Child of Eden

On a console that sees release after release of first person shooters in a war setting, or in a space setting, Child of Eden finds itself among a very different crowd. It's about as opposite as you can get from all that. It is a unique gaming experience that takes you on a journey of sights, sounds, and color. Brilliant vibrant colors.

What Tetsuya Mizuguchi began with Rez in 2001/2002, he has continued with Child of Eden. The visually stimulating and pulsing background bores its creatures. On screen, you target these creatures and shapes with the crosshairs, lock on to them, and fire your weapons. You also have smart bombs, that take care of all the enemies on the screen at once. Child of Eden adds a third weapon: rapid fire. Only rapid fire can take down incoming enemy fire, and some enemies are only vulnerable to rapid fire.

Both Rez and Child of Eden seem rather easy on the surface. Point and Shoot, right? It goes a little deeper than that. In Rez, you start building up massive points if fire all your locked-on shots at once. Child of Eden continues this scoring method, but adds in a little twist. You need to fire your shots along with the beat in order to build up your multiplyer. Rez did this automatically for you. Once I figured this out, Child of Eden became a much more aesthetically pleasing game. Music games always sound their best when you play them correctly. :)

While this game is a beautiful work of art, I never really felt the same excitement and wonder I did when I first played Rez over 9 years ago. Rez absolutey blew me away on that winter day in January 2002. Each level had a unique feel. It's music was raw, dynamic, and told a story of its own. While Child of Eden's music has a few dynamic sequences, it feel mostly flat and generic.

Rez used tracks from established artists, and pulled together 6 songs that had variety and cohesion. The music behind Child of Eden is a much different story, and barely mentioned anywhere. It's really just an interactive visualization for the Genki Rockets.

Genki Rockets

The Genki Rockets is a group formed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi starring a fictional lead singer, Lumi, who is a hologram (much like Sharon Apple from Macross Plus). It's known now that the lead singer is portrayed by Rachel Rhodes, but whatever. Also in the group is music producer Kenji Tamai. All other members are secret, apparently.

The group began in 2006 when Mizuguchi wrote the song "Heavenly Star", made a colorful video, and posted it to youtube. It went viral, and became a huge success.

Like all other J-Pop groups who have fictional characters as band members, they have a detailed back story, and this is the same story that sets up Child of Eden. Lumi is the first human born in space on September 11th, 2019 (NEVER FORGET). She expresses her thoughts and feelings through songs, and sends them as messages to earth.

The Genki Rockets have a unique live performance involving the visual component as highly as the audio. Since Lumi is in space, and has never been to earth, her appearance is projected on stage using hologram-like technology. The wikipedia articles states the technology is called Musion Eyeliner, which is basically just using a large LED screen that gives the appearance of projecting.

They really don't have that many songs. "Heavenly Star" premiered in 2006, and was featured in Lumines II. In 2007, the recorded a couple more singles, and in 2008, they recorded enough to release an album. They really haven't done a whole lot up until now. Here's their tracklist for Child of Eden:

Stage 1 - Matrix - Fly! (2008)
Stage 2 - Evolution - Star Line (2007)
Stage 3 - Beauty - Breeze (2007)
Stage 4 - Passion - Maker (2011)
Stage 5 - Journey - Heavenly Star (2006) & Flow (2011)

Check out their website: Genki Rockets dot Com. They have a live streamed concert on Ustream happening on Tuesday!

Extended Story

Child of Eden expands on Lumi's story. With her music, mankind is inspired to explore the vast reaches of outer space. With their exploration, the Internet expands and grows. The Internet can be accessed anywhere humans have reached. And the Internet is renamed to Eden. Eden is the fountain that which all knowledge flows.

In the 23rd century, humans rebuild Lumi's likeness and personality in Eden. Project Lumi nears completion, but is compremised by a virus attack. And this is where you come in. Protect Lumi, and complete the project.

Incidentally, the story of Rez picks up after Lumi is completed. Later on, Lumi becomes the central AI for Eden and controls the flow of information. However, the information is vast, and the task becomes overwhelming. Lumi shuts down, and exposes Eden to all manor of virus attacks. In Rez, you explore from your local areas of Eden to the central mainframes. You take down rouge programs and viruses, while rebooting Lumi and restoring order.

It's rather interesting how Child of Eden portrays the future Internet as a lush utopia of wonder and beauty. While the future beyond that in Rez is dark and crippled.

Thoughts

Child of Eden seems like the ultimate goal of Mizuguchi's plan for the Genki Rockets. I really wonder at what point did that plan began. Unfortunately I'm not as familiar as I should be with his works. I consider myself a fan, but I haven't played anything of his since Rez.

After leaving Sega in 2003, he formed Q? Entertainment, and they've made Meteos, Lumines, Every Extend Extra, and Gunpey. Lumines is their huge money maker, and it makes heavy use of music. Is all that music licensed? or is it all original tracks developed in house? I should play that game.

I wonder if the Genki Rockets was just some weekend project. He got some of his pals together, jammed, and wrote a song. Then he started working on the video, and then posted it to see what some of his fans thought. With its huge viral success, he probably just wanted to see how far he could take it.

Then again, the Genki Rockets had all their fame in 2006 to 2008. They sat on the back burner for 3 years until now with Child of Eden. And you barely see the name "Genki Rockets" anywhere. Mizuguchi is just retconning Rez to be canon with his washed up JPop band.

I'd be real interested to know the actual story behind all of this.




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