Band Brothers, a Japanese launch title for the new Nintendo DS, looks
like just another music game. Press the button for your 'instrument' at
the right time, a la a game of Simon, and try to keep in rhythm. What
makes Band Brothers unique is its wireless multiplayer, which allows
your DS-owning friends (all your friends DO have DS, right?) to get
together for a big wireless jam session. (See a very amusingly formal
demo by Nintendo's execs below.)

IGN Reviews Band Brothers (Japan release)
Video of multiplayer 'music-making'

Why not blur the line more between gaming and music? Read on for some
ideas (and stealing ideas from Nintendo's master game designer Miyamoto)

Band Brothers is primitive, yes, but this could be the future of music as well as
gaming. Even on the DS, a group that claims they've already found a way
to tunnel multiplayer for Internet access. Could we see a future version of the Game Boy sequencer/synth Nanoloop with wi-fi net jamming?

In a recent interview with Japanese blogger Famitsu,
Miyamoto, creator of the likes of Zelda, Mario, and Donkey Kong talks
about the evolution of gaming. He could be talking about the evolution
of music.

Why turn away from joysticks, d-pads, and buttons to rotation sensors
and microphones? Miyamoto tells Famitsu, "Perhaps I, personally, was
tired of that play style. I thought that
games using that system have a limit to what you can do with them. To
think that and then just increase the number of buttons makes things
more complicated." Sounds like control surfaces for music.

Band Brothers, which will be released in the US as Jam with the Band,
is basically a Wi-Fi networked MIDI sequencer; Miyamoto says he's fond
of the ability to hum into the game (there's built-in pitch-to-MIDI
conversion!) and send songs to other users over Wi-Fi.

Fascinating possibilities, for those of us willing to let music be a
game — or is it to make games more musical? (Now, does this mean I can
pick up a DS for a last-minute tax writeoff for 2004?)