When Are They Going To Make A Rhythm Game For Sad White Girls?
I’ve been playing a bit of Hi-Fi Rush since its surprise shadow drop earlier this week, but as ever with a rhythm game, ‘playing’ is a strong word. There are various categories you can be scored in across the game, and I keep getting ‘B’ or higher in most of them, but for ‘Timing’ I’m lucky to get a C. Hi-Fi Rush mainly relies on rock and punk music, and it makes sense to lean into something so rhythmic, where the best is crucial to the music’s overall composition. Rap music is another strong foundation for a rhythm game. So is heavy metal, as proven with Metal: Hellsinger. But when are they going to make a rhythm game for sad white girls?
Sad White Girl Music includes a few genres, but it is easily defined in and of itself. I’m talking about the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams, Lana del Rey, Olivia Rodrigo, Fleetwood Mac, Lorde, Mxmtoon, Maisie Peters, and of course, the queen, my queen, Taylor Swift. Why can’t I show my enemies exactly how this pain will be for evermore?
Though this sort of acoustic, adult contemporary music is not as beat-focussed as rock, rap, or metal, it has a unique sense of timing that favours intricate movements over well-timed mashing. Of course, no one has ever played a shooter or a hack ‘n’ slash and said ‘I love how slow it is!’, but I do believe there is a way for a more methodical approach to work for this genre.
Let’s take Taylor Swift as our example. Swift, on albums like Red, Folklore, and Evermore at least, often uses simple melodies with complex and layered lyrics that both tell a story on the surface and fold into their own lines to give each phrase more meaning. “The coastal town we never found” in Gold Rush’s final chorus shatters the idea of perfect and everlasting love the song initially sets up. Swift has a habit of transforming a song’s meaning either in the bridge or the final chorus, and a rhythm game with this sort of music would shift away from the mechanic reliance of staying on the beat and instead emphasise the lyrics, their meaning, and the change in tone.
The last time I wrote about the lack of rhythm I have due to listening to too much white music, I was accused of being racist, so let me clarify: I have equal respect for all people of all nationalities, ethnicities, and creeds, except Americans who clap when the plane lands. This marks the third time I’ve addressed this subject, going back to when a Doom replay prompted the request for an Alt-Z Lorde shooter, and every time a rhythm game releases that doesn’t allow me to do its equivalent of rip and tear to Taylor Swift, I will write it again.
I’d even settle for some real, raw pop. I’ve always preferred Swift’s singer-songwriter albums to her pop hit factories, but I’m no stranger to pop. Keep Swift and Rodrigo then add in Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Britney Spears, Kim Petras, Miley Cyrus, and Carly Rae Jepsen and you have a more rhythmic version of the thing I’m asking for.
This isn’t just a goofy ‘hey make that thing but with the thing I like’ pitch either. Although sure, I’m not above that sort of thing. You know me well. However, Metal: Hellsinger and now Hi-Fi Rush have become part of the conversation with their viral appeal. Game Pass boosted both, but it feels like the rhythm game is coming back into fashion, now combined with combat. God of Rock, due out later this year, is a fighting rhythm game, and as the name suggests, is also using rock music. For the genre to stick around, and for new titles to have the same fresh feeling as Hi-Fi Rush, they might need to extend the boundaries of what a rhythm game means.
Despite being largely useless at it, I hope the rhythm-combat genre has legs, because a) it’s always good to see new ideas thrive, and b) people seem to like it. But going the distance means giving us some variety, and surely the most creative interpretation of a genre all about fast beats is to try it with slower lyrical precision. I’ll meet the next shadow drop at midnight.
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