I rarely buy import games, for a few reasons: 1) I don’t read Japanese; 2) I don’t want the hassles and expense of yet another console (or hacking one I own); 3) I have patience that the good stuff comes out here eventually. But if it’s a game involving guitars, well, I’m a lot less patient. I bought the import of Guitar Freaks for PlayStation back in the day, and when friends let me know about M-06 — a Nintendo DS cartridge that simulates an acoustic guitar, right down to strumming the touch screen — I realized that I didn’t need to read Japanese, didn’t need import hardware (DS games run on US units with no territorial lockout issues), and for $30, could afford to be impatient. My pal Christian just came back from a trip to Japan and was nice enough to snag a copy for me.

It’s fun — for me — but I can’t imagine it being fun if you are not obsessed with guitar, of course. You can play songs with it; changing chords is easy and you can create custom chord lists for original music if you like. There’s apparently even a bit of play-along karaoke if you can read the Japanese lyrics. I hear rumors that Ubisoft is bringing it to the US, and I will happily buy it again to support the concept.

I would love to go do an open-mic night, walk up with a guitar case, take this out, plug it into a small amp, and perform.

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