Wouldn't you know it - turns out the best and deepest game I've played isn't a game at all, but an actual music creation program, licensed by the last people you'd expect to have a decent game come from! MTV Music Generator is without a doubt, the best PSX title ever made, and one that all PS owners with even a passing interest in music and programming should run out and buy- now! Forget all that stuff about waiting for the Playstation 2, or wanting to know what system is the best- this title transcends all of that nonsense, and is even more remarkable for appearing on the almost six year old PS hardware. It's almost impossible to review this software properly, as it holds months, if not years of replay value, but here goes:
Contained on one disc, you get a real MIDI sequencer, along with a very detailed instruction manual that explains how to create your own music. Everything is explained in simple, easy to read text, yet it's all so complicated, that a great deal of consumers just won't have the pure patience to want to continue after a few minutes. But if you stick it out, after a few hours or so of twiddling and saving (which is really important!), you will most likely come up with a real piece of music. YOUR music, and no two users will create the same piece! Think of the possibilities- kids can write up customized tunes for each other, aspiring pop stars can put together tunes to go with those notebooks full of songs in the closet, and just think of the reach of this software as a teaching tool...Playstations in every school in the country! Well, maybe not...
There are thousands of pre-recorded effects, sounds, samples and the like for users to play around with, and even though this would be enough to keep you busy for weeks- you can take these and rearrange them in any way you like! You can also sample up to 40 seconds from any CD, and use them in your song (thus becoming Puff Daddy Lite), but just remember to pay those royalties off, if you end up with a smash hit! You can even create a rock song note by note, or take a simple riff, add effects, and drop in whatever, for a new techno classic! I spent the first hour with the game reading the manual, and the next six playing around with assorted samples, cutting, pasting, mixing and remixing, until i got a really cool dance tune. The game has a really simple to use interface, with large icons representing the type of effect you choose, although it takes a few trips to the help menu to understand what's going on. As I said above, saving stuff you create as you work is of prime importance, as it's too easy to get caught up in the actual mechanics of the using the software, and accidentely delete a song (I did this, and it's no fun!).
There are a couple of other modes to explore- you can create videos to go along with your tunes, or pop in any music CD, and watch some really trippy visuals, as the Music Generator pumps them out, in realtime! I figure a lot of folks will use this feature the most, since a lot of older PS units don't have the Baby Universe software built in (like the 7001-7501series), and you can play the same song over dozens of times, seeing something different each time! There's also a really cool Music Jam mode, in which up to 4 players (via multi-tap) can go at it in a jam royale, to come up with the best block-rockin' beats. You can even record your future masterpiece for posterity- just remember to have a couple of blank memory cards handy! Just about every button the controller is used in some way here, and the main program also supports the Playstation mouse, as well. The only other 32-bit console software I can think of that goes all out like this, in terms of the freedom it gives users, is an import Sega Saturn game, Dezaemon 2, in which players created their own custom shooters!
Finally, about that license- when I think of MTV, I think of lots of vapid and mindless wasted programming time, annoying "veejays", horrid gameshows, and "What?- we're supposed to play videos, too?"... MTV Music Generator won't change my mind about this one bit, since I know they had no real input in its actual creation, but I'll give them a whole carload of props for doing the right thing. That is, helping to make this amazing program available to all who want to know what it's like to create something from the ground up, rather than just sit on the sidelines and watch. Run out and buy this one as soon as you can- I have a feeling that it's going to be really hard to get!
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