I never used to watch TV on a regular basis and I never played video games, but while I’m discussing my slow, sad intellectual decline here are two more things I’m enjoying:

HomestarRunner.com. This site is really well done and uses Flash very thoughtfully. I also find it hilarious. Check out the welcome speech and read some of the Strong Bad Emails. I found the site through Joss Whedon who wore a Strong Bad shirt in a widely-circulated photo and included Trogdor the Burninator (intro, video game) in the final Buffy episode.

DrumMania [jp] (English review). There appears to be very little in English on the Web about this Japanese game, but it works like this. You have a controller with five different pads on it and two drum sticks.

You select a song and it plays the music along with a graphical representation of the upcoming drum pieces (focus on the left side). Now is the yellow bar, the future stretches upwards (to maintain this, everything thing scrolls down). When a bar hits the yellow line, you need to hit the corresponding drum pad and the game emits the sound of that drum. It sounds hard, but it’s a lot easier than learning to read music.

The effect is that you get to drum along with the song, and learn how to drum in a very hands-on visceral way. Not only do you get to hear if the drumming sounds right but the game tells you how well you did, and makes you start over if you miss too many things. I love this game because I love making music and I’m pretty good at it, but I could never master reading music or having the discipline to practice. DrumMania makes it really easy and lots of fun.

Apparently the Japanese think so too because there are over 7 editions, each with different music and a reskinned interface. There are also tons of related games like Dance Dance Revolution (dance on a pad to the music; seen in the US a lot), Guitar Freaks (hold down different button combinations and toggle a switch), etc. We have some sort of version that’s combined with Guitar Freaks so we can all play (drums, guitar, and another guitar) to the same song at once. I’m not sure how easy it is to get this game here (we have a Japanese PS2 and the Japanese version of the game that my brothers got) but I’m really enjoying it.

posted June 09, 2003 10:55 AM (Personal) #


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Eldred Petition
Recording Industry v. Deep, John (The Aimster Case)
Guilty Pleasures
Ask Dr. Law: Piercings and the First Amendment
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Specs
The Voice of America
Algorithm for Determining Imagination from Reality
Time for Forward Motion

Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)