If you like singing there is no better time to get out your Wii or XBox360, PS2 or PS3 consoles and pick up your USB (Logitech) microphones. Karaoke has never been so popular in the nation’s living rooms. The popular WE SING, USING and SINGSTAR music games have taken over Girls Night In and allowed the Boys to join them, as long as they are prepared to put up and not shut up. Sitting around the TV in a Boys versus Girls vocal battle is becoming one of the most entertaining evenings you can have with your parents approval – heck they’ll probably want to join in too.
All of these console games have the same basic premise, sing along to your favourite tunes whilst trying to keep the right tone so that the music bars fill up and not waver all over the place. There are head to head, team and duet battles but no matter who is in yours or the opposing team or what the challenge or contest is, the main competition is you versus yourself – if you are happy with your effort then the game has done what it set out to do, entertain.
Even an old person like me knows the majority of the songs and singers that grace these games, with many songs repeating on different releases. recently bands and singers such as Boyzone, Coldplay, Culture Club, Duffy, Gloria Gaynor. Jackson 5, James Morrison, Keane, Kool & the Gang, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen, Lionel Richie, Mika, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Texas, The Cure, The Mamas & the Papas, the Pussycat Dolls, Adele, Coldplay, Cyndie Lauper, Fergie (even I know she sings with the BlackEyed Peas), Florence & the Machine, Hanson, Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls, Scissor Sisters, Sonny & Cher, Vanilla Ice, Wet Wet Wet and Wham and the Temptations. The majority of these games have 30 or 40 fairly major pop artists and their mostly well known hits. They also feature the original singers, artists and videos.
Of course some of the newer games are aimed at the newer people and you find artists I don’t know, like Outkast, Owl City, Wretch 32, and Jason Mraz, but then many of the young ‘uns today have never heard of the bands I grew up listening to.
Looking at opne of the more recent releases – WE SING UK HITS – there are numerous leading UK artists, original videos and 40 songs, many of whom are regulars on these games. Coldplay for example, (following Clocks and Viva La Vida from previous games) play and sing Speed of Sound. Other songs on WE SING UK HITS include Chasing Pavements, Venus, It Must Be Love, Creep, Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go), Let’s Dance, Candle in the Wind, House of the Rising Sun, Son of a Preacher Man, Girls and Boys, Shout and Do It Like A Dude.
If Pop Hits aren’t your thing there are always the heavier rock sounds which can be found on WE SING ROCK although personally I think the compiler of these 40 tracks has a different idea as to what constitutes Rock than I do, but there are still a good few singalong rock songs here. Coldplay (yet again) – Violent Hill (great track but rock ?), Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds (all the rock n roll Elvis did and they use a pop chart song), Meredith Brooks – Bitch, The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket, KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See etc. All good to sing along to, but again I ask, is it really Rock ? With the exception of Alice Cooper – Poison, Scorpions – Wind of Change, Motorhead – Ace of Spades (metal more than Rock) and Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary (it’s Swamp Rock so I guess it counts, plus I like it) there isn’t what I would call a “rock” song on here – but it’s still a great sing-to.
On the PS3 there is a new phase of this game type, Sing + Dance. Now you can sing along to the music and if you have a Playstation Move you can also dance it out as well. A lot of favourites tracks turn up on this game – Blondie (Heart of Glass) MC Hammer (U Can’t Touch This) KC & the Sunshine Band (That’s The Way I Like It) and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” being just a few of the pop rock anthems played every night up and down the country in pubs, clubs and bars.
If you still have your good old PS2 there are numerous Singstar cd’s for it plus a very special one that is similar but a bit special and different. I am talking about the X-FACTOR Sing game. Here you are not only in competition with your friends and family, you also have to be judged by the XFactor judges. there are also a lot of mini games within the XFactor Sing package and some unlockable content.
So the next time you are a bit fed up, bored with what’s on TV, or annoyed with the comments from judges on reality shows and singing competitions invite some friends round and fire up your game console and pull out the microphones (and some beer, wine for the ladies of course) and let the festivities begin. You will either end up all laughing at each other and yourselves and having a great time or you’ll say something to upset someone and enjoy a good punch up row instead, either way you won’t have a boring evening with WE or U SING SuperSTAR karaoke.

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