{{Egregious}} egregious]] example being the [[http://i.imgur.com/16QFKRp.jpg Stealth Suit]].
* SuicidalOverconfidence: Inugami will attack even level capped players without thinking twice.
* UselessUsefulSpell:
** While generally averted due to this being SMT, it's played hilariously straight with the Traesto spell; every character has it to start with, and it is, as always, your "return to saved spot" spell. But it takes so long to cast that you could probably just walk and get where you're going faster. Traesto Stones, the spell in item form, are instant.
** Estoma: It makes enemies lose their aggressiveness towards you for a small time frame. However, its range is so short that it's unusable.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Heavily present in what storyline has been released.