First off, a quick shoutout to the peeps at rhythmemotion, ‘cuz they’ve covered Bust a Groove already. However, I’m going to add my own sardonic wit to this entry, like I always do.
Geeks…normally can’t dance. I’m no exception. I can do martial arts just fine. Throw me into a ring and I can shuffle around with the greatest of ease. Throw me onto a dance floor and I start tripping over my own damn shoelaces. Plus, like most other filipino-american youths at the time, I was thrown into obligatory piano lessons. I had a teacher that would hit my wrists whenever I screwed up a note or two (Vince, Richie, you know who I’m talkin’ about). Suffice it to say, music and I weren’t homies.
You know who was my homie though? Forreal? Videogames. They provided a way to escape the normalcy that was my childhood/adolescence. I could kill robots, kill goombas, beat up Chun-Li, people with whips, goblins….(I could go on, but I don’t want to) It wasn’t until Parappa the Rapper and Bust a Groove, that I started liking dance and rhythm games.
Dancing? In my videogames? At the time it was more likely than I thought. My cousin Charlie let me play Bust a Groove, and boy was I hooked. How hooked? More hooked than a crackhead on his second 8-ball. Check out this clip and it’s easy to see why.
(SHOOOOOORTY!!! MY FAVORITE CHARACTER)
Leave it to Japan to combine an animé aesthetic with some jammin’ tunes and a wonderfully simple, easy to control game to make something mind-blowingly FUN. This game was FUN. F-U-N. YOU HEAR THAT SQUARE ENIX?! YOU USED TO MAKE FUN GAMES BEFORE YOUR MERGER! BRING BACK BUST A GROOVE!
The fun didn’t stop there. Oh no no no, they later released Bust a Groove 2, or in Japan, Bust a Move 2: Dance Tengoku Mix. I picked up a copy of this game in the Philippines, back when Playstation games cost $0.50. Seriously.
They tweaked up the gameplay, making it flow better with better variety. The animations were smoothed out as well. And as for the music, well, there are some tracks I like more than the Part 1 counterparts, and some that I could do without. Plus that final stage….hoo boy. Psychotic ballet panda.
There are people that have an irrational fear of Pandas. I don’t blame them. Fuck this panda.
When I turned 21, I was disappointed when I walked into PB Bar and Grill for the first time. There weren’t any dance battles that involved fire dragons, giant cakes, spaceships, or house dancing mad scientists.
Games like Bust A Groove paved the way for rhythm games to come. Later we had Dance Dance Revolution and the Bemani series of games…which I’ll cover at a later issue. Until then, loyal readers!