Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wii Music

My business partner and I decided we needed a little time away from our normal thinking and conversations. So, we got together and tried out Wii MUSIC. I was pretty excited to give it try for many reasons. One, I have not used Wii before -- I know - where have I been? The second reason is that I want to understand who our competitors are (we run viaAcademies). We have a pretty wide view of who are competitors are. After all, a narrow view can catch any organization, company or school off guard. So, I felt it was important to learn what we could learn -- and have some fun. Third, even if we felt Wii MUSIC was not really a competitor, someone, somewhere, at some meeting will ask, "So, how do you compare to Wii MUSIC?", or "What do you think of Wii MUSIC?"

This video is pretty funny - shows how connected you can get with the Mii Performers!

With that many reasons to check it out, so we did. Now, let me start by saying I was a bit skeptical of the value of the game. After a few minutes though, the game was fun. We spent most of our time playing the piano, violin, chord (a trumpet like instrument that plays chords, like a trio of brass instruments would add chordal harmony), drum set and a few others. We must have heard Twinkle Twinkle Little Star a thousand times, but it remained pretty fun (funny really). After laying down our own instrument lines for each, the three of us (including my wife and music teacher) made our recordings and watched the final video.

The theory section is actually really nice. The game includes pitch matching (like timbre), pitch matching (unlike timbre), high and low pitch recognition, mistake recognition (in a unison ensemble -- this is not all that easy at first), chord recognition (M, min, dim., etc), and reconstructing melodies in time and pitch). We made it through level 4 before we decided to hang it up for the night (4 more levels were possible).

While we did not exhaust the game in one night, we did find it fun and educational to a point. If anything, the theory section is pretty hard for someone with little to no background. The fun factor should keep users coming back, both young and old. I look forward to diving in a bit more. I give it 3 thumbs up out of 5. The only thing I think it lacks is a clarity of purpose around the game. It seems not so defined in what the goals are, leaving the user to "pop around" and discover on their own. The other VERY annoying aspect is the host. He reads the screen in a made up language that is repetitive and non-sense. I could do without his gibberish.

I am planning a test with a younger user base. More as I know it.