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Electroplankton - Nintendo DS

4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews
Rated: Everyone
Metascore: 71 / 100
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Platform: Nintendo DS
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About the Product

  • 10 different marine creatures, each with their own musical theme
  • Develop hypnotic or soothing melodies by controlling the Electroplankton or their environment (or both)
  • Choose a camera spot and use the upper screen to zoom in & out, seeing up close what your music does to the creatures' world
  • Use the DS microphone to record real-time audio, to a series of rhythm tracks

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Product Description

Product Description

Electroplankton is a truly unique hands-on visual and audio experience. Already a big hit in Japan, this is a new type of game where the goal is to create audio art. Use the DS touch screen to interact with striking underwater creatures. Poke, rub, and draw on the screen to stimulate the odd aquatic creatures and create your own music. Each level is a completely new sound experience, from haunting melodies to head-nodding beats to funky Mario theme remixes. You'll create new songs and experiences every time you play!

From the Manufacturer

It's tough to slap a label on Electroplankton. It's not a game, but you play it on a game device. There's no set purpose to it, but the end result can sweep you up in its charm. Most of all, its innovation sings out loud and true.

Features:

  • 10 unique Electroplankton ready to make music for you
  • Audience mode that plays a 15-minute composition you can participate in
  • Optimized sound for DS speakers or headphones
Art and music collide in Electroplankton, which features the striking visual style of Japanese interactive media artist Toshio Iwai. You interact with 10 species of Electroplankton by using the Nintendo DS touch screen. When you come in contact with the Electroplankton and elements of their environment, the microscopic merrymakers give off a unique sound. The sounds will ring familiar with you, from a piano and percussion instruments to your own voice.

Interacting with each Electroplankton is a bit different, although you'll always use the touch screen, microphone, or both. Some Electroplankton yield percussion sounds, others resemble a piano and still others sound like they've been put through a synthesizer.

Some even come with their own beats. Rec-Rec is an Electroplankton that allows you to record your voice over a track of eight rhythms from house to industrial. You can overlay four of your own additions to these rhythms and slow down or speed up the beat.

Then you have Nanocarp, who are less about making music and more about responding to your sounds. They change formations based on your input into the microphone. Nanocarp reply to clapping, blowing into the mic, and you singing "Do Re Me" to them.

Beatnes replicate the sounds of some classic NES games that struck a cord with Electroplankton creator Toshio Iwai. You can make your own melodies or re-create sounds from Super Mario Bros., Kid Icarus, an NES Collection, and robot sounds.

Electroplankton offers a fun and amazingly creative way to actually put yourself inside the game. You are the conductor, and a new world of musical composition has opened up for you to explore.

The great thing about Electroplankton is it works on a variety of different levels. The precision of the Electroplankton's movements can help you create fantastic compositions, or you can take a more recreational approach and play with the different movements and sounds and just have fun with it. If you're savvy with recording equipment, you can use the DS's headphone jack to output your composition and record it for all the world to hear.

Bottom line: Electroplankton is one of those rare artistic games that should be part of every gamer's collection.


Product Information

ASIN B000CI8EXA
Release date January 9, 2006
Customer Reviews
4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #18,826 in videogames
#651 in Video Games > Nintendo DS > Games
Pricing The strikethrough price is the List Price. Savings represents a discount off the List Price.
Product Dimensions 5.3 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
Media: Video Game
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I know I won't get many "helpful" votes for this, but this piece of art (as it is not an actual game) isn't worth the current price as of 1/16/06. It's far too limited and option-less; unfortunately, that's probably the point.

In Electroplankton, there are ten different electroplanktons to toy with, all of which create nice, experiemental sounds that are vaguely musical. It's fun for about thirty minutes (not to mention breathtaking) but you'll turn it off with little reason to turn it back on again. When you do, it'll be for five to ten minutes tops, each time.

You won't have a problem with this. It's a program that's designed for minor play, as there's really not much to do.

Fortunately, it sounds amazing and looks really beautiful. Everything is 2D (of course) but it's done in such an artsy, colorful way. It's definitely something for both your eyes and ears.

There will be moments when you'll get a happy accident. Many moments. And every time, you'll wish you had a way to save it on the cartridge. And you simply can't. (Sure, you can save it via output to a computer or a tape/mp3 player, but this seems a bit unnecessary, as the average video gamer probably doesn't have said equipment. Not to mention that something would be "lost" without the visuals).

It's an open-ended experience, and while it's an interesting idea, something inside of me wishes there were simply *more* of it. Specifically, more electroplankton. After playing through all ten, you'll quickly get an understanding of which three or so are your favorite, and the couple that you don't like will probably never be played again. Twenty electroplankton would have been excellent.

But, it is what it is: art.
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ElectroPlankton for the Nintendo DS is much more about play, experimentation and discovery than achieving anything. There's nothing to unlock, no goals, no saving of your musical creation. Instead you're supposed to get caught up in the moment - discovering new ways to manipulate the ElectroPlankton. The depth the game has depends entirely on the player and how much time they are willing to give it. The more you play, the more discover, especially if you never read the instruction booklet.

I've shown the game to at least five non-gamers and they all have been immediately transfixed. Smiles spread across their faces and there was much laughing. They basically commandeered my DS and didn't want to let go. Since playing ElectroPlankton two of these guys have decided to buy a DS - their first gaming system ever. It may be interesting for you to know that these guys were aged 35 and 47.

I've played ElectroPlankton just about every day since I imported it in April 2005. One of the things I love about ElectroPlankton is that it's so unlike anything else. Never before has there been anything like it. It's calming and relaxing while at the same time being very exciting and joyful. In fact, I've heard ElectroPlankton called a singing Zen garden and I believe that's right on target. I find it intoxicating and a much welcomed breath of fresh air.
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Getting back to the analogy of Electroplankton as a visual-musical instrument of sorts, that is almost what you can expect from this game. Some people complain that there is no save feature. If you are ever reading something and someone says that the game should have a save feature, I will bet you $15 [not really] that that person has not played the game. Imagine playing a piano, or any other instrument. There's no sheet music in front of you. You hit a couple of notes, and you think they sound pretty good together. But did anything `save'? Nope. You want to hear those notes again? Go ahead, play them again. And if you can't remember them, then you get to play around with more notes until you find them, by which point you will probably have found another sequence of notes that sound good together. That's the essence of Electroplankton; it's all about experimentation, which in turn can produce pleasing audio and video patterns. Not necessarily music, and not necessarily a movie, but a little of both. And continuing the piano analogy, you could sit down at a piano and spend thirty seconds playing every single note on the piano. I've done it, it can be pretty amusing. But even if you do, you have yet to hear even a tiny fraction of the sound that piano can produce. Only when someone uses those notes in a creative way is anything accomplished.

So let's talk about Electroplankton itself, finally. It probably takes longer to just explain the principle behind it than how the game works. When you start it up, you have three options: Performance mode, Audience mode, and a sound setting (speakers or headphones). If you choose Audience mode, the game will start playing one of the ten plankton species on its own, randomly as far as I can tell.
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Electroplankton isn't a game. It's a musical instrument. You get ten different "scenarios" - each with different critters that let you explore your musical talents.

For example, in one scenario you have little snowflake shaped creatures filling the DS screen. As you tap on each one, it plays its own unique little note. Tapping and dragging creates a symphony of gently tinkling sounds.

In another situation, little firefly type creatures respond to your noises. You can clap and sing and they'll create formations - circles, lines, hearts, even special shapes.

I'm sure every player has their own favorite game. One of the games lets you record a short sound segment and then play it back in many different ways - including backwards. Another lets you draw lines and have the creatures follow the lines, playing songs as they go.

I have two personal favorites. One is Rec-Rec. You have four fish swiming around in a loop. They swim for four "beats" and you can in fact have a background beat rhythm playing for you. It's in essence a four track recorder. You record each fish's song / sound / speech separately. So you could have one fish singing "Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques" and then the next fish sing "Dormez Vous? Dormez Vous?" and create your own personal round. You can lay down drums on one fish, then make bass noises for the next and have a cool song going. I can literally play this for hours and hours, swapping songs around.

My other favorite game is Beatnes which is in essence the same thing but with notes to play. You get four chains of notes to choose from. You tap out a song on one, which then cycles around repeatedly. You can add notes from the other chains to add harmonies or counter-tunes.
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