Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My (only) favorite video game

My (only) favorite video game

Today I'm going to talk about video games. I'm not a fan of them, to be honest. I know that gaming is a way of life for some people, but for me, it's something to do at a party for five minutes before deciding I'm too drunk or not drunk enough. However, I do have a game that I love and can play for hours on end. That game is Amplitude.

Amplitude was released in 2003 for the PS2 by Harmonix, the company that brought you Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Amplitude could be probably considered the godfather of those two latter games, as it was one of the first “rhythm games” alongside UmJammer Lammy (another one of the handful of games I'm not automatically frustrated by). It didn't get a positive reception in the US and is mostly forgotten about today, though it did do pretty well in Europe.

The gameplay is a little difficult to explain. The official plot of Amplitude is that you are a DJ of the fuuuuuture, and your Beat Blaster space ship is fueled by the music you blast. Need a better explanation? Amplitude is like Guitar Hero, except instead of playing the guitar part, you have to play each part of the song – drums, guitar, bass, vocals, turntable, keyboard - in two-bar phrases. Unlike Rock Band, you have to toggle between each part and play them ALL. Sounds complicated, but that's most of the appeal. Here's a video for all my fellow visual learners that probably explains it better:

Like Guitar Hero, this game has the points multiplier as a reward for not missing a beat. It also has lots of nifty bonus helpers, like Autoblaster (blasts a track away without penalizing you) and Score Doubler (doubles your points, especially helpful when you have points multipliers stacked up). My favorite is Slo-Mo, which slows down the song for a few seconds.

What I like best about the game is that unlike Guitar Hero, it has a variety of music genres. It's chock full of electronica and techno but also features rap, rock, and pop. The game introduced me to a lot of cool new music, like the electropop band freezepop and Icelandic hip-hop group Quarashi. Even bands I don't normally dig like Slipknot are fun in this game. (In fact *shameface* the Slipknot level is one of my favorites.)

To wrap up my long-winded ode, you should definitely check this out if you have a PS2/3. You can find the game used for under $10 at Game Stop.

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