Iwata Asks: Wii Music

The latest addition of Iwata Asks is about the soon to be released Wii Music, and it seems like Shigeru Miyamoto (General Producer) has had a pretty big emotional stake in the game’s creation.

Iwata: I wonder what, exactly, has excited you so much. Is it because something you always wanted to make has finally been accomplished?

Miyamoto: I suppose so. I strongly want everyone to understand this game. Earlier you said this may be my life’s work. This game may be exactly what I’ve wanted to accomplish all this time. It may also be a reaction against my complex about musical instruments.

Wii Music

Thanks to an over-the-top unveiling at E3 2008, Wii Music has been almost universally shunned by the gaming press. Expecting a Rock Band like experience, most gamers were disappointed to find that the game values creativity (of a sort) over timing. In fact, most modes in Wii Music have no scores to speak of. Instead, players press buttons and manipulate the Wiimote as they please (depending on the instrument you’re playing), and the software translates that into sounds that “work” within the song you’ve chosen to play.

At first, this sounds stupidly limiting – it’s like the game plays itself. But in reality, it’s a pretty interesting and unique angle on the music game genre. Instead of forcing you to adhere to a specific note chart, the game allows you freedom to play a song the way you want to (to an extent).

Miyamoto: When it comes to music games, as opposed to music for games, a lot of good games have been developed that require pressing buttons in line with a musical score, but they don’t represent the idea I have of music very well.

Further, you can record various tracks for any given tune. Perhaps you’ll want to lay down a drum track for the general beat, and then use other instruments like guitars and horns to round out the melody. Songs can also be sent to friends, and they can add tracks of their own. This asynchronous collaboration is intriguing, and I bet some great compositions get put together this way.

I don’t think Wii Music will replace an experience like Rock Band (which is completely awesome), but I also think that it is a very compelling (and Nintendo-like) take on a well established genre. I welcome that.


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