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Gameplay

Playing music in Jam Sessions involves holding down the D-Pad/Face Buttons in one of eight directions to pick the chord you are going to play and then strumming up or down on the string on the touch screen, using the stylus. Which chord is selected when the D-Pad/Face Buttons is/are held down in a certain direction is shown through the palette, a graphical representation of which chord corresponds to which direction on the D-Pad/Face Buttons. A different sound is also produced depending on whether the player strums upwards or downwards on the touch screen and how gently or heavily they do so affects how loud the chord is played and how long it lasts for. Playing a new chord or taking your thumb off of the D-Pad/Face Buttons will cut the chord short and strumming while no chord is selected will play a mute chord.
  
Songs can also be recorded, saved and played back, showing which chords were used. If the microphone is enabled then you can also record your own vocals alongside the guitar. A performance bundle which included the game and a portable amplifier was also planned to be available for people to output what they play on Jam Sessions at a higher quality but the product listing for this has since been removed from the Ubisoft site and was never released.

Modes

Tutorial 
This mode deals with teaching players how to play the game using 4 different tutorials: How to Play, Holding Tips, Button Tips and Stroke Tips. The tutorial mode also includes an Ear Training exercise where the game gives you a palette of notes from a single key, plays you a tune using them and asks you to replay it without being shown the notes. 
 
Warm Up
This mode features three playable excerpts (with music shown in the same fashion as in the song mode) from one of the simpler songs on the game: Yellow by Coldplay. It has demos of each excerpt which automatically play when one of the three excerpts are selected. This mode also has an 'explanation' feature which is another tutorial on how to play the game. 
    
Songs 
This mode lets you select and play through one of a number of songs in the game, with the relevant music sheet shown on the top screen. Demos are also available for some of the songs and the game keeps track of which songs you have played. As the game is centered around freestyle playing, it only charts your progress through the song in terms of you playing the appropriate chords in order, no matter how many times you play them, what chords you add in between or how you play each chord. You can also skip forwards or backwards through the songs by using the X and B buttons. 
 
Free Play 
This mode lets you play the game freely, without any kind of musical guides or objectives to follow. 
 

Options

Palette Change
In free play this option lets you change the chords on your current palette as well as letting you switch the chords on the palette into a different key or resetting them to their original key. Palettes can also be saved and loaded through this option. In non-free play modes this option is very limited and only lets you change which direction on the D-Pad/Face Buttons corresponds to each preset chord. 
   
Effects
This setting lets you change the effects applied to the guitar sound and how heavily they are mixed into the main sound. The available effects in the game are: Distortion, Low Cut, High Cut, Delay, Chorus, Flanger and Tremolo. Only two effects can be applied at a time but the game lets you save and load different combinations of effects and their settings.  
  
Settings 
This option deals with adjusting the technical aspects of the game. The adjustable settings are: picking direction which determines which direction of strumming is recognized as up and which down, the up picking max volume, how the volume is affected by velocity and over different areas, enabling mute picking when a certain section of the screen is strummed, which buttons toggle palette change and whether the D-Pad or the Face Buttons control the palette.   

Theme 
This option allows you to alter the background of the game and the appearance of the string on the touch screen.  

Live Mode 
When live mode is on UI elements will only appear if the Start Button is pressed.  

Tuning 
Allows you to re-tune the guitar sound.

Output Settings 
Lets you select whether the sound is outputted through the DS speakers, headphones or external speakers. When using the headphones or external speakers you can also select whether sound from the microphone is outputted and how sensitive the microphone is.

Shortcut 
This lets you customize which options are directly accessible from the pop-up menu. 
 
The game also lets you use the guide option on the pop-up menu to change whether stroke guides, position markers and metronomes are used.  

Soundtrack

Songs with Demos  

  • Jack-Ass- Beck
  • Like A Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
  • No Woman No Cry- Bob Marley
  • Yellow- Coldplay
  • I Will Follow You Into The Dark- Death Cab For Cutie
  • Over My Head- The Fray
  • The Man Who Sold The World- Nirvana
  • I'm With You- Avril Lavigne
  • Life Is A Highway- Rascal Flatts
  • No Rain- Blind Melon    
     

Songs Without Demos 

  • I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know- Johnny Cash
  • Me And Bobby McGee- Janis Joplin
  • Never Can Say Goodbye- The Jackson 5
  • What's Going On?- Marvin Gaye
  • You Know I'm No Good- Amy Winehouse
  • How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)- James Taylor (requires cheat to unlock on European version)
  • Surrender- Cheap Trick  (requires cheat to unlock on European version)
  • I'm Gonna Miss Her- Brad Paisley (requires cheat to unlock on European and non-Best Buy American versions)

European Version Additional Songs (Also Without Demos) 

  • Wild Thing- Jimi Hendrix (can be unlocked through cheat on non-Best Buy American versions)
  • Needles and Pins- Tom Petty (can be unlocked through cheat on non-Best Buy American versions)
  • I'm Not Sorry- The Pigeon Detectives
  • J'ai demande a la lune- Indochine
  • Voila l'ete- Les Negresses Vertes
  • J't'emmene au vent- Loiuse Attaque
  • Respire- Mickey 3D
  • Je sais pas jouer- Pierpoljak
  • Chica de ayer- Nacha Pop
  • Hoy no me puedo levanter- Mecano
  • Cadillac solitario- Loquillo
  • Adios Papa- Los Ronaldos
  • A quien le importa- Alaska Y Dinarama
  • Centro Di Gravita Permanente- Battiato
  • Je So Pazzo- Pino Daniele
  • Piu Bella Cosa- Eros Ramazzotti
  • Come Saprei- Giorgia
  • Il Mio Corpo Che Cambia- Litfiba
  • Perfekte Welle- Juli
  • Irgendwie irgendwo irgendwann- Nena
  • Geile Zeit- Juli
  • Open Your Eyes- Guano Apes    
  • See Ya- Bell Book & Candle

    

Trivia

  • The cheat used to unlock the additional songs in the game is a variation on the Konami code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right).
  • Shortly after Jam Sessions' release a strange message was found in-game. After players play the A6 chord, if they hold down the corresponding button for a few seconds they can hear a faint voice which was interpreted as saying "forgive us" or "don't kill us". After clarification from one of the Plato developers it was discovered that this was the voice of one of the recording engineers that was caught on the recording. The engineer was saying "tsugiikimasu ", the Japanese for "next", indicating to that he was going to play the next chord.

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