Video Game / Vib-Ribbon

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vib3_8.jpg
The rabbit with sass.

Walking by the ribbon
Luck is by my side.
Raindrops falling on me
I have no umbrella
Laugh and Peace, Polaroid, or at least what it sounds like

Vib-Ribbon is a Rhythm Game produced by NanaOn-Sha of PaRappa the Rapper and UmJammer Lammy fame, and released for the Sony PlayStation. In it, you have to guide a rabbit named Vibri across a mobius strip called the Vib-Ribbon, dodging obstacles along the way. There are four basic obstacles (spikes, blocks, loops, and pits), which can further be combined into a dual obstacle (for example, spiky loops and blocks with pits in the middle). The obstacles appear in time with the music, and reaching the end of the song means reaching the end of the stage. Hitting too many obstacles causes Vibri to devolve (from rabbit to frog to worm to game over), although successfully navigating ten in a row causes Vibri to evolve back up (and potentially go from rabbit to princess).

The game is distinct for two reasons. One, it's a Vector Game - despite when it was developed, it runs entirely on vector graphics. While not monochrome (the scale at the bottom showing remaining time and the scoring gems are in color), it is a throwback to the primitive graphics of the early 80's.

The second, and perhaps most significant, is that it can make a level out of any CD track. Because the actual coding for Vib-Ribbon is so sparse, the entire game itself fits on the PlayStation's RAM, allowing the player to swap out the game disc for any CD to be read and its songs converted to levels. Moreover, the six built-in tracks to the game are also in CD format, so the game is already its own soundtrack.

Vib-Ribbon was followed up by two sequels: Mojib Ribbon, which could make Parappa-style rap levels out of .txt files, and Vib Ripple, which turned digitized images into hidden object games. Neither were released outside of Japan, the former most likely for being near impossible to localize. The original finally became available for download on the Play Station Network in North America on October 17, 2014, a solid 15 years after its initial release.


Vib Ribbon contains examples of:

  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The whole game. Vibri can't move across stages, so you must use precise timing to navigate through the various obstacles.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Should you miss an obstacle, you lose your combo, and the ribbon starts vibrating. Of course, the vibrations make it much more difficult to tell when to hit the correct dodge for the next obstacle, which makes it really simple to get to the ten misses required to devolve (or, if currently as the worm, a game over). This can be really nerve-wracking when combined with the other flavors of Interface Screw.
  • Difficulty by Acceleration: Obstacles and perspective shifts become faster and trickier as the tempo of the song changes.
  • Difficulty Spike: The bridges in "Overflowing Emotions" shift from a massive increase in tempo to slowing the level to a crawl. The game had changed the song structure before, but it had been done more subtly.
  • Endless Running Game: An earlier example than most.
  • Engrish: Of the six songs included in-game, four are like this ("Polaroid," "Sunny Day," "Laugh and Peace," and "Universal Dance."). The other two are in Japanese.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Vibri's final form.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Eventually, some of the obstacles will start spinning, which can make it hard at times to tell what precise obstacle is coming, depending on where the rotation is at.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Which go from worm to frog to rabbit to fairy princess.
  • Genki Girl: Vibri is very cheerful and energetic.
  • Harder Than Hard: Album mode - you play every track on the current CD, randomized. And the longer it goes on, the more Interface Screws the game throws at you. By the end, you'll be watching combined obstacles stacked on each other moving at different speeds while spinning as the game switches to an isometric view.
  • Interface Screw: The longer the song goes, the more of these you deal with - including obstacles moving at different paces and orientation shifts that make it easier to misjudge obstacle placement. The tracks can also switch directions.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Vibri's song for getting a high score changes in structure depending on how good the player did, and she reads the numbers individually (in Japanese, of course).
  • Marathon Level: Long tracks can really test your reflexes as the level becomes harder to navigate and keep up a string of combos.
  • Meaningful Name: Vibri can be seen as a play on vibration or vibrant, both fitting her personality.
  • Music Player Game: The Ur-Example.
  • Nintendo Hard: Despite the simple premise making use of four buttons, the combo system can get pretty frantic and challenging, more so in the second Silver and Gold tracks.
  • The Pollyanna: Vibri again. Even getting a game over doesn't crush her spirit:
    Vibri cannot go on...just kidding!
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Vibri, in her own angular scribbled way. The big eyes and adorable voice really help.
  • Rhythm Game
  • Scoring Points: Confusingly, your score is described during play by a series of shapes at the top of the screen, which is converted to a numerical value at the end. It's possible to convert this in your head, but usually you get distracted by the levels.
  • Speaking Simlish: Vibri's voice sounds like this, but it's actually high-pitched, high-speed Japanese.
  • Surprisingly Good English: While the pronunciation isn't perfect, the singing does manage to distinguish between the b, v, l, and r consonants and remains gramatically correct for the most part. "Overflowing Emotions" is still pretty impenetrable, however.
  • Vector Game
  • Widget Series

Mojib Ribbon contains examples of:

  • Distaff Counterpart: Mojiko to Mojiburi.
  • Humongous Mecha: Osorezan 1999, the last playable character.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: One of the main reasons the game never left Japan.
  • Wingding Eyes/ASCII Art: Mojiburi's face is the letters ".txt" with a mouth underneath, with the two t's serving as eyes and the x serving as a nose. Mojiko's face looks like this (*。*) with a mouth underneath. Osorezan 1999 has a number sign for his right eye, but his face is otherwise not able to be recreated in basic text.

Vib Ripple contains examples of:

  • Toilet Humor: Boonchies, Vibri's main obstacle in the game, are differently-colored piles of feces with faces.


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