NEWSFLASH: Wii Music has the most accessible song list in the history of music games. Probably. I’m not in the loop when it comes to what karaoke games are out there, but I still feel pretty confident. The fact itself is hardly surprising, and Nintendo already held the previous record with Elite Beat Agents. The game actually shares a couple songs with EBA, and I prefer to think that Nintendo is so cheap it took advantage of some sort of two-for-one deal that let it use those tracks at a discount.
So it’s not that big a news item, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens if the game takes off. Music games are already pretty popular, but there’s a few underlying assumptions within the genre about what kind of music you can put in them. People go on about how Harmonix is so adept at choosing songs with interesting arrangement and instrumentation, but that’s actually a constraint on what tracks are going to show up in the game. There’s only one way to play a song correctly in Rock Band (depending on how you look at it) and if that way isn’t interesting, the song’s of no worth to the game. A play-along game like Wii Music doesn’t really care about that because it doesn’t really care about how you play a song.
It just might affect the way songs are chosen for these kinds of games. As it stands, depending on what sort of metaphor you wrap your game mechanics in, you choose the kinds of songs that lend themselves to such a play style. There’s “DDR songs” and “Guitar Hero songs” based on the demands each game has for the music they employ. A game like EBA has less stringent requirements for its songs based on its more accommodating mechanics, and the free-form style of Wii Music is the most accommodating of all. In the future, music games could start employing songs not because they’re good music game songs, but simply because they’re good songs. Not that “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is a good song, but hopefully you see where I’m going with this.
And hey, the game’s got “Sukiyaki.” That song’s badass.