It doesn’t add a flame-painted body or a hockey-stick headstock to the handheld gaming unit, but Ubisoft plainly wants to capitalize on the seeming unending popularity of Guitar Hero with its forthcoming title Jam Sessions. The idea: players can rock out—or gently strum—their Nintendo DS handheld game units to the sounds of an acoustic guitar.
“Jam Sessions is an amazing title with limitless potential to entertain and engage a wide audience of people who love music, guitar and singing,” said Tony Key, Ubisoft’s VP of marketing, in a statement. “Basically, it’s a guitar in your pocket but that’s just the beginning. It’s a chance for people who have never thought of themselves as ‘musically inclined’ to jump right in and play through entire songs, compose their own music and sing along with friends.”
Jam Sessions is a localization of Plato’s Japanese title Hiite Utaeru DS Guitar M-06—we’ve got to admit Ubisoft’s renaming will be friendlier to U.S. audiences. Players strum the guitar on the DS’s touch screen—defining rhythm and tempo—while selecting chords and transitions from the upper screen. Common chord changes are available with one touch; substitutions and more “outside” chords can also be selected. Jam Sessions also lets players record what they’ve created, so they can play it back at any time, potentially making the game a sketchpad for budding songwriters looking to create their own musical material without paying for guitar lessons.
The game offers three mode: Performance lets players play and sing along with “yesterday [sic] and today’s hottest artists”, a Free-Play mode in which players can do anything they like, and a Tutorial mode which runs through the program’s features. Players can listen through headphones or hook their DS systems up to external speakers for a more-social experience.
Expect to see Jam Sessions at retailers in June 2007; no word on rating or pricing, but we don’t expect this one to carry an M for “Mature” from the ESRB…although, of course, Ubisoft can’t be responsible for what people may sing along to their three chord masterpieces.