Electroplankton, the uncategorizable game/sequencer/oddity for the Nintendo DS, is out now in the US. I wrote about it in a previous article about music on handheld game consoles, but now it’s been released outside Japan there’s a bit more English-language information about. Though some of it does sound as if it’s been translated from the Japanese: “It’s tough to slap a label on Electroplankton. It’s not a game, but you play it on a game device. There’s no set purpose to it, but the end result can sweep you up in its charm. Most of all, its innovation sings out loud and true. “
The press release has a pretty good summary: Whether you’re musically inclined or musically impaired, Nintendo’s new Electroplankton will make you a mixing maestro. The musical experience, launching today exclusively for Nintendo DS, lets users score music by using the touch screen or speaking into the microphone. Sounds can be sampled, manipulated, changed and rearranged to help even novices create engrossing beats and harmonies.
Electroplankton exemplifies Nintendo’s commitment to expand the frontier of innovation in the video game universe. Electroplankton, for instance, could not be possible on any other system. Only the special features of Nintendo DS make it possible for users to compose music ranging from techno beats to ethereal rhythms. And because Nintendo DS is portable, users can make music whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.
Getting started with Electroplankton could not be easier. Users simply choose one of 10 music-making modes and dive right in. One mode lets users manipulate the leaves of a plant using the touch screen. As colorful plankton launch into the air, they bounce off the leaves in melodic combinations. Another mode acts as a sampler. Users record up to four different sounds with the microphone and then layer them over drum loops to create a personalized beat.
The game was designed by renowned Japanese electronic artist Toshio Iwai. His artistry adds both beauty and whimsy to Electroplankton and makes it as much a delight for the eyes as it is for the ears.