With pop-rock games Guitar Hero and SingStar certified success stories, and Rock Band generating plastic instrument lust, MTV's Stephen Totilo looks at the chances we'll see a "Hip Hop Hero" emerge. He speaks to Harmonix's Alex Rigopolous and Get On Da Mic developer Denis Lacasse of Artificial Mind and Movement about the lack of hip hop games that involve actual rhyming and turntable skills.Sure, there's plenty of rhymes in Sony's PaRappa the Rapper and even SingStar flirts with a smattering of commercial hip hop. There are also no lack of video games starring mainstream rappers, as anything that starts with Def Jam features nothing but.
But what about the games that measure rhyming skill? The one's that do it better than Get On Da Mic? And turntabling?
Totilo unfortunately misses out on two games that do require some semblance of turntable skills, Sega's arcade game Crackin' DJ—successful enough to warrant a sequel—and Konami's Beatmania. While the latter may be strictly for the button-slapping Bemani set, you'd have a hard time denying Crackin' DJ's close approximation of real life turntable and fader dexterity. Both, however, are typically relegated to Japanese and extremely rare Western arcades.
Maybe some Western developer will be up to the challenge of tailoring Crackin' DJ's arcade experience for console gamer tastes, as Harmonix did with Konami's Guitar Freaks.
It's an interesting game design challenge and fascinating to hear accomplished developers speak on the subject. Online rap battles would certainly make for interesting gameplay, especially if digital DJs are involved.
At least we'll always have Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style.
Where's 'Hip-Hop Hero'? [MTV's GameFile]