MTV: Music Generator 3: This is The Remix (MTV:MG3) is more of an interactive display that allows you to create your very own music than it is a game. You can take one of the 10 included songs and make simple volume adjustments, apply special effects, or add and remove any of the over 3000 samples to make the songs your own. The abilities of MTV:MG3 don’t stop there, you can create riffs, drumbeats, melodies and even rip tracks directly from your own music CD collection. All of the above features make this sound like the ideal software for anyone aspiring to create their own music, but a closer look shows that MTV:MG3 has some letdowns along the way.
I might as well come clean about this right away, I am not a music aficionado by any means and some might go as far as to call me tone deaf. I am however a huge video game fan and will relay the facts as I see them and if you are thinking of exploring the genre and want more specific information then read on. Veterans will also be able to gain insight into what’s new in this version and what still needs improvement.
Gameplay is probably not the best term to use in the context of MTV:MG3 but, “gameplay” largely consists of navigating menus. Finding the section or feature you want to use and push a button. It is very similar to navigating a website. The tracks and riffs are displayed on grids of varying sizes. The main track shows 24 channels by 512 seconds. If you look at existing tracks you can see that each category, drumbeats, melodies, voice, etc. sits on its own channel. To create your own track simply select from thousands of samples and place them on the grid intersections in your track and voila. Not finding a sample that fits your ideas? No problem; simply create up to 20 drumbeats, melodies, riffs, and vocals, all to your own specifications.
Possibly the best feature in MTV:MG3 allows you to add, delete or change samples in any grid while the song is playing. Not only are the samples easy to move around, copy/paste, delete or adjust but you can hear the results right away. It’s even possible to set a loop area to make working on a specific portion of the track a breeze.
Completed tracks are saved to your memory card for later use. Unfortunately saving songs is one of the biggest problems with MTV:MG3 when it comes to sharing your tracks with friends. You can go out and buy some cables to connect either your TV or your PS2 to your computer or other recording device but it is very tedious process. If you have to transfer your data to your computer, why not just get some PC software to create music in the first place? Bringing my memory card, game and CDs to a friend’s house in order to share the music is a major let down.
Tutorials: I spent a good hour using the tutorials to learn to navigate the menu system and explore the features of the game. In comparison to the 10 minutes I spent reading the very dry instruction manual, the tutorials were infinitely more helpful. There is also a help button that you can use on almost any screen for a quick tip.
Remixing world famous tracks: Take one of the 10 tracks available and add special effects including distortion, reverb or use any of the host of other effects and aspect changes are at your disposal. Most of the adjustments are pretty intuitive and simple to implement with the big issue being the small selection of songs to choose from.
Rip tracks directly from your own CDs: This is possibly the most disappointing feature of MTV:MG3. You are only capable of ripping an 8 second sample from a CD, and only a 2 second piece of that sample is available for your track. It is possible it was created this way to fit neatly into the “grid” system of the tracks. Be sure to have all your CDs handy when you decide to load your tracks again, you’ll need them EVERY time you load a track that contains ripped material.
Create your own music: I have a big problem with this feature. Granted, it’s super easy to create your own music, but it’s all done with proprietary software. This means that you are limited to the functions available with the game. You can’t pick what key to put your song in, converting to sheet music seems like it would be impossible, saving and exporting is tedious, and vocals are pretty much non existent. Add this all up and it’s mainly an environment for experimentation, not production.
The menu system is easy to navigate with the directional pad and you know what sections are available based on the highlights. There are little visual touches, like how the volume of notes on the grid are expressed in brightness, that add to the usability. The backgrounds on some of the screens are constantly moving and can get busy and irritating after a while. What else can you say about a menu?
It’s always good to experience different genres now and then but my foray into the music generation genre leaves me feeling a little under whelmed. No music notes, or standard bars to view, only the task of putting little squares in boxes to make tracks. MTV:MG3 doesn’t do anything to make music generation fun and entertaining or draw those of us that are new to the idea into the creation process. Experts or people that have a huge interest in making music will undoubtedly get much more out of this game than I did, but they may be insulted by the lack of features or simplicity of this game. Even as a newbie I can see that MTV:MG3 would be much better if it was easy to get my songs onto a CD for my friends to hear. I believe that other more robust PC software would be better for the true fan, but if you’re new and want to see if this is something you would like to pursue MTV:MG3 would be a good place to start