Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
29 June 2007
Ouendan Impressions
When I close my eyes, I see concentric circles. I'm not joking. They form incredible patterns, and they instruct me to perform a variety of tasks. They're my version of the Terminator's HUD. I worry that they will start appearing when my eyes are open, and this will be evidence that the inevitable has finally happened and a lifetime of gaming has caused me to snap and become barmy. At which point, I'll probably embark on a majestic killing spree and blame it all on Rockstar. The real culprit, however, is the culminated trinity of Ouendan, Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan 2. I know I'm capable of all this, too, because when I'm playing these games I'm often reduced to such a state of pure, unprecedented anger that if somebody were to accidentally walk into the room, ruining my state of Zen-like concentration on the rhythmic delights unfolding on both of my DS's screens, that I'd instantly leap out of my chair and slash their jugular open with the stylus.

I've been working a lot, lately. It pays the bills and funds my drive to buy loads of shiny discs that come in plastic cases. But I've been left in a state of having no time to spare; certainly devoid of the time required to enjoy the shiny plastic discs. However, throughout this period, Ouendan survived. I'd take it with me everywhere, including the kitchen and toilet. It would somehow find its way out of my pocket whenever my girlfriend turned her head, granting me a precious few seconds to tap away at some of the circles before quickly shutting the DS and getting back to my domestic duties. Okay, I'm lying. Like I'd ever have a girlfriend. And like Ouendan is a portable game.

It's ironic, perhaps, that the game that attracts the most fanaticism on the DS is the least portable game ever made available on a portable system. To play it properly you need to have the DS unfolded on a table, while you're sitting in a chair. Sure, you can probably complete the levels holding the DS in your hand, but you're really going to have to be sitting at a table to get great scores. And great scores is what Ouendan is all about. The idea of playing it in a car, or on a train, is more ludicrous than the suggestion that Microsoft are going to do something to rectify the fact that a nasty gust of wind can render a 360 inoperable.

JVM once told me that rhythm games weren't really his cup of tea. His opinions on stuff like DJ Portable Max are entirely correct. You really do have to have slightly masochistic tendencies to enjoy stuff like Ouendan. The game taps into your aggression about six seconds after you switch the DS on. Give Ouendan to Bruce Banner and you'd lose most of the west coast within an hour. The learning curve is high, but if you persevere - and seeing as I'm quite masochistic, I am persevering - the rewards are satisfying. After aggression comes a release of euphoria, this joyous sensation taking you to a dizzy height of circular triumph that leaves all the other games looking like childish distractions. If you're a glutton for punishment and love overcoming adversity, Ouendan is a delight.
--Martin at 00:32
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