While the object of both vigorous praise and criticism, music games have helped people see music and musical interfaces in new ways. Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper) is known as the father of that genre. With a new title, you can try out his latest music gaming concept for free, on iPod touch and iPhone. The game is the product of a collaboration with Dutch developer Triangle Studios (makers of the iPhone port of augmented reality browser Layar). And it’s all for a good cause: the OneBigGame effort is using proceeds from track sales for this title and other gaming revenues to support Save the Children and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

More than any other designer, Matsuura has thought of plenty of novel ideas for how to vary the music game model. At its simplest, of course, music games owe some of their legacy to titles like the toy Simon: copy a sequence of events in time. With WINtA, the gameplay has been varied again. Here, the digital vocals become the object of the player’s input. There are also clever visuals unique to each music track, making the game as much music visualization and interactive toy as game.

The creators say the new approach will present a “new way of involving players in music and lyrics,” partly because the lyrics and vocals become an active part of the title. The free track comes from Matsuura himself; other titles are in-app purchases. (Free tracks will be released weekly, too, according to the publishers.)

Also, I don’t doubt that in these simple, geometric graphics, there might be for someone out there the seed for a musical interface that isn’t a toy.

Part of what fascinates me about Matsuura’s work – aside from the fact that he inspired game house Harmonix – is that it is so very different from conventional musical interface work. It does need to function more simply, as a toy, and with clear states of success and failure (arguably not the case in traditional music performance). This should be, at the very least, worth a quick play-through. And you get a taste of Matsuura’s whimsical musical style, as well.

WINtA on the iTunes App Store


  • only in the us store…I can't buy in Italy…sigh…

  • Kevin

    Io ho provato a clikkare sul link direttamente dall' iphone e permette di scaricarlo!!quindi ritenta e sarai piu fortunato 🙂

    I clicked on this link via iphone and it's works!
    I'm from italy!

  • Peter Kirn

    Yeah, maybe a glitch? Should be available everywhere the App Store is! 

  • It's interesting, but I get the feeling the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Although I really liked PaRappa the Rapper back in the day…

    Coincidentally, I made a track with the same name back in 2003 when the US invaded Iraq:


  • Peter Kirn

    It's also how people here in the NY area pronounce the name of the season we're in. 😉

    Yeah, it does seem like a bit of a sketch; I'd love to see if fleshed out, perhaps in an iPad/tablet release.

  • Dave Mauldin

    This is very similar to a Nintendo DS game called "Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan" (Elite Beat Agents in the US outside of Japan).

    Here's a pretty good video of the gameplay: &nbsp ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVznNW9J1aA

  • kevin

    boo, not compatible with iphone 3g. =(

  • How good, I love it! Haha It would keep me entertained for hours, can't believe its not available in with 3g – bummer, bad move by the developer/owners!

  • YETI

    the music reminds me of lumines. fun stuff!!