Well, fine, Jamie Lidell. Now you go and ruin it for the rest of us. See, none of us playing with a Nintendo DSi will possibly look as good as you do.
I jest, of course. Jamie Lidell, the wildly-talented vocalist, picks up the new, online-savvy take of the Nintendo DS and breathes cool into it. This is what Sony ads tried to do, but Jamie does masterfully. And, okay, don’t expect the built-in sound app on the DSi to do as much as it appears to be doing here – there’s quite a lot of non-real-time, non-DSi remixing going on, even though what he does do with the simple app is genius.
Thanks to Liz Revision for finding this one.
This does bring us to a burning question: Nintendo and Sony, I’m looking at you. When will we be able to run eccentric and niche music creation apps as official software on your machine? Imagine NitroTracker on the DSi download store or PSPSEQ and PSPRhythm on the Sony Store.
It’s not lost on me, either, that I’ve complained about Apple’s App Store approval for iPhone and iPod touch as being vague and inconsistent with a few apps, while Nintendo and Sony and Microsoft’s Xbox only allow a few apps to ever see distribution. But now that the game makers have online distribution, I wonder if that could change. Movie multiplexes once promised that, amidst a few dozen screens, one would show Bollywood and experimental film. Perhaps these stores could have an “enter at your own risk” category for homebrew. Sony, after all, is desperate to recover sales lost on its PSP. And I have to admit, I think homebrew is, sadly, partly at fault. Homebrew developers and users painstakingly document hacking steps because it’s the only way to get their software on the device – only to have the same system abused by people who don’t want to pay for games.
Korg came out with its DS-10 app for the Nintendo handheld officially, and it was an enormous, runaway success, spawning YouTube virals and entire bands. Now, granted, the app had a major commercial publisher behind it (AQ Interactive), adding credibility – but distribution was limited by the physical cartridge, and the app itself didn’t shy away from Big Boy, niche soft synth controls.
8-bit musicians will likely never touch the DSi, preferring the vintage Game Boy. But a few hard-core gamers are also hard-core handheld musicians. Underground is great, and there’s a certain ethos around hacking. But access isn’t such a bad thing. If just one advocate at Sony or Nintendo would consider it, I think wonderful things could happen.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to see if it’s possible to get a DS homebrew music app running in an emulator on my Android.