Rhythm Games – Vib-Ribbon (1999)

Rhythm Games: Vib-Ribbon

NanaOn-Sha followed their PaRappa the Rapper success with Vib-Ribbon. As rhythm games relied increasingly on custom controllers, Vib-Ribbon stuck to NanaOn-Sha’s roots with a console game using a standard controller.

Unlike PaRappa, Vib-Ribbon included several licensed tracks from the popular group Laugh and Peace. The music selection was limited by the game’s budget. The solution was to let the player insert any audio CD and Vib-Ribbon would build the gameplay around any track of music. This meant that the entire game, including art, must fit within the PlayStation’s extremely limited memory. Vib-Ribbon therefore relied on simple near-monochrome vector graphics. Its primitive graphics made it difficult to sell, and the producers decided against bringing it to the Western game market.

The main character, a wireframe rabbit named Vibri, traveled along a simple level from the left to the right. There were four basic obstacles, each of which could be overcome by pressing one of the four usable action buttons on the controller. Difficult levels included advanced obstacles formed by combining two basic obstacles and defeated with two simultaneous buttons.

Vib-Ribbon was commissioned as an advertisement for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class car. After design issues surfaced with the car and the ad plan was dropped, development continued as a stand-alone game.

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Gift of Ton Luong, 2013.004.003