"working on my faults and cracks..."

6.04.2008

spank them bottoms


!!
"You want me to do what?"


If I told you that I just pissed away two months on my PSP with a strategy RPG wherein...

PATA PATA PATA PON

...I was interrupted roughly every three seconds...

PATA PATA PATA PON

...to input a short rhythm sequence...

PATA PATA PATA PON

...as the basis of all movement...

PATA PATA PATA PON

...combat...

PON PON PATA PON

...defense...

CHAKA CHAKA PATA PON

...and strategy,

PON PON CHAKA CHAKA

to command an army of militant eyeballs in their quest to seek out their great "It," of legend, you would probably think Japan had finally gotten the better of my unrivaled common sense.

Having been previously intrigued, I picked up Patapon before going to Hawaii, hoping the whimsical artwork would carry me over on the flight, and through the game--regardless of how good or bad it actually turned out to be. However, I was blown away by how well the art complimented this obtrusive-on-paper rhythm concept. The combination of witty scripting, cutesy French nursery school art, and carefully cultivated RPG/strategy elements, wrapped in an addictive rhythmic shell shouldn't work. But it does. And not only does it work, it works leagues better than any dedicated rhythm game that operates without fancy add-on gimmicks (like Frequency or Space Channel).

For two months, I tweaked weapon and armor loadouts, swapped out melee and range troops, tapped my feet to the same five beats, and cursed loudly at my obtuse little Patapon nearly every step of the way. And I fucking loved it. While the tune may have ultimately driven others to insanity's brink, I lovingly hummed "pata pata pata pon" in the bathroom, on the train, at my desk, and inserted it into inappropriate places in formal conversation, just because I could. Well, the game finally came to a bittersweet close last night--my Patapon having found their beloved "It."
If you had told me back in March that I would soon piss away the next two years of my life screaming at spear-wielding eyeballs and ending sentences with "-pon," I would have politely asked you to lay off the LSD.

I only share this story with you because people need to know that video games are more than testosterone-laced shooters on the 360, or the shovelfuls of non-games that seem to be so popular on the Wii (not a legitimate gaming platform, by the way. Stop kidding yourself). Games like Patapon justify the medium, by facilitating more than just passive entertainment. They provide an immersive, alternate experience bigger than the game itself, and blur the highly debated lines between art and interactivity.

This is why video games exist.

1 contributions to this piece:

Zach B. said...

I read an article in GameInformer similar to your closing remarks. Nicely done. Haven't had a portable system since the gameboy advance, and even then I never picked up the all holy Pokemon series. Regardless, woo hoo for Patapon!

If you'll excuse me, I'ma go run over the old and the slow in GTA4 >:D

 
Copyright 2010 - Powered by Blogger - Header Image: Banksy at Sundance