Sixteen times a second

Hey, look! Hudson’s releasing a new Star Soldier game for Wii — Star Soldier R, I believe it is called. This is great news. Because if there’s one thing the Wii needs more of, it’s overhead shooters from Hudson!

OK, maybe I’m being a little sarcastic.

I am absolutely dead serious (with utmost sincerity) when I tell you that this new Um Jammer Lammy retrospective by bobservo is par excellence, though. I guess that means you should read it.

19 thoughts on “Sixteen times a second

  1. Reminds me that I need to start in on said finger exercises if I hope to stand a chance in Halo 3 multiplayer next month. Goddamn it.

  2. Did the article ignore Gitaroo Man because the writer hadn’t played it or out of recognition that Gitaroo Man is in a league of it’s own and mentioning it will only make the rest of the genre look bad?

  3. I like UmJammer better than Parappa. The songs were better in that hip-hop game, but the music was still hella tight in Lammy. What makes it a better game though, when you freestyle in Parappa, you’re prone to babble things that just don’t make sense unless you’re one of those clever dudes what can string together nasty phrases. In Lammy, you effin’ SHRED, and that’s something it still has over Guitar Hero. That’s maybe the dumbest thing in the world right there.

  4. I didn’t mention Gitaroo-Man because it wouldn’t fit into the article in a sentence other than “Gitaroo-Man also exists and is good.”

    I do think Lammy is a better game than Gitaroo-Man. The games both have the same wacky, feelgood aesthetic, and the music is a teensy bit better in Gitaroo, but Lammy is much more fun to play around with. Aside from a few branching pathways, Gitaroo plays the same every time. I still treasure my copy, though.

    Another thing I forgot to mention (though maybe this is more appropriate for a Parappa article) is that Japan did have a Parappa anime in 2001 that was surprisingly never brought over here — though I guess that’s just evidence of how dead in the water the series is on American shores. Keep in mind this was in the middle of the Great Anime Boom, when ADV brought over the frickin’ Goemon anime series. The Parappa anime does not feature Lammy; she was stripped out in favor of some other generic animal character.

    That made me sad.

  5. Never heard of or played Lammy. But the character designs are so adorable, and you’ve really sold me on the idea of in-game musical improv. Me wants it.

  6. Yeah, they even had an American commercial for the game that featured a car crashing into an above-ground swimming pool. You can’t say that they didn’t try (though the American Parappa commercials were a lot better).

  7. Yeah, God damn! Star Solider is alright. Provided about the only vertical shmuping to be had on the N64 and Gamecube. None too shabby either, all things considered.

    Also, Um Jammer Lammy is not as good a rhythm game as Gitaroo man. I hate to sound all objective when these games are especially inapplicable in that sense, but the gameplay in Gitaroo Man is tighter. Both Parappa and UJL drove me crazy with their shoddy beat detection – there is nothing worse than hitting every note, knowing you’ve hitten every note, and then hearing the music sag and watching the screen droop while the game informs you you’re “rappin awful” or whatever. If Gitaroo Man plays the same every time, it’s because it isn’t random whether or not the beat detection fucks you over. I do not consider this loss of chance-incurred longevity to be a bad thing.

  8. The problems you speak of in Parappa and Lammy I’ve only seen in Parappa 2. NanaOn-Sha ruined the rapping system in that game, making it so someone like me can’t even get a “Cool” ranking on STAGE ONE. Science dictates that this should never happen. There are also lots of other problems with the game that I’ll go over if I ever write about it.

    And I played Lammy all the way through again before doing the write-up, and it seemed as solid as ever to me.

  9. Maybe I was just shit at them, then. It’s strange as I generally do ok at most music games – it’s about the only genre I can just pick up and play pretty well from the outset, at least in comparison to my friends. Something about those games really drove me up the wall, though. They felt unfair. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I actually checked out an FAQ for Parappa, and the author admitted that in his/her opinion the beat detection was slightly haphazard at the best of times, so I had accepted this was common knowledge. Curse you for challenging my comfortable assumptions! In any case, I bought Parappa 2 (for £5, which is about the least a PS2 game other than Oni/Halflife goes for), knowing fully that I would find similar problems, and upon finding them more or less identical I abandoned the series entirely. I’d certainly be interested in hearing your issues with game vs its predecessors.

    Really, though… the whole freestyle aspect of the game was just “hit random notes and hope the game calls it cool”, right? Or was there some underlying logic that I never persevered long enough to appreciate?

  10. From my nonstop playing of Lammy over the years, I’ve deducted that the game judges you mainly (if not completely) on keeping up with the time signature of the song. And the songs are simple enough that most people can do it through foot-tapping or head bobbing. Some people completely get it, but others obviously don’t. I think you have to walk into these games with your brain tuned a certain way.

    I’m not saying Lammy’s system is PERFECT, though. Sometimes I’ll bust out a few crummy licks and the game will let me pass. But in the end, it’s all a matter of math – and if you whittle music down to its roots, that’s what it is.

  11. Oh and don’t judge the series by Parappa 2, especially if you like music games. Parappa 2 is an awful and broken mess. I have no idea what NanaOnSha was thinking when they made this game. Well, besides “We would like some money!”

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