With the release of such milestone games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, the music game industry has boomed with hits and knockoffs. But for the user who doesn't already own a console and wants to join in on the dancing and singing fun, picking the best console for music gaming can be intimidating. The major contenders for consoles are the Wii, the PlayStation, and the Xbox. These consoles are the most popular and most widely available, and just about every major gaming company releases their games in different versions so they can be played on these devices and more.
Before rushing out to buy a console, however, there are five tips the shopper should know before purchasing. These include the basic types of music games available, the specific titles one wishes to consider, the pros and cons of each gaming console, the possibility of using one's personal computer (PC) as an alternative to purchasing a console; and the option of using handheld consoles rather than just larger consoles that must be hooked up to a TV. To start quickly and easily searching for games and consoles, the consumer can turn to eBay, where games for every console, as well as the consoles themselves, are available.
Know Types of Music Games
There are a variety of types of music games: for example, music-making, composing, performing, and managing. Within these types are various sub-types; some contain differences that go beyond having a linear or non-linear story. So the first step is for the gamer to choose a type of game, which allows the further fine-tuning of choices down the road.
Sight-reading music games differentiate into rhythm, pitch, and volume games. Examples of rhythm games are Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. These games request that the player push (or step on), a certain button in sync with the music. Though fairly simplistic, rhythm games are popular and can become addicting. Pitch games include often utilise karaoke and require that one matches the pitch of music played in the game. Special microphones made for the game score the accuracy of the player's pitch, and the score is represented on the screen. Finally, volume games, the rarest type of sight-reading or even music games in general, obviously depend on volume to get a good score. Volume does not always need to come from the player's voice; some games allow for the high volume to be achieved through pressing buttons at the right pace and pressure, or, in the case of Wii games, by holding the Wii remote at the correct angle.
Eidetic music games are essentially music memorisation games; these are different from sight-reading games in that they have a series of prompts and responses that are needed for the level or game to be finished successfully. Eidetic games are usually featured in mini-games due to their simplicity.
Music management games can be accurately compared to sports management games, such as Madden NFL, except with music careers rather than football. These games focus on scheduling, producing, and promoting music stars, or else the creation of music videos. Additionally, 'free form' music games allow players can create music in games such as SimTunes or Wii Music.
Decide Which Game Titles You Want
Having learned the basic game types, the user now knows whether his or her preference is for a sight-reading, eidetic, management, or creation music game. From there, one moves on to choosing specific titles: for example, Rock Band or DDR. Discussed below are some of the most popular music games, representing some of the main categories.
Released in 2005, Guitar Hero is the ideal example of a rhythm-based sight-reading music game, and a very successful one at that. Such was its popularity that several spin-off games have been released, as well as sequels: Guitar Hero: Van Halen; GH: Aerosmith; GH: Metallica; GH: World Tour, and more. This game has the player using a guitar-shaped controller with coloured fret buttons, a strummer to hit the notes, and often a whammy bar to add extra points. The player can choose to play either lead guitar or bass. Guitar Hero supports single and multiplayer, so gamers can also face off each other and display their guitar skills. Players can also play through a Career mode in order to master all the songs in the game in a certain order.
DJ Hero is a spin-off of Guitar Hero that lets the player use a turntable to create new music from pre-recorded songs using record players and sound effect generators. Another good example of a rhythm game, DJ Hero also includes multiplayer and Career modes.
Rock Band (released in 2007) is similar to Guitar Hero, except it allows players to play not only guitar, but bass, drums, and also sing lead vocals. Because of these expansions, Rock Band can be qualified as either a rhythm game or a pitch game, depending on what instrument one is playing.
Three of the most popular dance games include the following: Dance Dance Revolution, In the Groove, and Just Dance. DDR was the first of its kind, and redefined the music game genre. Demanding that players use their feet to hit the arrows corresponding on the screen by standing on a pad with arrows on it, DDR can be played in single or dual player mode. Very similar to DDR, ITG uses the same concept of having players stepping in time on a pad that has arrows. ITG offers dance mode, marathon mode, battle mode (for multiplayer), and survival mode.
Know the Main Consoles
When considering consoles, it is important for the music gamer to familiarise him- or herself on the pros and cons of each. However, there is no true 'best' console specifically for music gaming. One console may have better graphics than another, but for the most part, there are few differences between consoles with regard to music gaming. Ultimately it comes down to the user's individual gaming preference.
The Xbox 360, released in 2010, is the most popular in the Xbox series, and better selling than the PlayStation 3. The Xbox has an easy-to-use interface, an expansive and fun online community (including Xbox Live, which allows players to add, message, and play with friends), and players who like full-body motion control, courtesy of the Xbox Kinect. The Kinect can be extremely useful and fun to use with workout or dance games, as it tracks all the player's movements. Additionally, the Xbox consistently has better graphics in its games than in its PlayStation components.
The newest version of the Xbox console is the Xbox One, which is considered one of the top of the line consoles in the gaming world.
Though it lacks somewhat in the online community department, PlayStation has been very successful with its latest release, the PlayStation 3 . Boasting 3D compatibility with not just games but movies as well, the PS3 can be used to connect with a variety of media outlets, and to watch DVDs and Blu-rays, or listen to music. The PlayStation Move can also be purchased, which offers precision control and adds HD graphics.
The Wii was very popular when it first came out; it was a console that was ideal for non-hardcore gamers who wanted light, entertaining fun. Unfortunately, there is not much revenue to be had from casual gamers, which may be why it seems that the era of the Wii is starting to fade. Because of this, it is recommended that the user not purchase a Wii if he or she only wants it in anticipation of new Wii music games: most likely, there are very few new Wii games at all in the coming years, and to spend money hoping that some good music games arereleased is not an economically sound choice.
The Wii is still fun, however, and is ideal for young children just starting to use video games, for families, and for fans of classic Nintendo games. The Wii does not have state-of-the-art graphics, does not include a huge online community, and does not have many titles aimed at adults.
Don't Forget about Your PC
PC gaming has enjoyed a steady rise ever since the 80s, and is gaining even more popularity now with the onslaught on massive-multiplayer-online (MMO) gaming. Many games that are available on Xbox and the like have versions for PCs, such as Guitar Hero. Since many people already own a computer, this is an ideal choice for the consumer who is interested in being a casual gamer but doesn't want to make the larger investment of a console.
Consider Handheld Consoles
Handheld consoles have had just as much development and growth as normal, home video game consoles, despite their later start. Currently, popular consoles include the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. These consoles are also compatible with music games, with a portable version of Guitar Hero available for the Nintendo DS series. Handheld consoles have the advantage of being portable, and are often less expensive than home game consoles. A step up from the PC, handhelds let the user experiment with consoles that can play music games without spending too much money.
How to Buy Consoles for Music Games on eBay
To start shopping on eBay, first go to the eBay home page. From there, you can type in a series of keywords that relate to your search into the search bar, for example, ' Xbox 360'. Then, to narrow down the amount of results to look through, you can select specific categories that you would like to search by, such as colour, hard drive capacity, condition, price, and more.
By using PayPal, eBay's secure method of payment, you can be sure that your money is handled safely and that it gets to the seller as soon as you need to pay, without your personal information being at risk. Additionally, eBay has a 'Top-Rated Seller' system that spotlights trustworthy sellers by putting a 'Top-Rated Seller' badge on their personal page as well as on the pages of the items that they are selling. A seller is awarded this badge by receiving consistently positive reviews from previous buyers and by meeting certain selling quotas set by eBay.
If one has not yet started getting into and being knowledgeable about music games, now is the time. Having overtaken sports as the No. 2 category for video games (as of 2008), the popularity of this branch of gaming has soared. This popularity ensures that gaming companies continue to release new and improved dancing, managing, creating, and performing music games.
The video game industry has also begun to expand its target audience from young males to females, who make up the majority of those who play music video games. With new music-game ideas and this new demographic, as well as an increase in the amount of homes that own game consoles (the number fluctuates between 32 and 40 per cent), the music game industry and the video game system itself is bound to continue surprising gamers with new technology and games. After looking through these important tips, the user should be fully prepared to start buying, and he or she can start on eBay to find great deals on consoles and games.