Wii Music is a bad video game.
Wii Music is better than video games. When I had originally started this blog, I decided that I would not write to any great detail about a video game that I'd been playing without an ironic tone. Today, you might think, I'm going to break that rule. However, I won't. I can't. Video games aren't cool.
Wii Music is cool. It's the latest in a series of Nintendo Wii games catered towards people who just like to wave a stick around and instantly see fun and cute results on their television sets. Their standard definition television sets, like mine. It's kind of a rhythm game, and it's kinda not - it's mostly a toy, a piece of software for a video game system that isn't a video game itself, but something more reliable and understandable than your average Mario or Zelda. Oh no, Wii Music isn't a rhythm game like Guitar Hero, but rather an interactive visual with no goal or boundaries or competition. It is the definitive non-game. Not something you can be better at or worse at, not something that will discourage any new player from attempting, not something that can easily hook the Generation Y gamer plodding away on Xbox Live, garnering a higher gamerscore and a better kill/death ratio on Call of Duty 4. It's not something that will impress you, or bore you.
It's a thing where you wave your remote and press buttons to make music. It's a way to play air guitar or drum your fingers on a desk or pretend to sing into a microphone in front of a mirror, alone, except now you're seeing physical representations of these things happening on screen and in front of you, and you can do it with other people.
It's a thing that allows you play along to a Latin arrangement of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or a jazz arrangement of "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go". And then you can select which part of the song you want to play: the percussion, the harmony, the melody, etc. And you can swap instruments out for other ones. You can switch between basses, or you can use a piano or a trumpet as bass if you want. You can replace the drumkits with turntables and taiko drums.
And then, you can save your performances and play on top of them. Then you can save your performances to videos and mail them to your friends. And they can mail you their performances, and you can play alongside their take on the harmony or backing chords.
When I play alone, it's fun to relax and mess around in the improv section. And then sometimes I'll play a song or two and make a video, and turn it off. That's how video games should be. I played it with my sister, and it was nice to have a game that wasn't competitive, where there was no goal, and the individual arrangements and experiences came together to form a whole piece - even if it wasn't a masterpiece of music, it was still fun to fool around with the arrangements and improvise our own parts.
These days, video game developers talk about "experience" - the experience of playing Halo 3, the experience of killing a hooker. Wii Music is about the rawest form of entertainment, still proving that there's room for it on the shelf at GameStop. It's the anti-Guitar Hero. Better and worse than Guitar Hero.
Anyway, that's all the time I have for today! But Perdido Street Station is still rockin', this week I recommend Max Headroom, the new Squarepusher sounds like it might be good, Legend of Kage 2 is a good DS game, there's a nice place downtown that sells good veggie dogs, Hornado and Ragnarok killed at UCB last Tuesday, and I hate people with lots of pennies and fake social security cards. I leave you with Let's Tap!: not the past tapping game, not the present tapping game, but the future tapping game!
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