Three Reasons Scratch will be Better than DJ Hero
This winter, two competing music rhythm games will each vie for your attention - and money. Both games will ditch the tired rock-and-roll theme that has been so tremendously successful in favor of sampled beats and a turntable. While both games will allow pasty white nerds everywhere the chance to vicariously live out their fantasies of laying down ill beats, only one is deserving of their time and money. That game is Scratch: The Ultimate DJ. Here are three reasons why we think the innovative new title from Genius Products will trounce Activision's competing game, DJ Hero, when both land side-by-side in shops this winter.
Scratch did it first
You know that episode of Sienfeld where Kramer comes up with this great idea for a cologne that smells like the beach, and then Calvin Klein totally steals it? That's pretty much what Activision has done here. Scratch: The Ultimate DJ has been in production since 2007, with 7 Studios developing and publisher Genius Products behind the title. However, after having acquired the developers at 7 Studios, Activision quickly announced its own music rhythm game in 2008 that is eerily similar to the one already in production by Genius. Genius has sued Activision and 7 Studios, alleging that the latter basically stole their idea. While the court case is unlikely to be settled in time to prevent either game's release, we recommend settling this score the old fashioned way: with a DJ battle.
Facin' a collaboration
Any music-rhythm game purporting to represent DJ culture is going to need a lot of street cred, and Scratch seems to Activision beat here as well. Genius Products has collaborated closely with Beastie Boy and scratch maestro Mix Master Mike on Ultimate DJ. We can't think of anybody whose input would be as knowledgeable when it comes to the history of sampled music. Activision has tons of money to license music tracks for its game, so we have no doubt that their final setlist will be impressive in scope. However, the designers of Scratch have really done their homework and secured deals with artists who really define the DJ culture. It has been confirmed that the Scratch setlist will include music by DJ Shadow, the Gorillaz, and Run DMC, for starters.
Every fan of Rock Band knows that the controller can make or break the game. That is why the design of the turntable for both of these DJ games was so important, and why each side has kept their design a secret until the very last minute. It's hard to fault the choice made by Activision to put the finger buttons right on the turntable to emulate the feel of scratching a record, but the overall design looks uninspired. While the DJ Hero controller is certainly functional, the Numark-inspired deck included with Scratch: The Ultimate DJ is the bomb. The Numark deck features a free-spinning, touch sensitive turntable and a crossfader. Players can even record and upload their own samples using a compatible USB microphone. Word to your mom.
Scratch, bottom-right and DJ Hero, top-left. The turntable designed for Scratch: The Ultimate DJ features a crossfader and can be flipped for left-handed beatmakers.
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