Friday, January 05, 2007

Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution

Over the last 2 years, “Rhythm” Games have evolved from niche game to mainstream phenomenon. “Rhythm” Games are focused on game play mechanics that have you doing a measurable action to the beat of the music in the game. Although widely embraced in Japan for nearly 10 years, they have remained a very cult driven videogame genre throughout the rest of the world.

Recently, we have seen a shift in popular acceptance. Much of that can be attributed to two game series: Konami’s “Dance Dance Revolution” and Red Octane/Harmonix’s “Guitar Heroes”.

I’ve been fascinated with “Rhythm” games for some time now. Videogame popularity has generally been interlinked with the attempt to make Videogames more cinematic. Rhythm based games are anything but cinematic. Most include high levels of difficulty that encourage repeated play. They are more of a visceral experience that feels closer to an intense game of Galaga; where much of your game experience is based on score related self improvement. These games are made further unique because they depend so heavily on a very physical experience that makes you an unknowing performance art piece for spectators watching you play. :-)

I got Guitar Hero 2 for Christmas and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it. The game gets hard fast, but it’s a whole lot of fun and the song list is varied enough that even the most jaded will find a song that they can enjoy playing to.

Check out the attached videos for humorous examples of both games.


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