Rhythm Heaven Event @ Scratch DJ Academy

April 13, 2009 | Posted by John De Large

A night full of rhythm indeed

Thursday was a momentous day. Not only did I set out to check out my first Nintendo event, a Rhythm Heaven event at the Scratch DJ Academy but I actually gelled my hair and put on a collar shirt for the first time in a long while.

Coming from Long Island, I pulled into Penn Station, hopped on the 1 train and walked all around the rather “alternative,” Christopher Street area trying to find the party. I spied some puppies (Nostalgia Chick would be proud) and eventually found the building on 6th Ave. I signed in as John De Large and signed a release under my real name, got a shirt and three free drink tickets and was introduced to a nice man named Dan who helped me get set up with a DS and sweet cushy BOSE headphones.

Onto the game itself: “I like Rhythm Heaven,” said the man who writes many a hate filled column. The title screen music is jovial and the animation is cutesy. To emphasize the importance of flicking your wrist, a little mini game lets you knock a car over with pennies, using your stylus to end the miniature motorists Sunday drive.

Next came the Build It To Scale mini game. By flicking the stylus in time with piano notes, you propel a rod through two screws to make a…. well, I’m not sure what it is, but this game was fun too. I didn’t do too well, but it was addictive enough that I’m probably going to pick up the game when I’ve got a few bucks.

Mingling for a bit, I run into two Ring of Honor fans who recognized my “WE ARE THE NATION, OF DOMINATION!” battlecry from the last event as well as a nice musician who gave me her business card. There was delicious food (cheeseburger sliders, mini artisan pizzas, beef pastries and sesame chicken sticks), free beer and music being spun by DJ Daddy Dog and DJay Jung of TRL fame. Songs and remixes ranged from MIA to Jay-Z to Queen even.

After a bit of eating, drinking and getting to know people, it was time for a presentation. Krista Yang, stepped up to show us how to play the right way and she wasn’t afraid to show us her mad skills. She also showed off her DJ skills during the DJ mini game entitled Scratch School that had not been unlocked in my copy of Rhythm Heaven.

Next, all the partygoers were treated to free DJ lessons on actual turntables! This was really interesting and a it was a fresh alternative to your average party activity. I had lots of fun scratching and learning the different parts of the mixer. I rotated with another party goer and took the opportunity to talk to Marc Franklin, Director of Public Relations for Nintendo.

Marc was very excited for the party and for Rhythm Heaven. He was also very personable and affable, so talking to him felt less like an interview and more like chilling with a new friend. We laughed and talked about how Rhythm Heaven was reminiscent of Wario Ware with it’s mini games, but since the mini games last for 2 minutes, you have time to make mistakes and learn from them to improve your score.

Marc also asked if I liked the connection between the Scratch DJ Academy and the game, which I do. It makes perfect sense to have the event at the Scratch DJ Academy when Rhythm Heaven has a Scratch School mini-game built in.

Rhythm Heaven wasn’t the only thing Marc was excited about, he was very happy to talk about the new Nintendo DSi, showing me his teal version and showing off the significantly larger screens. Marc, being the friendly guy he is then asked what DS games I’ve been playing recently to which I truthfully testified my love for the Chrono Trigger Remake and the Ace Attorney series.

The night ended with a live “DJ Battle” between four party goers picked from a raffle. The contestants tried their hand at scratching on the one’s and two’s before taking it to the DS while the crowd cheered them on. The contestants did pretty well, I enjoyed the music and their spin on it. Winners received Nintendo DSi’s, copies of Rhythm Heaven and those awesome BOSE headphones, runners up received the BOSE headphones.

I said my goodbyes to Marc who wanted to make sure I’d be at E3 and asked me to come back to future Nintendo events. I agreed, grabbed my swag and headed home.

All in all, this was a good first event and I do hope to be back for more! =)


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