Forgotten PS1 Rhythm Games
The use of CD-ROMs for games in the 1990s meant a drastic improvement in the quality of game music. With this breakthrough, a number of game designers decided to use it to combine the worlds of gaming and music, creating the genre of rhythm game.
It’s no surprise that because of this, the original PlayStation had a bunch of great rhythm games. One of them, Parappa the rapper, proved to be extremely influential. It even gave Sony an additional mascot for a time, as the rapping dog represented the diversity of games on the system. However, not all games have to be this big, and there are plenty of weird and wonderful rhythm games that haven’t quite had the same lasting impact.
6 spice world
While the PlayStation dominated the gaming charts, the music charts saw the dominance of the Spice Girls, especially in their home country of the UK. Naturally, Sony’s London studio saw a great opportunity to combine the two. The result was 1998 spice worldwho shared his name with the group’s first film.
The result is probably one of the weirdest appearances of real-world musicians in video games, as the girls have all been turned into big-headed Bratz doll versions of themselves. The gameplay was also weird, as it offered simple dance gameplay and the ability to direct music videos while the girls danced. While the game was popular at the time, it faded from memory when the Spice Girl mania died out in the 2000s, and also because the game itself wasn’t very good.
Fluid is one of the weirdest titles from the original PlayStation. It was so strange that North America avoided it altogether, as it only launched in Japan and Europe. Players control a dolphin swimming through a misty seascape, where the goal is to collect artifacts at different levels. Each of these artifacts contains a specific sound, and these sounds have become part of a sample library.
In fact, controlling the dolphin was only half the game. The other half was the Groove Editor, where collected samples could be put together to make music, and the dolphin could then improvise the sounds on the fly. This music creation was limited, however, as the player could only truly create New Age mood music with the game’s limited tools.
4 Music 2000
Not so much a game and more a software for the PlayStation, the Music Codemasters games are best boiled down to Pro Tools for the PS1. At a time of limited availability of music creation software for the home market, Music was hugely influential. It gave PlayStation owners a basic digital audio workstation, complete with its own sample library, sequencers, and a ton of built-in effects.
It had one significant limitation, however, as players could not export their music, so it remained trapped inside the PlayStation and could not be ripped directly to a CD. The samples in Music 2000 were also very 90s, so it was hard to do anything that wasn’t moody techno, which limited its potential. This is mostly forgotten today as more flexible PC-based DAWs have become affordable and readily available, but back then it was a big deal.
Whereas dance dance revolution was starting to heat up in the arcades, another game brought dancing gameplay to PlayStation: Break a groove. However, he did not use a dance pad like his more popular contemporary. Instead, it used entries similar to Parappa the rapperas a group of wacky characters staged dances.
The characters were really weird, ranging from a stereotypical 70s disco dancer, to a mean street hip hop dancer, to a man wearing a gas mask, a magical cat-themed girl, a woman who dresses like a baby, and a pair of aliens. It was bizarre and received generally rave reviews, but the series proved unpopular in the West as the second game skipped Europe and the third game never left Japan.
2 Um Jammer Lammy
Whereas Parappa the rapper receives a ton of attention to this day for its influence and uniqueness, immediate spinoffs, Um Jammer Lammytends to be ignored a bit more. parappa even got a remaster for PS4, while Um Jammer Lammy remains stuck in the past.
Keeping parappaThe call-and-response gameplay of this spin-off changes responses from repeated rap lines to cool guitar riffs. Playing as guitarist sheep, Lammy, of the rock band MilkCan, players must use their guitar skills in such bizarre situations as putting out a fire, piloting an airplane, and tending to babies. It offered a little more complexity than its predecessor while retaining the tone and ease of access that made it so popular at first.
Of the same spirit that gave the world parappa and lamy, Vib-Ribbon sees the player take control of a bunny made up of vector graphics walking on a line covered in shapes, each representing a different button on the controller. These shapes slide down the line to the beat of the music, and the bunny must jump, jump and jump through them to avoid turning into a worm and dying.
It was already a unique concept, but what made it even more special was that its levels were procedurally generated based on all sound introduced into the game. In other words, the game disc could be swapped for any audio CD, and the songs from that CD would create a series of new levels for the game. It was a cool concept for the time, but other than an accidental PS3 re-release and in-game pack reference -in PS5 Astro’s Playroom, Vib-Ribbon has yet to be introduced to the mp3 and streaming worlds, where it could really shine.
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