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Your HDTV Destroyed The Rhythm Action Genre

Your HDTV Destroyed The Rhythm Action Genre

Fat Parappa, making us laugh, by DeviantArt user Virus-20, yesterday.

We often – probably every single day of our lives – wonder what happened to Parappa The Rapper. He’s clearly not been forgotten about, what with his appearance on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Play’s 200th issue special super-mega-art-print that Sony itself made for us.

But there’s no new Parappa game. We haven’t seen him kicking and punching since the PSP version came out in 2007, and that was just a remake of the first game. He is, for all intents and purposes, dead. He’s been Old Yellered. “No ma, he’s mah rappin’ pooch in a beanie”, Masaya Matsuura (probably) said, before emptying both barrels of the ranch shotgun into a confused little face that normally ‘has to believe’.

Turns out there’s a reason for this violent rap-dog murder, though, at least according to one former NanaOn-Sha employee. Dewi Tanner, writing on Edge, has pointed the blame squarely at HDTVs.

“Modern TVs suffer from high amounts of display lag, commonly termed ‘latency’ – usually more than 60 milliseconds, but latencies of 100ms+ are not uncommon. For a 60fps game, 60ms lag equates to an event happening on-screen 4 frames after your input is detected. For performance genres – like rhythm games, and beat ’em ups where a single frame can be the difference between a high score and game over – this lag is obviously of serious detriment to the game experience. Ideally any display would have less than one frame of latency (i.e. under 16ms), and in the past most CRT TVs were innately capable of this due to the simplicity of their design. I’ve actually already met a few gamers who have kept their old CRTs for classic rhythm gaming, so if you still have one gathering dust in the spare room, think twice before you bin it in the future!”

Basically, the new tech has rendered the old games difficult to play – more so than they ever were. Anyone who’s downloaded Um Jammer Lammy from the US Store, or simply booted up their PSone copies of Parappa The Rapper (let’s ignore the sequel) is likely to know exactly what Tanner is talking about. It’s just off.

Guitar Hero and its friends worked around this problem, but were never able to fix it per se. And that’s sad, now we think about it.

Because it means we’re unlikely to get a PS3 version of Parappa The Rapper. Though now that’s more because the sad old beanie-wearin’ pooch is buried behind the shed in an unmarked grave.

[image credit]

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  • Dawson

    So…just employ the same workaround that every rhythm game for the past 5 or so years has employed, no?

  • Ian Dransfield

    That’s the point he makes in the piece, though – it can still be done, but it’s diluted and simplified. The gap for input is widened to take into account lag, and the whole experience is streamlined to the point there’s no room for individual expression. Which would mean, for example, the freestyle rapping as on the original Parappa wouldn’t be doable in a new game – at least not to the same level – as it wouldn’t be reactive and accurate enough.