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January 9, 2006

Filed under: gaming»society»art

Drop me in the water

Electroplankton comes out today in the United States (it'll be on shelves tomorrow). Obviously, I recommend it to musicians and open-minded gamers. It was my first software import, and since the US doesn't seem to be getting the special edition package with headphones and a Iwai-designed box, I think that was a pretty good deal.

Here's a retrospective: Electroplankton still isn't a game, and people who try to review it as such are still missing the point. When Davis complains about the lack of replay value, or the fact that you can't save the music (except through the analog hole), he's trying to fit it into a mental framework that's ill-suited for its purpose. Gamespot has no more business trying to review Electroplankton than Keyboard Magazine should be reviewing Dance Dance Revolution.

I haven't hauled it out for a while, because I've (as usual) gotten distracted with other projects. I did try to do some soldering work on the adapter for the microphone the other evening, but my ColdHeat iron just doesn't have the juice to get it done, and I've misplaced my plug-in iron. The contacts on the adapter are also only a few millimeters wide, and I'm just not that dextrous, frankly. It's forcing me to consider the idea of using the software more as a beatbox and lo-fi sampler than as an actual performance looper, at least until better hardware arrives in the US. However, I continue to believe that the potential is great for combining EP with live performance, especially if you could get the visuals projected up for the audience.

Previous posts on Electroplankton:
Initial impressions
Composing with Electroplankton series

Update:

The Electroplankton manual, translated from Japanese but retaining the hand-drawn charm of the original, can be found here. I like Iwai's notes at the end, for a glance into his mental process when he wrote each piece.

Future - Present - Past