SingStar Vol. 3 (PS3)

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It’s hard to believe it’s only been four years since Sony released the first SingStar, so seminal has the series become. Since then they have released more than 15 different discs, depending on what region you’re in, and it shows no sign of slowing down. And although the concept is now tried and tested it’s not tired just yet.

SingStar is a game series based around the idea of karaoke, but with original songs instead of covers and music videos instead of generic 3D rendered versions of you singing on screen. This in itself sets the series apart from most other music games (if not all?) as it allows you to enjoy the music video while you sing along to it. The pitch detection technology measures the pitch of your voice as you sing into the special microphones, comparing (or contrasting) it against the note you would be singing if you were the real artist.

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You’re then scored out of 10,000 points for the song with points being awarded for singing in tune, singing entire phrases in tune and hitting certain golden notes correctly. Meanwhile the music video plays, giving everyone else something to watch while they listen to your wonderful singing. The game has the ability to remove the vocal track from a song, but we typically play with the vocal track on to disguise off-pitch singing and make us feel a little better about ourselves. Of course, the game is best played with a group of people using the Pass the Mic, where two people are able to sing at once, one from each team, and compete in a set of songs to determine which team is more awesome.

In the past Sony would pick some sort of theme for a SingStar disc, such as 80’s, R&B, Rock Ballads and so on and then choose songs that fit the theme. But I guess they’ve run out of theme ideas as for the PS3 they’re simply numbering them. I prefer this new way – the PlayStation 3 SingStar games seem to have a more diverse song collection where songs are chosen from a fairly wide spectrum of genres (well, wide for pop music anyway), instead of from just one. Your purchase decision once again boils down to whether you like the idea of singing with friends, and if you do, whether you like the track selection.

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If you’re a SingStar fan of any order it’s essential to own at least one of the SingStar discs for the PlayStation 3 as it opens the door to the SingStore, an online song marketplace which currently has over 400 songs and counting. This really sets the PS3 version of the game head and shoulders above the PS2 version as you can put together your own track list from all the ones available online. Unfortunately there’s still no Thunder Road or Born to Run, but whether you like Coldplay, Duran Duran, Good Charlotte (heaven forbid), Billy Joel or stuff like Anberlin or the Flaming Lips there’ll be something for you to enjoy. There’s also a whole online section that allows you to share your videos (made with the EyeToy) and generally do MySpace-like stuff, which sounds pretty cool if that’s your thing.

So why would you get this disc over (or as well as) the other two volumes available on the PlayStation 3? Only the track list is different; everything else is exactly the same as before, so let the songs be your guide. I really like the selection on this disc, especially since it has one of my all time favourite song and music video – 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins. Couple that with some other classics like Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Kate Bush’s Babooshka and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and some great modern stuff like Viva La Vida by Coldplay and Timbaland’s The Way I Are and you have a tracklist that will please most people in the videogame generation who at least like pop music a little. I really like that the songs don’t overlap at all with the music in Rock Band or Guitar Hero as it sets SingStar apart as a different sort of experience centered around enjoying pop music as opposed to rock or metal, since not everyone likes rock or metal.

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The formula of original songs by original artists, along with the original music video (in HD where possible), is still solid, so as long as there’s new music to sing and not everyone is comfortable with downloading their music (or in the case of South Africa, can afford to) I’m sure Sony will continue to release these discs. And I’ll continue to play them. What better way to spend a Christmas time holiday than singing along to feelgood music with friends or family?

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The complete song list:

* Aerosmith – Cryin’
* Amy McDonald – This Is The Life
* Barry Manilow – Copacabana
* Coldplay – Viva La Vida
* David Bowie – Space Oddity
* Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s
* Dizzee Rascal feat. Calvin Harris & Chrome – Dance Wiv Me
* Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene…It’s An Arms Race
* Feargal Sharkey – A Good Heart
* Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
* Gwen Stefani feat. Akon – The Sweet Escape
* Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro
* Heaven 17 – Temptation
* k.d. lang – Constant Craving
* Kate Bush – Babooshka
* Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
* Lionel Ritchie – All Night Long (All Night)
* Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
* Paul McCartney And Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory
* Queen – Killer Queen
* Sara Bareilles – Love Song
* Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
* Take That – Could It Be Magic
* Texas – Say What You Want
* The Communards – Never Can Say Goodbye
* The Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go
* Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson – The Way I Are
* Timbaland feat. OneRepublic – Apologize
* Transvision Vamp – Baby I Don’t Care
* Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma

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