-Returning to some of our Gamasutra GDC coverage, I finally got round to reading Frank Cifaldi's excellent write-up of "From 'Ouendan!' to 'HELP!': Inside the Elite Beat Agents" - Keiichi Yano's talk about "the developer history that lead to last year's release of Nintendo's hit rhythm game for the Nintendo DS."

Was this cool? Well, damn, let's start with this fact: "With him were two fully-dressed ouendan - Japanese male cheerleaders - who occasionally cheered him on, a la the original game's premise."

What's more: "Yano showed the prototype video presentation he used to pitch Ouendan. The video looked, more or less, like the final game: a scenario played out on the DS's top screen, and on the bottom screen, the ouendan cheered people into overcoming adversity. The song, Morning Musume's "Koi no Dance Site," would be used in the final game. The stage premise, involving a crowd trying to physically prevent a train from hitting a watery-eyed puppy stuck on its tracks, did not." Ouch!

Finally, on the Ouendan sequel - Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashi - Osu! Tatake! Ouendan 2. "Loosely," said Yano, "that translates to 'Burn! Hot-Blooded Rhythm Soul.'": "Two screenshots were shown, clearly showing that the new cheer squad are playable characters. These shots depicted a level scenario in which a businessman has purchased too many shoes, and has to unload them somehow. His desperation takes him as far as outer space, where he tries to sell shoes to alien creatures." Wuhoh, the whole office is so buying this.