Filed At MTV News: Why A Rap Version Of “Guitar Hero” And “Rock Band” Hasn’t Made It Big — Yet

Music games, music games: “Rock Band,” “SingStar,” “Guitar Hero,” “Jam Sessions,” “DDR,” “Elite Beat Agents,” “Hannah Montana.”

They’re everywhere.

Rap music games? They’re … nowhere.

How can the video game genre that first broke big with “PaRappa The Rapper” be almost completely devoid of rap games? Why isn’t there a “Turntable Hero” or a “Rap Band“? (Don’t get me started on “Beatmania,” which was mostly techno.) What has there been of late, except for “Get On Da Mic” three years ago?

I need answers and have been asking top music game creators what the problem is, at least from the creative side of things. The makers of “SingStar” and “Guitar Hero III” couldn’t weigh in in time for my GameFile column today, but people behind “Rock Band,” “Get On Da Mic” and “PaRappa” did. Check it out at the link.

Here’s an excerpted quote from producer Denis Lacasse at “Get On Da Mic” studio Artifical Mind and Movement :

“The main difficulty was the display of the lyrics onscreen. Rap music tends to have a lot of words per second, a lot more than rock or pop. We needed to display the lyrics quickly enough to follow the beat but also so that the players can read them.”

And here’s a comment from Alex Rigopulos, CEO of Harmonix developer “Rock Band”:

“Most people are pretty self-conscious about even trying to rap in front of other people. That’s a pretty significant barrier.”

Everyone I talked to thinks it’s just a matter of time before there’s a hit rapping game. But it sure sounds like there are some big problems to solve first. There’s plenty more about this in the column.