Hardcore gamers are split on "Wii Music."
It's not "Rock Band" or "Guitar Hero" -- it's something entirely different. Given the accessibility of "Wii Music," however, it seems especially designed to engage the younger crowd.
A few weeks ago, I was speaking with Nintendo Treehouse employee JC Rodrigo, who was demoing "Wii Music" all day. He'd recently attended the Austin City Limits music festival in Texas and spent several hours with kids checking out "Wii Music."
What kind of music did kids create with their Wiimotes?
"We had a lot of kids come in with the artists," said Rodrigo. "When their kids came in, I started playing with their kids. They would play simple stuff, like they would be able to recognize and associate what a piano sounds like and how to play the piano because of the tactile response you get from shaking your hands up and down as if you're hitting keys. [It clicked because of the] imaginary idea that gets transcribed into actual sound and a result on screen that they can visually see and hear."
Rodrigo said kids were a little apprehensive at first, simply because they didn't know what they were supposed to be doing. "Wii Music" wasn't like the other music games they'd played. There were no colored buttons.
"Some kids kept asking me, 'What do I have to do'? And then I asked them in return, 'What do you want to do?'"
"Some kids kept asking me, 'What do I have to do?'" he explained. "And then I asked them in return, 'What do you want to do?' And then they said, 'I want to play this!' Then they started playing and I'm like 'yeah, go ahead, let's go!' And I was playing with them. So kids would [be] very easily playing with adults and they could contribute on this ridiculously even level."
Even though the kids often drifted to instruments with the most immediate feedback at first-- like the piano -- they quickly adapted to everything else "Wii Music" offered. As he played with the kids, Rodrigo saw something very special in these moments.
"Their contributions to the song are just as important as mine or anybody else's contributions," he said. "Being able to put me and these kids together and anyone else, any adult, any child and be able to contribute to the gift of music is just unheard of."
"It was pretty astonishing," he concluded. "Kids are bright."
Anyone here have kids? Do you think they'll like "Wii Music"?