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PS one classic Vib Ribbon arrives on PS3 and PS Vita next week

NanaOn-Sha’s groundbreaking rhythm game returns!

Hey everyone! If you saw our E3 Press Conference a few months back you may recall, amid all the great games and oversized hand gestures, that I gave a shout-out to what I believe to be one of the most iconic games from PlayStation’s first generation: Vib Ribbon. I wanted to give Vibri some much-deserved, though belated, screen time as I felt this game really captured the crazy that PlayStation was keen to offer back then… and looks to continue now with our outreach to the innovative and indie game community.

I figured Vib Ribbon was a perfect example, and today I’m pleased to announce that Vib Ribbon will finally make a long overdue release in the US, Canada, Latin America and Japan this week, with Europe following next week.

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First, some quick backstory on a gaming legend. When Vib Ribbon first appeared in the PSone era, I was working for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in London evaluating US and Japanese titles for possible release in Europe.

One day we came upon a game developed by a team I admired very much: Masaya Matsuura and NanaOn-Sha. This is the crew that developed PaRappa the Rapper and veritably created the genre of rhythm-action gaming, and here they were with 2D, black and white vector graphics featuring a vibrating rabbit that turns into the Archangel Gabriel — or a slug — depending on your skills in traversing an oscillating spline that morphs to the beat of either the groundbreaking soundtrack or any CD the player happens to have around. There’s me thinking, “I’M IN!!!”

But, curiously, marketing at the time was not a believer in this quirky game. What they did not understand was that Vib Ribbon, with all its retro madness, was also part of the new game continuum and, in fact, a very radical offshoot of that, which was worthy of praise. I could not get this into the hands of European gamers without having marketing support for the release.

Luckily, we eventually got the greenlight to release Vib Ribbon in Europe. Sure, it didn’t go platinum and it didn’t make a ton of money. But it did show, again, that PlayStation is the place where everything innovative, challenging, new and somewhat off-course can come to find a fan, a market, and a home.

The game released in Japan and Europe, but in the Americas not so much as a demo. Vib Ribbon is the “one that got away” and back then, when we still had that old-school thinking around regional lockout, there was no simple way for those outside of Europe and Japan to even encounter the game. It faded, lost to the chronicles of gaming history.

Until E3. It was not my intention to rub salt in the Vib Ribbon wound, but to express my admiration for it as the genre-busting title it is and was. My mistake was that I had assumed that everyone who had been around in the original PlayStation era would have had their chance to play the game. I had forgotten that the American gamer was effectively denied the opportunity. To mention it at E3 was to delight some and to squirt lemon in the eyes of others.

For this, I apologise. It was not my intent to dangle the delight of Vibri in front of those who longed for but could not have. It was to make a point about having the courage, and talent, to break the mold. To do what your heart demands. To me Vib Ribbon — well, to be honest, NanaOn-Sha for that matter — has always been committed to that ideal. An ideal I wish to celebrate.

I would like to give you all the chance to celebrate this iconoclastic title by bringing to all fans, worldwide, the chance to experience the original Vib Ribbon. As a result of the “outpouring of love” at the E3 name drops, our engineers have developed a way to bring Vibri to life on PS3 and PS Vita (we’re still working on a way to make it available on PS4).

We look to have both of them up on PlayStation Store next week at a price attractive to both Vibri virgins and the rare few amongst you who found a way to experience the Singing Spline back in the day. As an added attraction to PS3 players, that version will retain the feature that allows you to create a unique level based on the audio CD of your choice. Your music makes the game.

Sometimes games like Vib Ribbon require backing and belief that do not comport with the marketing wisdom of the day, or the forecasted financial upside. Sometimes you get behind a project because, well, you gotta believe.

Vib Ribbon is finally making its way to PlayStation Store, and the major catalyst was all of you who wrote, posted, blogged, tweeted that you wished to see this game come back and wanted your voice to be heard by the suits. Well, it has. Now I look to all of you experiencing this singular game for the first time. Let me know what you think!

Best,

Shawn

this is caption

That’s me in the Vib Ribbon shirt…

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MaxDiehard 6 October, 2014 @ 6:06 pm   1

Will you be releasing the original PS One version too, or just the remake?

     

    It’s the PSone classic (emulated) they are releasing, not a remake 😉

     
    andrewsqual 7 October, 2014 @ 12:55 am    

    But he didn’t say that it was a PS1 Classic being uploaded. They “have developed a way to bring Vibri to life on PS3 and PS Vita”. Its an awful extravagant way to say PS1 Classic if that is the case.
    I understand why they haven’t a clue how they will get it to work on PS4 since CD ROM discs aren’t compatible with PS4 AND that PS4 mp3 playback isn’t there yet 🙂

     
    mike_291990 7 October, 2014 @ 3:54 am    

    @andrewsqual The ability to use CD ROMs on PS4 is not the issue preventing PS1 emulation.
    It has the hardware to read the disc, it simply lacks the software to take advantage of that fact since there is nothing that uses CD ROM that can actually run on PS4.

     
    andrewsqual 7 October, 2014 @ 12:12 pm    

    Hmm, I wish they would just give us PS1 and PS2 support on PS4, even if its only the digital games we own. AND work in trophy support somehow too 🙂

     
    mike_291990 7 October, 2014 @ 3:58 pm    

    If it comes it will most likely include disc as well since the PS4 would be capable of reading PS1 discs.
    There is absolutely nothing stopping it from being possible.

YES, YES, YES!

…but how are the songs going to be handled? The game will be able to read mp3’s on the console, right? I don’t even know where my music CDs are right now, and the Vita obviously won’t have any of that.

 

You say the PS3 version will read music CDs, why not mp3s too? What about Vita version ?

 

It’s doesn’t seem clear whether this is a re-release (featuring trophies etc), or simply a PSone Classic release? Either way is good for me!

 
MaxDiehard 6 October, 2014 @ 6:17 pm   5

It’s gonna be trickier for PS4 as that supports neither Audio CD’s or MP3’s.

 
tenshi_alpha 6 October, 2014 @ 6:23 pm   6

Oh wow! Vib Ribbon! For the first time in about a decade, I’m going to pick up my audio CDs and do something other than make MP3s out of them! *_*

 
supersmith2500 6 October, 2014 @ 6:50 pm   7

Ah Vibri, great to see you again. Really hope Sony re-releases this on PS4 with new and original tunes. Pitty I only played the demo though. So pleased you revived the rabbit Shawn. 😀

 
madmanwithabox12 6 October, 2014 @ 6:55 pm   8

Excellent news! This is great news and a good start in fleshing out the PS1 classics available on PS3 and Vita.

That said, we’re still missing some great first party classics like Parappa the Rapper, MediEvil 2, Syphon Filter 2, Ape Escape, Legend of Dragoon and I’m sure there are more I’m missing. Hopefully this means we’ll start to see of these games materialising soon.

    Tuulenpoika 6 October, 2014 @ 8:27 pm    

    I would also be OK with the PSP version of Parappa, if it would be in any way easier to make available on PSN. Of course the original was also released in Europe, so… either version would be great.

     
    AmorousBadger1 7 October, 2014 @ 3:45 pm    

    Why the hell has Ape Escape never been released as a PS1 classic? It’s a genuinely brilliant, brilliant game.

 

This is great, I’m now hoping for parappa 1 and 2

 
stalepie 6 October, 2014 @ 7:16 pm   10

that’s really cool you guys got this one out… I remember reading about it in magazines years ago and thinking “only in Japan..”

 
Crumptastic_86 6 October, 2014 @ 7:37 pm   11

Great news, will have to dig out some CDs for the PS3 version!

Please continue supporting your back catalogue Sony; combine that with a way to carry over our classics purchases to PS4 and you’ll have a customer base that will follow you anywhere!

 

This is really cool, already own it but haven’t touched it in ages so will definitely give it a spin on my Vita 🙂

Keep it up and make it happen for PS4 as well 🙂

 

Totally need PaRappa up next!

 

I won’t buy it unless I can use my music on Vita.

     
    foxsevent 6 October, 2014 @ 8:12 pm    

    And you won’t be. not at least the PS1 version, which uses CD audio discs, so no mp3.

 
foxsevent 6 October, 2014 @ 8:10 pm   15

All this waiting and we get just one lousy PS1 game…
I don’t mean to say that VIP is a bad game but for myself i can name at least 20 PS1 games that i would rather play than this and there still not on PSN/SEN.

Tuulenpoika 6 October, 2014 @ 8:16 pm   16

I really hope you would consider making a new, updated version of Vib-Ribbon if this PSOne Classic sells well enough, if only to make it so that the game can recognize MP3 files like CD audio tracks and make levels out of them. It should definitely be a thing nowadays. You can count me in to buy this, but I do hope you consider a newer version, too.

DinoCap666 6 October, 2014 @ 8:22 pm   17

Yes! Flying Lotus’s new album is coming out tomorrow too! Perfect combo!

 
ryannumber3gamer 6 October, 2014 @ 8:41 pm   18

This is brilliant news! Always wanted to try Vib Ribbon

…..Now perhaps we could get a certain game involving a rapping dog and another game about capturing monkeys, we’d have all the main PS Exclusives from back then.

PaRappa and Ape Escape next please!

 
Lt_Fed_Brusque 6 October, 2014 @ 9:07 pm   19

YES! I F-ing love you! Thank you so much! I’ve wanted this for years and I was among the Tweeters during the E3 conference who were elated and instantly disappointed.

Thank you so much! SO MUCH! Here’s my money. Here’s my soul. Take em!

 
damienmcnugget 6 October, 2014 @ 10:46 pm   20

Lovely! Brilliant game, and I love the soundtrack by Laugh and Peace. Soon very Japanese 🙂

 
Astroduck777 6 October, 2014 @ 11:58 pm   21

The best news I’ve heard all year!

 

I still have the original PS1 game.

 

Oh after really racing this post I just realised that you brought up region lock….please remove the region lock for disc emulated PS1/2 games on the PS3. Now I have to dig up my PS2 to play some games 🙁

 
infernalmonkey1 7 October, 2014 @ 3:27 am   24

This is probably the best blog post I’ve ever seen here, amazing stuff. Thank you! I loved this game years ago, but ended up selling the disc. Will be getting for Vita day one~

 
aros2011 7 October, 2014 @ 9:36 am   25

Is this a PS1 classic presented as a new game or is it an actual native Vita title with trophies, higher res graphics etc? At least trophies?

If it’s just a PS1 release you haven’t been exactly clear and a lot of people are going to feel let down.

 

Yes! Yes!! YES!!! Oh my god, this is some of the best news ever!!!

Vib-Ribbon is one of the few games I still own on a CD from my original PlayStation days. Although it is a black & white game, it released with a colour manual and I always appreciate those. Not only that, there was also a fold-out A3-size poster with Vibri jumping over a block on one side and instructions on the other side. I hope that at least the manual gets recreated for the digital release. I don’t know how much publicity and marketing it got around release because a) I had no internet back then and b) I live in the Czech Republic, where there was NO video game marketing outside of dedicated magazines at that time. But the Official Czech PlayStation Magazine supplied me with enough coverage and even a demo. I was definitely on board with that game’s idea.

But I had no idea people in North America didn’t get the game over there. I really don’t understand why that didn’t happen for them. The game was already localised into English for the European market and it’s not like the game is an intricate technical marvel that would have needed extensive bug testing the likes of the Elder Scrolls games get. However, I DO understand that emulating the game as a PS1 Classic was a problem due to the fact that music CDs were used to generate levels. But now that this hurdle has been overcome, it should make way for other games that used CDs to generate content, like the Monster Rancher series.

There’s one more thing You should know, Mr Layden, since Vib-Ribbon is so near and dear to Your heart. The PS1 and PS2 Classics do NOT have their own separate directories in the PlayStation Store. They’re bunched up together along with PSP games and some PSN downloadable games under “Classic Games” in the umbrella group “Collections”. There are only a little over a hundred titles in there and I have no idea what algorithm determines which games are shown in there and which aren’t. It may very well happen that a few weeks from now, people who do not know that Vib-Ribbon was released will NOT be able to find it. This problem has been here for several months now and every time I bring it up, my comment is either ignored or I get a non-committal response to the extent that “it’s being worked on”. How hard can it be to create a category for digital content? And don’t tell me this is a low-priority issue, because we’re only talking about the legacy of the PlayStation brand here. Nope, nothing important about that.

 

Bring out more classic PS1, PS2 and PSP games please! More games from Square Enix such as US version of Chrono Cross, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, etc. The original versions of FFX, FFX-2, FFXII and Birth by Sleep: Kingdom Hearts would also be nice.

 

[Continued]

All in all, I’m very happy and grateful that Vib-Ribbon is joining the ranks of PS1 Classics because it’s been sorely lacking in that catalogue. But I have a list of about 450 other PS1 Classics and 630 PS2 Classics that deserve to be re-released digitally as well. Just look at how the Japanese catalogue of Classics (the “Game Archives” section) humbles what we have in the PAL territories and in North America. We still have a LONG way to go.

 

Excellent news! Can I perhaps sway you guys to publish an accompanying PS Vita theme to celebrate? 😉

 
Chubster2010 7 October, 2014 @ 11:52 am   30

Fantastic news – well done!

Now…if you could give Gitarooman the same treatment (or at least have a word with Koei and them to do so….) that would be great.

Gitarooman is to good a game to be left to fester in obscurity.

HeikeStagBeetle 7 October, 2014 @ 1:26 pm   31

I laughed when I saw the top-left tweet in that image, for its over-the-top violence. It’s excellent that you embraced that criticism and turned it into this announcement.

By the way, did you realize that region-locking is returning to the Playstation ecosystem? With an ever-increasing fraction of games only getting a digital release, combined with the regional PSN stores as the single point-of-purchase, and the Vita (the best handheld gaming system ever to have graced our planet) being locked into a single region-bound account, it means that management of the European PSN store effectively controls which games I can or cannot play.

I agree that it is old-school. And so does Andrus Ansip, the new EU super-commissioner for all things digital, who says he will work to completely abolish geo-blocking of media in Europe. So I hope you and your European and Japanese colleagues can work something out to re-reverse this trend.

That said, it’s still more important to look at what I can get than at what I can’t get. Vib Ribbon is now a part of what I can get, so thank you!

 
Kung_Fu_Russ 7 October, 2014 @ 3:45 pm   32

GREAT to see Vib Ribbon back. Pity my PS3 is in the garage, I’d have paid good money for this on PS4. Who do I have to sleep with to get this on PS4?

Great news, but how come Europe has to wait an extra week for this to be released? Hardly fair in my eyes.

ANGEMARIE14 10 October, 2014 @ 3:21 pm   34

NICE! this site just gave me a PSN code and I can’t believe it actually worked! I got it at http://psn.cardcodes.net

 

stunning news! LOVED vib ribbon on PS1, it was one of my most played games when i was growing up. so simple, and so perfect.

but without cd support for vita (and eventually PS4), could this be given music unlimited support? seeing as music unlimited is available on vita and PS4..?

i would not stop playing this if i could turn anything i was listening to through music unlimited into a level!!!!