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10:01 AM on 09.16.2012

Pop'n Music and Wii don't make great friends.

I don't write enough. I need to change this! I figured I would start a more regular writing schedule with none other than my recent learning of the Wii version of Pop'n Music for the Wii, titled Pop'n Music and the Magic Music Slap. Topher Cantler has talked briefly about it on Destructoid ( and I'll admit this and another article are the limited experience I have with this game, but I still felt like it was relevant for me to use this game to illustrate some of my feelings on what the game entails as I know it.

DISCLAIMER - I'm not claiming to be an expert on this game or anything. This is really more of a "thoughts and ideas" type of article. Meant to encourage discussion, really. If you have any constructive criticism feel free to let me know! I just thought this would be an interesting topic.

Pop'n Music (a rhythm game big in Japan and in some American arcades) uses a 9 button system to hit notes in-game. This works really well and allows for beginner modes with only 5 buttons, while keeping open the possibility for EXTREMELY hard song charts for experts to play. The buttons on the machines are responsive, and all in all the game is refined and well made.

Nintendo decided to support a Wii version. This sounded like a great idea to make the game better known to the public, and maybe generate some buzz in America. After all, the series is bright and colorful, with cute characters that families could appreciate. Plus, we're no strangers to buying a rhythm game package with a new controller made specifically for the series. The problem with this? Developers are dead set on using the Wii's motion controls for EVERYTHING. Once again, for emphasis - [FOR] [EVERYTHING].

This Wii version of Pop'n Music does 2 things that constitute developers' awful pattern with the Wii. They take a solid game concept, then proceed to:

1. Cram motion controls into it, even when an alternate control method would be superior.

2. Dumb down the difficulty so supposedly it will be more accessible for everyone to enjoy it.

I know the Wii has its share of well made games. The Mario and Zelda games are easy to name drop and really were quite good, but that doesn't change the fact that many people have expressed their desire to just playing them with controllers. If this is the case with platformers and adventure games, you can imagine how poorly this will translate to a rhythm game that has its own specific controller.

In the process of converting Pop'n Music for the Wii, Nintendo cut some very large corners. Besides not offering an actual Pop'n Music controller, the Wii remote and nunchuk only control 5 onscreen buttons. The issues with this are that not only do you have to mix motion gestures to hit all 5 buttons, which results in hitting buttons you weren't even trying to use in the first place, but you don't even hit the buttons directly - Pop, the onscreen mascot of the series, hits them in your place. This just seems less precise than having the motion controls hit the onscreen notes.

Mix all of this with the half-localized song list of "songs no one really wants to play and have been crammed into countless American rhythm games" (I'm looking at you, ABC by the Jackson 5), and you get what seems to me like a half-hearted entry into a solid series meant to milk some quick cash out of some gamers who like music a little bit and want to swing their Wii remotes.   read

4:41 AM on 08.25.2010

Man, I do plain STUPID things when I play games.

I would have pressed 5 buttons when you can do that with 2.

Six completely irrational things I do in videogames

Chad Concelmo is a visionary. He dreamed. His dream told him that many other gamers out there did compulsory things when they played. It's true. Reading that article opened up a floodgate of relief that someone out there might actually feel good hearing about the weird stuff I do when I play video games. You're reading this, so you might care. Joy. On to the list!

Disclaimer: A lot of these were written by me in comments on the article, but whatever. I still do them regardless.

-Whenever I pull off a special in a fighting game, I continuously mash the last button in the combo as if it incurs the wrath of a thousand suns and deals the attack's damage to my opponent tenfold. Little do I realize in the rush of the moment, it's still only a Light Punch uppercut.

-In the later 2D Sonic games with the midair spin attack, I use it when the screen is void of any enemies just because it's another button to press.

-In any game where you mash a shoot button to fire (i.e. any space shooter or 2D run 'n' gun), I find the fastest speed I can possibly fire at. I then proceed to mash the button even faster.

-During beat 'em ups, even if I know my combo stops after 4 or 5 hits, you'll see me hit the button about 8 or 9 times. You know, for good measure.

-I'd mention pressing frets in music games before a song, but EVERYONE does that. You know I'm right.

-Throughout Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I'd often find small ways to incorporate realism whenever I could. For example, in the chapel confessionary, I would walk, not backdash, to a seat, and if I had a friendly visitor I would sit and linger for a few seconds after they left, as if I was at a very important post and it was my duty to remain there for future visitors. Hell, it even took me a while to embrace the idea of backdashing around the castle instead of running simply because it was harder to imagine a badass vampire skidding around the damn place as opposed to just using his legs. This obsession crumbled after I traveled wall-to-wall for about the fiftieth time.

-I've memorized Contra so well at this point I stop shooting when I know there are no enemies. Why waste even infinite ammo? Oddly enough I don't really do that in any other situation where I don't have to worry about conserving my bullets.

-I have an itching suspicion charge shots are inferior to mashing a button, simply for the instant gratification of 5 or so quick shots compared to one big one. I'm also partially worried that the charge will miss and it'll be wasted time.

-In story-driven first person shooters, I move in my character like they are reacting to what's going on. When meeting with someone, they might stroll and look around, while in a hostile conversation might dart their gaze back and forth. Similarly, in Assassin's Creed, I move Altair in a realistic manner during in-game cutscenes.

-Whenever I finish someone important in a story-driven game or a fighting game, I try and do it with style, like with a super combo or my "HOLY-CRAP-THAT-JUST-FILLED-THE-SCREEN" ultra-final-ultimate-world-ends-deathmove(s), rather than save them for in case I need to turn the fight around - unless it's a total emergency. Not to look badass (though that is a bonus) but because I figure that's how it would be if any epic fight ended in a rightful manner.

-Item hoarding. Taken from my reply to a comment: " item hoarding is so bad that if you look at my Castlevania: Symphony of the Night save file you'll notice that even though I completely conquered the game I will NOT use my throw items. Needless to say, I'm saving up for the Duplicator just because."

-I drum frets on music controllers to the beat if I'm not playing, as if I'll hear the riffs come out and be an instant musical legend. I also play drum beats when I'm on percussion duty if my chart is empty, considering in Rock Band and Guitar Hero (if I remember correctly) you don't lose the crowd if you play notes before the song starts. For this I am eternally grateful to Harmonix and MTV Games. This probably all has to do with me playing the instruments in real life. It makes me antsy to play.

-In action or platforming or adventure or any genre game that involves moving a character, I do silly things like hold a dash button (I'm looking at you, Tecmo Super Bowl for SNES. I know Y doesn't make me run faster. Let me dream.), or do dash jumps like in Super Mario 64, or something. Even if it doesn't save me as little as a fraction of a second, it gives me something to do when the screen is pretty much empty. That being said, if I'm enthralled in the gameplay and not just trudging to the area I need to be in, I'll be totally pacified with simply running there.

-I'm always prepared for the "Kill-Everything" enemy. ALWAYS. Even in puzzle games.

I'm honestly thankful that I never develop compulsions that put me at a disadvantage in my games. They are just that: compulsions. They're fun!

If you read this, you have the patience of a saint. Talk to me, talk to me. Tell me if you do these or if I should simply be medicated.

I DIDN'T COPY CHAD. JUST SAYING. Someone would have jumped on that train sometime, and it's just hard to write a blog with the same topic and not seem like a dirty little copycat.   read

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