Gaming and music are two almost universally liked forms of art and entertainment. Throw them together, and the two worlds collide in various inventive ways. The roots of computer based electronic music production were laid down by eager experimenters with Commodore 64s, Amigas and Ataris, excited by the prospects their beige wonder machines promised beyond Centipede and Manic Miner – but how they did that is a piece for another time. Today we’re going to look at how music production and composition has been approached in the context of gaming in three different ways – and nominate our favourites in the categories!
1: Rhythm Games
Our Favourite: Parappa The Rapper
Rhythm games represent actual musicianship to varying degrees; some games require nothing more than mechanical duplication whilst other more interesting fare rewards ‘freestyle’ – and our all time favourite of these more appealing (at least to our sensibilities) versions is Parappa The Rapper. In your quest to impress your beau as the venerable rapping dog, the only way you could get the best ratings was to ride the beats with some style and initiative. The sequel Um Jammer Lammy traded in bars for guitars and the style and wackiness, in our humble opinion, knocks the scripted drudgery of Guitar/DJ Hero into a cocked hat.
Interesting Mention: Numark Scratch: The Ultimate DJ
Numark’s Scratch the Ultimate DJ was announced way before DJ Hero, but the release of DJ Hero (along with some seedy legal battles involving Activision’s purchase of the developer of Scratch which publisher Numark asserts was specifically to delay release so that DJ Hero would hit shores first) means it’s entirely possible that it’ll never see the light of day, despite having by far the most interesting hardware… shame.