Music

Ouendan / Elite Beat Agents [DS – Beta/Concept]

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At the 2007 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, iNiS Vice President Keiichi Yano described the process which eventually resulted in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. His first inspirations for the game came when he first tried a Nintendo DS handheld, and development on the game began after successfully pitching the concept to Nintendo.

At the conference, he also displayed early concept art for lead Ouendan character Ryūta Ippongi, who originally wore the shirt of his gaku-ran uniform unbuttoned and had a significantly shorter hairstyle. Yano noted that Nintendo was fond of the characters due to their manga-style aesthetic. Yano also displayed an unused Ouendan stage from a prototype build that featured a puppy in danger. The stage concept was ultimately dropped from the final version of the game because the puppy died if the player failed the stage.

Due to the surprisingly high import rate of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Nintendo and iNiS began discussing the possibility of officially exporting the game to other regions. However, as Keiichi Yano, vice president of iNiS and director of the game explained in an interview with 1UP.com, selling the game at retail in Western markets would have been unfeasible due to the game’s innate reliance on Japanese popular music and cultural references. It was due to this fact that when Yano and iNiS began work on the North American version, the black-clad cheerleaders of Ouendan were removed and work began on a replacement.

The first concepts were of a trio of dancers styled after the Village People, before the final decision of a trio of men styled after government agents, using distinctly Western references such as the Ghostbusters, Blues Brothers, Men in Black and Austin Powers series for inspiration. In addition, the concept of the Elite Beat Divas and Commander Kahn directing the Agents would come from Charlie’s Angels. [Info from Wikipedia]

Images from www.dsfanboy.com

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The first video below is from the Beta version of Elite Beat Agents. The EBA beta shows many small differences that weren’t present in the final version of the game. These many things include flames on the bottom of the touch screen for a certain amount of consecutive beats, pink circles for completing song sections, different girls in the car and different transitions used. Some audio differences are also in place. Those include different voices (such as the announcer at the start that says “Mission” and a few sound effects.

Also, Yosher noticed that the second video below includes beta stuff like the agents not waving their arms before the gameplay starts. The same goes for the character in need. The image that pops up of the lead Agent on the bottom screen is also different, and there’s some images on the top screen as well that aren’t there in the final game. Other than that, the Agents animations are entirely different from the final game, almost like those of the Ouendan. This video seems to show the game being in the middle of the translation from Ouendan to Elite Beat Agents.

Thanks to Yosher for the contribution!

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Traxion [PSP – Cancelled]

Traxion was a rhythm game for the PlayStation Portable by British developer Kuju Entertainment. It was scheduled to be released in Q4 2006 by LucasArts, but was cancelled in January 2007. The game was to feature a number of minigames, and would support imported songs from the player’s own library as well as the game’s bundled collection. [Info from Wikipedia]

Original Press Release: Gaming and music combine like never before on your PSP in Traxion — where your tracks drive the action. Loaded with dozens of minigames and a variety of music from leading artists — and fully compatible with every music file on your memory stick — Traxion sucks you in as the music not only provides the soundtrack, but also changes the way the games are played! Imagine the rocking guitar chords of heavy metal, the strong beats of rap, the smooth tones of jazz, or even the crazy pace of polka — all impact gameplay in a different way. Traxion’s unique music analysis tool allows for your favorite tunes to drive the gameplay, resulting in a dazzling visual and sensory experience that is different every time you play. And because you control the music, infinite possibilities for personalized gameplay experiences exist. Change your tune and change your game when Traxion, developed by Kuju Entertainment, releases this fall.

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Johnny Whatever [PS2/XBOX – Cancelled]

“Johnny Whatever is a computer game by Warthog Texas. It started off in development for formats such as the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox, but after the developers were purchased by Tiger Telematics to produce titles for the Gizmondo handheld console, it became Gizmondo exclusive. As Tiger Telematics went bankrupt in February 2006, the status of the title is currently unknown.

The following is an excerpt from a GamesAsylum.com news article, dated 20 July 2004: The Queen has been imprisoned in a vat of mustard, and the only person who can save the day is guitar hero Johnny Whatever. That’s the premise of Johnny Whatever, one of three titles recently announced by Warthog. You attack your enemies, Robo-Bobbies, using your guitar, Nancy. As far as we can gather, the facia buttons fire off chords, and licensed songs form combos, with artists including The Troggs, The White Stripes and The Ramones.” – [Info from Wikipedia]

[Images contribute by Matt Gander from www.gamesasylum.com]

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Sound Fantasy [SNES – Cancelled]

Sound Fantasy is a cancelled video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and its Japanese counterpart, the Super Famicom. Interactive media artist Toshio Iwai designed the game in the early 1990s using concepts from the installation art piece Music Insects, which he created during his time as an Artist in Residence at the San Francisco Exploratorium. However, the finished product was never brought to market by Nintendo for unknown reasons.

Its eccentric concepts and untested game mechanics may have been the main factor in its cancellation; music games, especially on home consoles, were not popular in the early 1990s, and it wouldn’t be until much later in the decade that they gained mainstream attention. A working prototype was found in October 2014 as you can see from the video below.

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Thanks to MathUser & Celine for some of these images!

Sound Fantasy was to come packed-in with the SNES Mouse and mouse pad, and it would arrive in a larger game box to hold its contents similar to Super Nintendo games like Mario Paint and EarthBound. It is speculated that Nintendo chose to use Mario Paint to launch its mouse peripheral in 1992 instead, as that game was endorsed by Mario, one of gaming’s most recognizable mascots.

Toshio Iwai eventually went on to convert his work into the PC game SimTunes in 1996, and many of Sound Fantasy’s unreleased gameplay elements can be found there.

In April 2005, to celebrate the Japanese launch of Toshio Iwai’s latest work, Electroplankton for the Nintendo DS, Nintendo opened an exhibit at Tokyo’s Harajuku Station to focus on the new game and on Iwai himself. Nintendo made available for perusal the box art and manual for Sound Fantasy, but the “lost game” was not made playable there. – [info from Wikipedia]

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Donkey Kong’s Fun With Music [NES – Cancelled]

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Donkey Kong’s Fun With Music was a Sequel in a line of educational video game containing classic Nintendo Characters. These games intended to help kids while still being entertaining. This line of games included Donkey Kong Jr. Math, and Popeye no Eigo Asobi (A game Starring Popeye the sailor in which you learn about American Spelling). This game was canceled for unknown reasons. If you ask me it’s because kids weren’t being entertained.

Thanks a lot to NES World for some of these screenshots! According to the titles on the screen, the songs being played here are I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and “Inu no Omawari-san”, a well-known Japanese children’s song.

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