Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hiphop Video Games: Flow

If you can't keep up with the rhythm to most hiphop songs, you have no need to worry - there's a game for that.

In 2005, Ubisoft released the game "Flow: Urban Dance Uprising," a b-boy flavored DDR video game full of hiphop tracks and breakbeats. Using your Dance Pad, PS2 controller, or even an EyeToy Camera, you have the ability control the guy or gal breaking for points for more songs, costumes, territory, and ultimately respect.

If only it really felt that way.

Don't get me wrong! The tracks selected for this game were great, including Kurtis Blow, Rakim, and the Sugar Hill Gang. Although they were the typical breaking/break dancing/b-boying/b-girling (whatever you call it; I'll explain that later though) songs that no hiphop head could not dance to, the developers in charge of the music could have dove a lot deeper in the crates for better hiphop records. I expected more breakbeats and got a lot of mixes from different styles of DJing from all over the world. Even though it's a good thing to hear hiphop mixes from other countries, the game should have kept the soundtrack filled with original breakbeats that b-boys and b-girls first fell in love with.

Another problem I had with the game was the simplicity of the dance moves. I know we're not all breakers; most of us can barely dance, let alone break dance! Even beyond all that, I would've thought we would have more control than step left, right, up and down. I really thought I was going to get to use my hand for this game, like breakers usually do with their footwork, but was heavily disappointed when I only got four ways to move. The closest the game got to the footwork in breaking was the top-rock, where breakers use their feet to bust moves as well as their hands to taunt the opponent and add dance moves. I wanted to at least try a handstand or spin, or, in all honesty, hurt myself after several attempts.

The good news is the dance moves for Flow aren't as easy as normal DDR games. Even the "easy" setting is pretty difficult for people who aren't good at moving their feet. This game is for those who are naturally loose when they dance. If you are stiff when you dance, this game will be a challenge for a long time.

The overall problem with this game was the lack of connection between the art and culture of breaking and video gaming. There were plenty of opportunities where the developers could have made gamers feel like they are really breaking but fell short. From the music to the controls, there was only a small taste of a simulation of breaking. More beats, movements and options would've given gamers a better experience of hiphop, especially if they want a more physical experience. Thanks to the lack of development (and what I am assuming is also lack of research), the game was ultimately too simple to flow with hiphop.

No comments:

Post a Comment