Scratch: The Ultimate DJ a Rip Off of Beatmania?

Guitar Hero has become a successful product in North America for quite some time.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

While the basic ideas about the game isn’t entirely new, apparently, this was lost on someone since a company is attempting to produce a Guitar Hero for Djs that seems practically identical to Konami’s “Beatmania”.

The year was 1997 and a gaming company called Konami produced an arcade game called “Beatmania” This is according to Wikipedia. Beatmania is simple, wait for notes to fall down to a line at the bottom of the screen and press the corresponding key at the exact moment it touches the line. If you miss too many, you lose. Get enough and you move on to the next round. It’s a very similar concept to that of Guitar Hero.

Still, for North Americans not having adequate exposure to Japanese gaming culture, Scratch: The Ultimate DJ appears to be a game that has people wondering why no one thought of it before. The answer, of course, is that it’s because it has been. Here’s a portion of the original Listening Post blog posting by Eliot Van Buskirk:

How is it that nearly three years have passed since the Guitar Hero first went on sale, and we’ve only just heard about a company applying the same concept to DJing. Considering that Guitar Hero has generated over $1 billion in sales, you would have thought that by now, some genius would have busted out a record player controller, processed some scratch-heavy hip hop tracks into a Guitar Hero-like format and got paid.

At last, some genius has in fact thought of this — Genius Products, to be specific, which partnered with 7 Digital, QD3 and GenCo Media to begin development on Scratch: The Ultimate DJ, scheduled for release next June. Producer Quincy Jones is the music consultant for the game, which will feature “distinctive urban environments and features songs from the biggest names in Hip Hop” according to the announcement.

“With the recent success of music-driven videogames and the dominance of urban culture in the youth market, the potential for Scratch is endless,” stated Quincy Jones III, CEO and chief creative officer of QD3 Entertainment, who makes it clear that he is trying to make sure they keep it real, as the saying goes. “Having spent 20 years as a music producer for artists such as Tupac, LL, and Ice Cube, it is rewarding to work with 7 Studios, Genius and Genco to ensure that there is authenticity in every detail of this game.

The report features many screenshots of the v ideogame which looks surprisingly close to Beatmania. The real question wil be, what’s the difference between Beatmania, or even Hip Hop Mania, and Scratch: The Ultimare DJ? Does Genius Productions have a license with Konami or are they really tempting fate by selling an exact carbon copy of the arcade game? Here’s a video of someone playing the hardest level of Beatmania (Quasar):

Comparing this to the screenshots found on Wired was certainly surprising.

It’s unclear whether Genius Productions have a license/agreement to produce this game or if they really are tempting fate. A quick bit of research reveals that Konami has sued companies trying to sell similar videogames before. One of the more recent ones was Konami suing Harmonix, the developer for Rock Band.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what the outcome will be.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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