Computational creativity and the future of AI

Wii Music aims to take music gaming to the masses


October 20, 2008

Wii Music aims to take music gaming to the masses

Wii Music aims to take music gaming to the masses

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October 21, 2008 While music based rhythm games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band let players let out their inner Rock God, Nintendo, like they have done for the majority of their Wii titles, have aimed for a different demographic with Wii Music. With the standard lead, bass, drums and vocals combo pretty well catered for, Wii Music has widened the net by bringing more than 60 instruments to your living room. And unlike other games where the object is to hit the right note at the right time, Wii Music lets you put your own spin on songs. According to Nintendo, it’s all about improvisation, creativity and fun.

Players are free to experiment with the 60+ instruments in a variety of different ways with the goal to find creative and interesting new blends of instruments, tempos and styles. Each instrument is played using the motion-sensing abilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers to mimic the real-life motions of instruments: bowing a violin, striking a vibraphone or plucking a sitar. The controllers can detect if players are playing fast or slow, hitting the notes gently or really jamming.

With its focus on social gaming at the heart of much of the Wii’s popularity, Nintendo has included a number of features that play to this strength. Not only can up to four players jam together on the same song, but once a masterpiece has been created, it can be sent electronically to friends and family members who have Wii Music so that they can bask in your musical mastery. They can take the arrangement and add their own flavor to it with new instruments or a different tempo and send it back.

With music games the track list can be the make or break factor. Unsurprisingly, with their desire to attract non-gamers, Nintendo have gone for a wide variety of music styles and genres. The 50+ track list includes everything from “The Entertainer” to “La Cucaracha.” Gamers will even find several Nintendo favorites, like the themes from Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda. If you’re say, a reggae fan and you find the reggae offerings provided not to your liking, you can rearrange and song in the music catalog with different instruments to give it a reggae sound.

As expected Wii Music also includes a variety of mini-games that let players create music videos, conduct an orchestra, play in a handbell choir, test their musical ears or rock out on a virtual drum set - Wii Fit owners can even use the Wii Balance Board accessory as virtual pedals for the bass drum and the hi-hat cymbal. But one of the big advantages that Wii Music has over its music game rivals is that the game doesn’t require the purchase of any extra accessories. All 60+ instruments and 50+ songs can be played with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers.

The other main strength is the freedom it gives players to create their own arrangements in a way that is easily accessible for newcomers. While this approach probably won’t appeal to traditional gamers, it should appeal to non-gamers and youngsters, which we suspect is exactly what Nintendo set out to do.

Wii Music is available now and carries an MSRP of USD$49.99.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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