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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Wii
PUBLISHER:
Nintendo
DEVELOPER:
Nintendo
GENRE: Music
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
October 21, 2008
ESRB RATING:
Everyone


 Written by David Taylor  on July 29, 2008

Previews: Motion sensitivity to my ears.


Wii Music was one of Nintendo's most prominently advertised titles at this year's E3. The game is another installment of the popular Wii Series, which includes Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Play, and the upcoming Wii Sports Resort. As the title suggests the game revolves around creating music. The player accomplishes this through a combination of movements with the Wii remote and nunchuck. These movements approximate the real-life use of over fifty different musical instruments.



One of the highlights of Nintendo's otherwise underwhelming press conference this year was when Mario/Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage and began playing the saxophone using the Wii remote and nunchuck. As Miyamoto manipulated the controller, his custom Mii (on a large screen behind him) belted out tunes on a saxophone based upon his movements. The presentation concluded with Miyamoto and some of the other Nintendo representatives climbing on stage and playing the original Super Mario Bros. theme song using instruments ranging from the xylophone to trumpets.



Gaming Target got a chance to play Wii Music at Nintendo's booth. The Nintendo representative assisting us confirmed that the game will feature over fifty playable instruments. Although only five songs were available, he assured us that there would be ?a lot? in the final version. The three of us began with the timeless public domain song ?Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.? At this point we had to select our instrument of choice. The instruments included were many of the types you would expect ? guitars, percussion, and brass. The game, however, features an assortment of unique ?instruments? that normally wouldn't be found anywhere near Carnegie Hall. I chose the dog costume in an effort to be as eccentric as possible. This was a man in a dog outfit that barked along to the rhythm.

One notable difference between Wii Music and games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero is that Nintendo's title does not allow the player to fail. The game emphasizes creativity and accessibility over strictly playing the correct note. One can play music at a specific time to create the given song, or freestyle to create his or her own version.



As previously mentioned, each player uses the Wii remote based upon the instrument he or she selects. The trumpet is played by holding it near your face, with the 1 and 2 buttons facing away from you and then pressing these buttons for different sounds. Leaning forward will quiet the trumpet's sound while leaning way back causes the instrument to blare loudly. Alternatively the violin is played by holding the Wii remote near your face and then moving the nunchuck back and forth as if you were sliding a bow across its strings. Perhaps the most unique instrument in terms of the controls is the drums. These are played by tapping the Wii remote and nunchuck like drumsticks. Meanwhile the player rests his or her feet on the Wii balance board, which is used to control the drum pedal. All in all playing the instruments does not take a great deal of skill. As long as the player presses a button, the instrument (or creepy dog-man) will play a note.

The game also allows the user to record videos and send them to people on the player's friends list. These friends can in turn edit the video, putting in their own music, and send it back to the creator. Reportedly the game also will feature a conductor mode similar to the one Shigeru Miyamoto showed off and E3 in 2006. Wii Music supports up to four players simultaneously.

Final Thoughts
We couldn't help but feel underwhelmed by Nintendo's line-up this year. Unfortunately, Wii Music was not an exception. The game is marketed to casual gamers, and it clearly shows. Wii Music is incredibly easy to pick up and play. However, without the challenge of being able to actually lose and the lack of real skill when it comes to the instruments, the game comes off as somewhat boring. Hopefully, Nintendo will prove us all wrong, as they often have in the past, when it releases Wii Music stateside later this year.


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