So a couple weeks ago I did a short blog about MMO-alternative games. It was all well and good in that it included some RTS, FPS, and strategy games. Something, that I think we can all agree is a rare sight in the world of MMOs. Well, as it turns out, I completely left out an entire genre of MMOs, one that isn’t all that rare: MMO Rhythm Games, a.k.a. MMORGs. I have been thinking a lot about these types of games and it strikes me as odd that there are so many of these games popping up lately, for example Dance Online (above). So what is the appeal? What makes a company decide to invest so much into a game such as this?
Well a quick and easy answer would be: Guitar Hero. Need I say more? The guitar based rhythm game has been a smash hit amongst console gamers so it would only make sense that it would be at least mildly successful amongst MMO PC gamers as well. There is no real question about it, MMORG games are successful. In January of 2007, Nexon sent out a press release that stated it had garnered 100,000 registered members for its free2play MMORG, Audition. One hundred thousand members for a game that essentially has your avatar standing with with a few other avatars and dancing, while you hit the appropriate up, down, left, right arrows on your keyboard. Well that doesn’t sound like very much fun. So why does Nexon have 100,000 members (as of a year ago) playing there game?
As an owner and lover of Rock Band, I can tell you that one of the greatest parts about the game is getting 3 of my friends together and rocking out to some great songs on the soundtrack. It’s a bunch of fun, and my honest opinion is that rhythm games, in general, derive a lot of their “fun factor” from the communal aspect, e.g. playing with your friends. MMORGs don’t have this factor and yet they are still fun (for certain people). Why, because despite people not actually being with you watching you play, chances are there are people watching your avatar dancing, in whatever appropriate outfit you have given him/her. So is that what it all boils down to? Do people really just want to perform, and be in the spotlight? A lot of people are too shy to do that even in front of their friends, so maybe that’s it. Maybe this is the secret behind the appeal of MMORGs; a safe place to perform without feeling like your being judged, at least not you personally. I am sure people will be judging your avatar plenty.
Anyways, that’s just my two cents on the matter. What do you think?