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Rhythm Heaven is a rhythm action video game franchise published by Nintendo that consists of mini-games in which the player must perform certain tasks in sync with the rhythm and make a beat to go along with the background music. Online, the audio and video content from the game is often remixed with elements of other video games, commercials or animation clips as to emulate the mashup process in actual gameplay.
The first title “Rhythm Tengoku” for the Game Boy Advance was released only for Japan in August 2006, followed by “Rhythm Heaven” for Nintendo DS in and “Rhythm Heaven Fever” for the Wii in April 2009 and February 2012 respectively. The second and third titles were also released in North America and Europe, where the series is known as Rhythm Paradise.
The Rhythm Heaven series is comprised of a collection of mini-games centered on keeping rhythm. By performing the correct actions, the player is able to keep time to the music and animation, and thus continues on in the game. The games are divided between single song stages and a number of “megamixes” that combine several stages into a lengthier song. The objective is to complete and perfect all of the mini-games and remixes.
Rhythm Heaven is known for its extreme difficulty for first-time players, as noted in its Amazon reviews. The series shares many similar aspects to the Warioware games, as both series are developed by the same team at Nintendo and both feature a number of similarly quirky characters and gameplay elements.
Though the Game Boy Advance version, Rhythm Tengoku, was never released in Western countries, when Rhythm Heaven (shown below, left) arrived in North American and Europe in 2009, it received positive reviews from Famitsu, SameSpot and IGN. Despite being the sixth best selling game in Japan in 2008, it did not perform as well in the United States or Europe.
A Wii version, titled Rhythm Heaven Fever (shown above, right), was released in the US in February 2012, receiving positive reviews from 1up, GameTrailers and Destructoid. An interest page on Facebook for the game series has more than 8000 likes as of December 2012.
As the games most often uses simple spirits and animation for the gameplay, YouTubers have recreated the music games using characters from other works or other Internet memes utilizing Adobe Flash, GMod or other animation programs. One of the earliest examples of a remixed gameplay video was uploaded by WeidoStudios in September 2010, featuring Pokemon characters over the Rhythm Heaven’s “Megamix.” As of December 2012, this mashup has more than 77,000 views. Also as of December 2012, there are nearly 400 combined search results for "Rhythm Heaven parody and “Rhythm Heaven mashup.”
Though the parodies can contain content from anywhere in the game, several of the minigames are used more often in remixes than others. One of these is known as “Glee Club” (shown below, left) which features three children that the player must match to a rhythm pattern. These parodies are popular on the DSi video sharing service Flipnote Hatena, with many playing on the fact that the children’s open mouths resemble a scream. Another popular game to parody is titled DJ School (shown below, right). In the actual game, this situation involves the player trying to DJ while being instructed by a non-playable character. These are often parodied by switching out the sprite characters.
The Wii version of Rhythm Heaven introduced a minigame titled Wrestler, which depicts a muscular figure being interviewed by a female reporter. Parodies of this game will also switch out the sprites but can often switch out the music as well. As of December 2012, there are approximately 300 Wrestler-themed videos on YouTube.
fn9 YouTube – Search results for “rhythm heaven parody”