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|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
Vib-Ribbon (ビブリボン Vibu Ribon?) is a video game for Sony PlayStation. Developed by Masaya Matsuura (the former leader of the Japanese "Hyper Pop Unit" PSY S) and his NanaOn-Sha company, and released in Japan in 1999. The game was released in Europe the following year and was additionally re-released in Japan under the PlayStation the Best and PSone Books greatest hits lines in 2000 and 2001 respectively.
Vib-Ribbon is a rhythm video game in the style of PaRappa the Rapper and Amplitude. The game was unique in that the software loaded into RAM, letting the player use any music CD to play against; the game could generate a unique level from any track. The graphics for Vib-Ribbon are simple, consisting of straight, white vector lines forming crude, angular drawings of the level and the character, a female rabbit named Vibri.
The objective of the game is to guide Vibri along a ribbon filled with obstacles corresponding to the song being played. Pressing the correct buttons at the right time will let Vibri pass unscathed. Failing to do so multiple times will eventually result in Vibri degenerating from a rabbit into a frog, then a worm, and finally perishing for good. If 18 obstacles are navigated successfully in a row, Vibri's form is "promoted" to that of a fairy princess if she is currently a rabbit. If she is at a lower leveled form, she will advance to the next highest form instead. The game's score is represented by a series of symbols that accumulate as the game level progresses. A numerical score is generated at the end of the song. Depending on the score obtained, Vibri will sing a congratulatory song that gets longer with higher scores.
The game features four basic obstacles. They are blocks, loops, waves and pits. Each obstacle requires a different button press (L, R, X and Down respectively) to negotiate. For example, Vibri will successfully negotiate a block by climbing up it and jumping off the other side, or a pit by stretching her legs across it. Two obstacles may be combined into a more advanced form to create a total of ten unique ones. Where an obstacle is a combination of two basic ones, it requires two button presses at the same time, each corresponding to the button used for the basic components of the obstacle. For example, a loop can combine with a pit to make a loop with a pit in the middle (pit halfway through the loop, upside down).
In more difficult levels, the obstacles may move at different speeds, so the order the obstacles appear on screen is not necessarily the order that they must be negotiated. However, the player is never given more than one obstacle at once (with the exception of combined obstacles), despite the fact that multiple obstacles may need to be traversed immediately after a previous one. In addition, it is also common for the obstacles to appear on the opposite side of the line to Vibri (as if they were reflections in a mirror), and then switch around as they approach the character.
As with many CD-based games, most of the in-game music is included on the game CD as standard Red Book audio format tracks, including six songs in English by Japanese group Laugh and Peace (also known to play keyboards for J-Pop W's 2006 Duo U&U album). Laugh and Peace are sometimes incorrectly known as Laugh and Beats, or Love and Peace.
Along with the music distributed with the game CD, the player can run their own music CD, which generates the vib-ribbon in accordance with the rhythm of the tracks : a hard rock CD producing a much more challenging line than a soft music CD.
The game spawned two sequels: Mojib-Ribbon, which focused around rap music and calligraphy, and Vib-Ripple, which was similar to Vib-Ribbon but instead used digital images loaded into the game to generate the levels. Both were released exclusively in Japan for the PlayStation 2.
Game creator Masaya Matsuura has stated interest in working on Vib-Ribbon again, either through a sequel or a remake, and showed interest in downloadable services. When quizzed about the possibility of bringing Vib-Ribbon to other consoles Matsuura said he could buy it from Sony. When asked about the possibility of a port for PlayStation 3, Matsuura stated "We are discussing the possibility of making a downloadable version of Vib-Ribbon for Sony, but, I don't know yet - Sony only recently launched their downloadable service in Japan, so maybe we need to wait a while before releasing a title with that kind of appeal."
In 2012 the game was collected for an exhibit on videogames by the Museum of Modern Art.
The game was initially an advertisement for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class car
- Laugh and Peace on Myspace
- Matsuura Got Rhythm: The State Of NanaOn-Sha's Founder
- Late Night Consoling - Vib Ribbon may roll along to PS3
- Retro Gamer, issue 76. The making of Vib-Ribbon (pages 64-67).