Laptop Studio — Music software reviews, news and info for computer music

10 January 2006

Electroplankton for Nintendo DS

Filed under: Music software at 7:28 pm (4 comments)

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.

  1. I own electroplankton, and calling it music making software is like calling a hut made out of mud new york city. This same game description has been posted on other sites, and I bought it thinking I was in for a new musical experience. Whoever wrote that description, and dared use phrases such as “score music” (which by the way is pure false advertising) and “engrossing beats and harmonies”, obviously doesn’t know anything about the word music, or hopes that any who read the article are under the age of 6. By engrossing beats, it means a small group of cheap premade beats that you have no control over whatsoever, with nintendo ds sound quality, that automatically play with 1 of the 10 electroplankton. Some of the other electroplankton consist of dragging ur stylus to play random notes with no real controllable rhythm. The only electroplankton that gives u any sort of control over making a song ( because it is literally impossible to make a “song” with any other electrplankton), is hanenbow, which is a group of leaves being hit with plankton that u launch out, and the pitch of the sound(a sound u cannot change) is controlled by where the plankton hits the stem of a leaf. It’s creative, but only a fool would actually consider electroplankton “music making software”. It’s a shallow toy, and anybody who produces music in real life would have nothing to do with this after 10 minutes.

    Matt on 10 July 2006 at 2:14 pm

  2. Hi everyone.
    With the launch of the Nintendo Wii just around the corner, will you purchase one?
    If so, what are you most looking forward to about the system?

    Rodrigo on 22 November 2006 at 7:03 am

  3. […] More: continued here […]

    Software Evolution » Blog Archive » Electroplankton for Nintendo DS on 1 August 2007 at 2:31 pm

  4. The first comment is wrong. His misunderstanding of the software before he bought it was about as quick as a rock. The Electroplankton website has a perfect demo online demostrating what each plankton does. Electroplankton is an instrument. There is no question of this. However, it’s scales and note banks are all locked down but very friendly. In an ideal world we would have access to change the actual notes available in the ‘pools’. Maybe this will be hacked by some homebrewsters tho.

    Check out Toshio Iwai’s Tenori-On being manufactured by Yamaha. It shares some of the same prinicpals but is hardware based and entirely customizable.

    aaron on 27 November 2007 at 3:02 am

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