The hardest part writing about my favorite gaming moment of 2012? Trying to remember what games came out in 2012. I am old and feeble and my memory is hazy, and I can barely remember what happened yesterday, let alone in this past year. The thoughts that ran through my head were borderline senile: "You know what game was fun? Skyward Sword! I had some fun moments with Zelda (2011)." "Oh man, good times playing co-op with my brother in RE5 (2009)." "I LOVED ZACK AND WIKI, AND DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL FOR NOT BUYING IT (2007, and yes, I am still crying over it)." I mean, fuck! Did I play anything this year that CAME OUT THIS YEAR? My backlog of games is immense and I'm trying to go through them as I find time, but I suck with dates. *looks up* Wait, Rhythm Heaven Fever is amazing, and I'd love to talk about that game. When did it come out? February 2012! HAPPY DAY! Now I can invite all of you to read about how I discovered my inner rhythm with this gem, and how playing it will not help you bust moves on the dance floor in any way, shape, or form.
Ok, first off, look at that box art up at the very top. Whoever designed it was clearly thinking, "You know what will attract a consumer's attention? Every single color known to man regurgitated onto the front cover. How can this not sell like hotcakes when we have two shirtless beings literally shitting rainbows and skyrocketing into space?" I commend you, you nameless, faceless, probably shirtless, crazy genius of a man (or woman). So, what kind of game is Rhythm Heaven Fever? It's a rhythm game where you time button presses on your Wiimote to match actions on the screen, but it's like a spastic, deranged squirrel banging into trees with a reckless sense of abandon with the sheer amount of crazy shit you get to do in each unique mini-game. My friend bought this game and brought it over my house and we took turns going through each scenario, hungrily unlocking more and more, always eager to see what was next. By the way, the game is currently in my possession, and my friend will get it back when I either complete the last mini-game or he gives me back my SNES, whichever comes first (both seem highly unlikely).
Yes, this screen was the first mini-game I enjoyed in Rhythm Heaven Fever, and coincidentally how my first date went (everyone should try kicking away a basketball that threatens to squish two weasels who are very much in love with someone they like at least once; it is a lovely couple activity). Being one of the earlier mini-games you play, it isn't too difficult; the soccer ball bounces at a regular beat, the basketball has an off-beat to watch out for, and the football tries to fake you out by bouncing back before bouncing forward again. Timing your A button presses will kick the various balls out of the weasels' way AND impress your date at the same time. What I really liked about this level was the art style and how colorful the stage was, the weasels' jump for joy when you successfully kicked a ball away, and how every time you kicked a football, a random football player in the background would jump to catch it; I actually laughed out loud. These little touches showed me a game that was designed with a lot of heart, and I like moments that bring a smile to my face.
While Rhythm Heaven Fever is INDEED fantabulous, it is evil, evil to its very core. Even before you start playing the real meat of the game, you test your button presses to a visual timer, until some colorful fuckfaces BLOCK YOUR VIEW and you are forced to do the timing in your head. They are trying to teach you this early, because your eyes will not help you later on; in fact, they become a burden. Look at the above video and try to imagine my frustration while doing that particular game. I see the demons coming, and all of a sudden a story pops up about a girl losing her pinwheel toy thing, and I scream and get distracted and lose my flow and start fucking up. Rhythm Heaven Fever is not nice; it WANTS you to fail. If you are like me and love getting medals or some type of reward for doing good (the game randomly picks certain levels you have completed to give you a shot at a medal, but you can't fuck up and only have three tries), then games like Samurai Slice will end you and force you to crawl into the fetal position. What you have to learn is the rhythm is not about the visual; it is about the sound, the FEEL of the beat. There are a number of mini-games you will play that you will have an easier time with if you close your eyes. It might seem crazy at first, but if you give it time, you will learn to go by audio and pulses. While it was maddening at times, I grew to appreciate this approach to teaching rhythm, because in reality, rhythm is all about feeling the beat (and you can always enjoy the game's visuals while watching someone else play, laughing at their attempts to concentrate on getting another perfect run for a medal, and watching them excuse themselves to go to the bathroom so they can hide their shame).
What I like the most about Rhythm Heaven Fever is its lasting appeal and replayability. It's always fun trying to go for every medal in the game, perfecting your rhythm, timing various button presses and holds (and it's always hitting A or A + B or holding A + B; it is never overly complicated and I love its simplicity). I love playing badminton in the sky with a flying cat and dog or flexing for the press as a Mexican wrestler (to this day, I will sometimes randomly look at my friends and shout, "POSE FOR THE FANS!" or "BA BUM BUM BUM!"). I adore the remixes, where you play little snippets of previous mini-games (sometimes to original tunes!); these remixes are the true test of your mastery of the beat, and the final one requires you to use everything you have learned, because it contains pieces of EVERY MINI-GAME. And you can always enjoy trying out the endless games and seeing how far you get, or play the co-op ones with a friend and achieve PERFECT SYNCHRONIZATION (I only wish there were more offered). My favorite gaming moment of 2012 was made up of many small ones, and the variety and pleasure they offered made me more happy than any one, singular, grandiose game ever could.view gallery (4 photos)