Rhythm Games – Osu Tatakae Ouendan! (2005) / Elite Beat Agents (2006)

Rhythm Games: Osu Tatakae Ouendan!, Elite Beat Agents

As the rhythm game genre matured, many companies made their own attempts at carving out a niche. iNiS developed a game called Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, intended for the Nintendo DS’s touchscreen. Up until this point, rhythm games generally relied on a small number of digital controls. Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! asked the player to touch targets that could appear anywhere on the Nintendo DS’s screen, often forming interesting geometric patterns along with the music-synchronized rhythms. More advanced tracks would also require the player to trace paths on the screen.

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! was popular within Japan, but its subject matter proved unsuitable for the United States. The plot involved a squad of male cheerleaders in traditional Japanese school garb, cheering on Japanese citizens in unfortunate situations inspired by Japanese culture.

Porting to Western markets required a complete redesign. Male cheerleaders became secret agents, situations changed from Japanese cultural tropes to American cultural tropes, and the music changed to follow Western styles. Plot continuity was enhanced, resulting in the Elite Beat Agents using the power of rock to defend Earth from the heavy-metal Rhombulans.

The improvements made in Elite Beat Agents were later used in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! 2 in Japan, though no Elite Beat Agents 2 has been announced.

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Gift of Ben Wilhelm, 2013.005.002