Inside Pulse 12

Review: We Sing 80s (Nintendo Wii)

We Sing 80s
Publisher: Nordic Games
Developer: Le Cortex
Genre: Music
Release Date: 02/08/2013

It’s hard to say the game title We Sing 80s without sounding like English is your second or possibly eighth language. Or maybe it is the response you’re supposed to give when somebody asks what type of music your Spandau Ballet cover band plays. You know what I’m talking about. You are dressed like Rambo, the bass player is dressed like the Terminator, and the Drummer is dressed like John McClane. Your bandmates look at each other and then look that pitiable fool in the eye and say, “Spandau Ballet D’Action? We Sing 80s!”

Speaking of English as a second language, this game is published by Austria’s Nordic games and was developed by the French studio Le Cortex. Everything I read says Nordic Games is Austrian, even though it says “Fresh from Sweden” on the opening clip of the game. Le Cortex has a website that is in French, so let’s assume they are French. Basically, I don’t know much about Le Cortex, but I do know that their website is completely bug nutty.

All this rambling is to say that it shouldn’t be surprising when this game’s musical selection has a somewhat European feel to it.

Here is the full list:
Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
The Bangles – Eternal Flame
Blondie – The Tide is High
Cameo – Word Up!
Culture Club – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me
Cyndi Lauper – True Colors
DeBarge – Rhythm of the Night
Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
Duran Duran – Rio
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – The Power of Love
The Human League – Don’t You Want Me
Kylie Minogue – I Should Be So Lucky
Lionel Richie – All Night Long (All Night)
Lisa Stansfield – All Around The World
Musical Youth – Pass the Dutchie
Paula Abdul – Straight Up
Queen – I Want to Break Free
Roxette – The Look
Sabrina – Boys (Summertime Love)
Sade – Smooth Operator
Simple Minds – Alive & Kicking
Smokey Robinson – Being with You
Spandau Ballet – True
Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
Tears for Fears – Shout
Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now
Toto – Africa
T’Pau – China in Your Hand
Yazoo – Only You
Yazz and the Plastic Population – The Only Way Is Up

There are some huge earworms here, but I have no recollection of ever hearing those last three songs. And, depending on when you think life begins, I was around for all of the 1980s.

Also, I think neither Sabrina nor “Boys (Summertime Love)” is known by anybody in the United States. This is excepting, of course, those people who watched the video for this song where she keeps on having wardrobe malfunctions. I hear that gets a good number of views on the internet. (Did you know there were horny people on the internet? This came as a shock to me.) I thought that the appearances of the Italian singer’s nipples were what garnered this game a “T for teen” rating. I was wrong however. Wherein all other songs contain their original accompanying video, Sabrina’s hit just shows a spinning shot of an old-timey microphone.

But we do have original music videos for the rest, and what a delicious nostalgia treat that is. I dare you to watch Tiffany’s video for “I Think We’re Alone Now” and not crack up over the accuracy of the Robin Sparkles character on “How I Met Your Mother”. The video quality isn’t great, but it matches the aesthetic of watching music videos in the 80s. No one needs to see Lionel Richie in HD, right?

We have a few singing games over at the Kennedy Compound, and We Sing 80s gets a lot right that some others get wrong. It adjusts for a lot of the little annoyances I’ve experienced in similar games. For starters, you are given the option of singing the whole song or a shorter version. While not perfect (sometimes it stops at an illogical place), it is nice to have the option to not have to sit through another Tears for Fears guitar solo. We Sing 80s also gives you the option of playing the tracks as they are or playing them minus the main vocal track. It functions as both Sing Along and Karaoke, which other games stupidly do not allow for.

If you are afraid of constantly being judged by machines, the game allows you a Karaoke mode that doesn’t keep score. There are multiple multiplayer modes, and the game even allows for up to four singers. Though you need a USB hub for that as there are only two USB ports on the Wii. There are also pass and play options if you only have one microphone.

If you loved being judged by machines, the game offers a wide array of trophies to win. It also affords “singing lessons” wherein I can fairly accurately judge my level of tone-deafness by randomly changing my voice in feeble attempts to approach approximations of notes.

Also, in a statement on the sad state of this modern world, the game has an anti-cheating function. People cheat at karaoke. Think about that for a minute. I’m a huge cheater, but even I think this is a ridiculous thing. Are karaoke scores that important to you people?!

At the bare minimum, the game does everything competently and most things well. Unfortunately, I don’t really want to sing most of these songs. It’s purely a matter of personal taste, but if I was listing thirty songs from the 80s I’d want to sing, none of these would be on it. Granted, it would be mostly Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and literally any other song from Queen. My kid doesn’t want to sing an 80s song unless it is through the filter of “Glee”. My wife is staunchly on the Debbie Gibson side of the great Tiffany/Debbie Gibson debate and refuses to play this game out of principle.

So there you have it: We Sing 80s is a great game which I have no desire to play.

Short Attention Span Summary
We Sing 80s does everything right in terms of gameplay. Everything works as it should, there are plenty of options, and there are even a bunch of trophies to collect. Check out the tracklist. If these looks like songs you want to sing, you’re good to go. If you don’t want to sing these songs, it doesn’t matter how well the game was made.