Monday, November 12, 2007


So I just bought the $5, Harmonix-developed iPod game, Phase, and I'm highly recommending it to all fellow 5th gen and up iPod owners. Harmonix being the developers of the original Guitar Hero 1 and 2 games, as well the upcoming peripheral extravaganza, Rock Band. To be honest, it's not really fair to compare it to any of its console siblings. I'd view it more as a cell phone game, since it's relatively cheap and simple. The gameplay basically consists of hitting 3 buttons (rewind, center select button, fast-forward) in time with the constant scroll of dots, while also sweeping your fingers along the scroll wheel to follow any series of dashes. It's not really different than any other rhythm game out there. But where Phase really shines and where it will likely earn it's replay value is its ability to play any song you own.

Yes that's right, you can convert any song on your ipod to work with this game and it'll automatically generate the proper hit patterns. That said, I'm sure some genres of music may work better than others. Fast-paced dance mixes and techno J-Pop songs come to mind as ones that might make for some challenging hit patterns. I've already taken the liberty of playing some Guitar Hero classics (eg: "More Than A Feeling".. my personal favorite guitar hero song). I also couldn't resist playing some Ouendan and Elite Beat Agent songs, to see if the DS-tapping games translated well. Keep in mind, the game does come preloaded with some 7 decent songs already.

I just love the idea that any song I want is available for this game. I really hope this is where the future of rhythm games is taking us. Imagine if you could convert any song you own to play with a guitar, drum set, piano, or even karaoke machine. You never have to buy any new songs, because that's a library you have full control over. Buy once, play anywhere. That's the system we need to adopt. Instead, we've got music stores that only play on a limited number of players. Movies that aren't easily made portable, or worse, you're forced to buy multiple versions. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Update: I noticed that there might be a issue with this game if you use multiple computers to update your iPod's content. The game can only be installed by syncing all your games from one PC/Mac and it creates a special playlist called "Phase Music". However, if you manually modify any of your iPod playlists on a different computer, the game won't run at all and you'll need to reinstall it using the original computer. It's unfortunate and hopefully this bug will be fixed soon. This could be why Apple is reluctant to allow third-party apps on the iPhone.

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