I love music. It’s been a huge part of my life since I was a little girl. It can make you happy, it can make you sad, it can make you want to get up and just dance. Music has the power to evoke almost any human emotion. It can bring together people from completely different cultures, leading many to think of it as a universal language. It’s just awesome. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I have a huge soft spot for music-themed games. An interactive experience that challenges my rhythm and coordination, AND has awesome music? That’s right up my alley. Here’s a list of my five favorites.
5. Parappa the Rapper
This PS1 title is the first rhythm game to really gain popularity. Thankfully, my older brother introduced me to this game, and I fell in love with it just like everybody else. The game follows Parappa, a young dog trying to win the love of his crush, an adorable flower named Sunny Funny. The gameplay is pretty simple, each stage has a different teacher. As they rap, symbols appear on the screen, and the player must match them with the right timing. Through the power of song, Parappa ends up winning the girl. Rapping also helps him learn how to fight, drive, and bake a cake. Basically, in this universe, you can do anything with the help of funky fresh rhymes. You just gotta believe!
4. DJ Hero
A few years ago if you said “music game” someone else would answer with “Guitar Hero”. Of course, this popularity sparked the creation of a spin off, and in 2009 we were given DJ Hero. Instead of a guitar shaped controller, this game uses one shaped like a turntable. What I love the most about this game is the soundtrack. It’s AWESOME. A wide variety of music genres were used, but all of the songs were remixed to have more of a hip-hop feel to them. There’s also a “DJ vs Guitar” mode where players can use the Guitar Hero controller. It’s only supported by 10 of the songs, but it’s a nice touch. With these types of games being popular at parties, it’s also worth noting that DJ Hero has a “Party Play” mode that that automatically plays through the soundtrack and allows a player to jump in at any time.
3. Amplitude (2003)
You guys probably guessed that this would be on my list. I was so excited about the Amplitude reboot, and while it’s good, there’s something about the original that I like more. The original was released on PS2. It’s an older game, so its not quite as polished, but it has this charm that the just reboot doesn’t have. Harmomix created a lot of songs specifically for this series of games, and there are definitely more of them in the reboot than in the original. The music sounds great, but I think the inclusion of songs from popular artists is what makes the original Amplitude a better game.
2. Elite Beat Agents
Do you ever wish you could have your own group of cheerleaders for when you feel a little discouraged? It would definitely be awesome. That’s the story behind the DS rhythm game, Elite Beat Agents. You play as a group of government agents tasked with helping those in need. You never help them directly though, you just help them by encouraging them with song and dance. I LOVED this game as a kid. It was just so awesome to use the touchscreen for a rhythm game, instead of having to press a sequence of buttons. Plus, this game is full of covers of classic hits. Any game that includes music by David Bowie, Cher, and The Jackson 5 is a winner in my book.
1. Bust a Groove
I’m kind of cheating here, and counting both the first and second game as one unit for the purpose of this list. This game has my heart forever. It’s a rhythm/fighting game hybrid where instead of singing or rapping, the focus is solely on dancing. The characters are battling for possesion of the Groovetron, a mysterious item that has the power to grant wishes. Since everyone is after it, the only way to settle the dispute is to take it to the dance floor. I can never choose between Bust a Groove 1 or 2. Gameplay wise, they’re exactly the same. I definitely like the characters and music more in the first game. I mean, what’s not to love about a tarot card reading stripper named Pinky who’s theme song alludes to her being a contract killer? In the second game, I really appreciate the addition of reflect and guard moves and a branching path based on how well you do in campaign mode. Maybe I love these games so much because they send me on a nostalgia trip like no other. Hopefully one day Sony will have mercy on us and finally release it to the PlayStation store. I might be waiting forever, but hey, a girl can dream.
So, what are some of your favorite music titles? Let us know in the comments below!