iPad Meets Kinect, Twister Meets Tenori-On: Behind the Scenes of Pxl Pusher Music Game

What happens when you meld the most futuristic Microsoft technology with the most futuristic Apple technology with the most ColecoVision-esque graphics as built in Jitter? Or you create gameplay that couples physical human contortion with the step sequencing rhythms of music? A different take on music games, that’s what. Developers Matt (“M@tt”) Boch and Ryan Challinor work, in their day jobs, on the music game as most people know it, at Harmonix. Harmonix’s roots remain in the rhythm game, so that music play, even at its most serious, is still about musical timing accuracy. Pxl Pusher is a very different …

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Platforming as Musical Interface: Jonathan Mak Shows Sound Shapes for New PlayStation Vita

Load up an Ableton set or mix samples, and you’re already in the domain of interactive music. With joysticks and arcade buttons and other controls, the blending of game and musical interface into generative compositional fusion is even clearer. It’s little wonder many electronic musicians take an interest in the nexus of gaming and music. Any discussion of interactive music scores for games would be incomplete without Jonathan Mak. His self-produced title Everyday Shooter used classic top-down space combat as a musical experience: not only do sound effects in the game act as musical elements, but even the flow of …

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Isle of Tune: City Simulation as Music Sequencing, Soon to Leap from Browser to Mobile

A music score is, in essence, a way of making space into time: traversing notation from left to right and top to bottom, you move through a series of events. So, why not make that spatial map an actual map, as in the familiar, isometric interactive cityscape popularized by Will Wright’s classic game Sim City? Isle of Tune does just that: lay out trees, houses, and city streets, and you sequence musical patterns as virtual islands. It’s available right now on the Web, powered by Flash – Chrome users can even get a one-click install via the Chrome Web Store. …

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Game Meets Album: Behind the Music and Design of the iPad Indie Blockbuster Swords & Sworcery

Jim Guthrie was a rockstar long before the iPad was. Paired with pixel-intense artist Craig D. Adams (aka Superbrothers) and the co-design and coding effort of a crack team of video game “wizards” at the indie studio capy, he’s made a soundtrack that’s destined to be a gaming classic. But if you don’t want to play it, you can still listen to it. And if you’re playing it, you may find that it feels as though you’re listening to it, and gazing into its artwork. From the moment you tap to launch it, Swords & Sworcery plunges you into a …

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Rock Band 3, Behind the Scenes: When A Music Game Gets More Real

Play testing Rock Band’s challenging new play modes. You know, challenging — kind of like music. Alli Thresher, community moderator, and Jessa Brezinski, intern. What Harmonix has achieved with Rock Band, and their original Guitar Hero, is remarkable. At their core, these games are descended from arcade rhythm games, reducing music to simple coordination of a few buttons. Yet numerous studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that, in an age in which recording has made musical experience passive for many, the fantasy of holding a plastic instrument is enough to convince people to explore music making again. Rock Band’s collaborative gameplay …

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Truly Last-Minute Gift: Osmos, the CDM Game of the Year, for Mac and Windows

For a truly unique and very much last-minute gift for anyone you know, look to CDM’s favorite game of year, the gorgeous, blood pressure-lowering title for Windows and – at long last – Mac. I may personally identify a little too much with the abstract protagonist of this game, as my holiday activities could well be described as floating around the universe, sucking particles into my gravity well as I grow in size. But whether or not I feel literally like an expanding bubble of matter, one of my favorite experiences this year was entering this ingenious physics-based game. It …

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Blip Festival Handmade Music Opener, and the Sega Mega Drive Meets MIDI + Launchpad

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We get to enjoy the sounds and sights made by chips, independent games, and Novation Launchpad-controlled Sega Mega Drives. Blip Fest hits NYC this week in a celebration of vintage and lo-fi chips and the wonderful, blippy music they produce. To get things started right on Wednesday night, we have a special edition of Handmade Music, the DIY music party/science fair/noisy racket series, in a special location — the opening of Babycastles, a new, permanent home for independent games. (Think “indie arcade,” an idea I hope spreads worldwide.) If you’re in the …

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Music, Physics, Space in Perfect Fusion: Interview, Creators of Game Osmos

You’ll want superb music on loop, because it may … take some time to get out of this puzzle. Musicians and artists now have the power to fuse visuals, sound, and interaction, to make a spectacle, an album, and a game all at once. But with the blank canvas of three different media before you, what form should that fusion take? Space shooters with pounding electronic beats behind them have cleared some of the way. Now it’s ambient music’s turn. In the game Osmos, you become a mysterious particle, floating amongst gravity wells in various fields of material. By carefully …

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Inside Beaterator, Rockstar Games’ New PSP Beat Maker, with Gory Technical Bits

What’s that? A full-blown synth interface on the PSP – in a title from the makers of GTA, with Timbaland’s named plastered all over it? Yep. That’s exactly what it is. As you may know, the creators of games like Grand Theft Auto have collaborated with Timbaland to bring a mobile music studio to Sony’s PSP (and later, the iPhone), based on an ambitious free Flash experiment on their Website. Now, it’s my impassioned belief that you shouldn’t need lots of canned loops or celebrity endorsements to make music fun, so normally I might actually run the opposite direction of …

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Kids Making Music: Interactive Music Box Draws Experience from Games

Ten minutes. Four or five kids (or adults). Make a song. Go. That’s the idea behind the Youth Music Box, developed by Silent Studios and Chris O’Shea. (Our friend Chris you may recall from various interactive projects and the blog pixelsumo; he sends this project our way.) The software is build in openFrameworks, the C++-based creative coding environment for artists. With keys, drums, and yes, even a scratching DJ-style interface, the music box brings together kids for quick music making, inspired by the phenomenon of musical games. The experience is guided by genre, with some effort to make sure whatever …

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