Rhythm-based games are now more popular than ever, thanks to franchises like Guitar Hero and the recently announced Rock Band from Harmonix. But they can all be traced back to a game released on the PlayStation more than 10 years ago--PaRappa the Rapper, widely considered to be the first modern rhythm game. PaRappa creator Masaya Matsuura from NanaOn-sha says he is excited that games like Guitar Hero are finally making it big in the West but says too many violent games are still being made.
Matsuura, one of the keynote speakers at last weekend's GO3 Conference held in Perth, Australia, says the future of the game industry is dependent on developers creating more accessible games, like the Guitar Hero series. The Japanese developer says violent games will not attract new entrants to gaming and praised companies like Nintendo for targeting nontraditional gamers.
"Making good games that everybody can play is a very high priority for the game industry, because if we make games like X-rated videos, the industry won't grow," Matsuura said in an interview with GameSpot AU. "Nintendo is very smart to appeal to a much wider group of people because it is what's required now."
Matsuura said that while rhythm games are all the rage in Western nations like the US and Australia, the genre was becoming stale in his homeland of Japan. Matsuura said a lack of new rhythm game concepts and the widespread use of flat display screens in Japan were the root causes behind the decline.
"It's very difficult to make brand-new systems for music-based games that involve more than just pressing buttons according to rhythm. Of course, we've tried several already, but unfortunately some of them are not successful," he said. "Another reason--it's a tiny reason but an important one--in Japan, everyone is buying flat displays. Flat displays have a delay, but sound doesn't delay. I have had the chance to speak with several LCD companies like Sharp, and they say that very expensive displays are quick. but if you buy a cheaper one the display is a little delayed when it comes to audio."
Matsuura said the onus was on both musicians and developers to work more closely with each other to produce the next generation of rhythm games.
"Contemporary musicians have to think about various alternatives to audio. Many smart musicians unfortunately are not aware--yet--of these kinds of possibilities to collaborate with game creators or the game industry. On the other hand, musicians are also very conservative--they want to do things themselves. So the game industry should approach them--it might be easier," he said.