Music as Gameplay: Johann Sebastian Joust, Played With Only Sound and Gesture

Think back to playing a simply childhood game like Musical Chairs. The actual gameplay depends only on auditory clues – something you take for granted as a kid, but something apparently lost on game engineers who insist exclusively on advanced 3D rendering engines for visuals. And because you get your body involved, the game becomes dynamic. That musical cue isn’t just off in the background: in the dizzying run around the chairs, the soundtrack can become the singular focus of your brain, an urgent score to the — DIVE, got the chair! As the scene around game experimentation grows richer, …

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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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New Music Games+Tools for iPad, Xbox 360, in Circles and Tenori-On Grids

In the blurring areas between gaming and creation, toys and tools, there’s certainly a lot of action, spurred on by platforms for sharing software. Pulse is a new title for the iPad, an ambient rhythmic gaming experience with a unique interface centering around a series of concentric circles. The graphic design looks gorgeous in its abstraction, as much music visualization and animation as game UI. The developer, Cipher Prime, has done this kind of terrific work before – their work includes the ambient streams of colored particles in Auditorium, the Flash-based browser game, followed by the Mac + PC game …

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Rock Band 3 Mustang Guitar as Expressive MIDI Controller: Frets, Strings, and Accelerometer

As a guitar, the Rock Band 3 Mustang is a bit unusual – there are strings, but an array of buttons replaces the frets, and it is intended as a game controller. But with all those buttons, strings, and sensors, it makes a remarkably flexible, surprisingly inexpensive controller. Our friend nay-seven puts it to good use with Sensomusic Usine. And talk about a budget-minded setup – one that could put platforms like the iPad to shame. Usine costs just EUR90 for a full license, with discounted educational pricing and a version you can try for free. The Mustang runs just …

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In Free iPhone Game WINtA, a New Take on Music Gaming from the Genre’s Pioneer

While the object of both vigorous praise and criticism, music games have helped people see music and musical interfaces in new ways. Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper) is known as the father of that genre. With a new title, you can try out his latest music gaming concept for free, on iPod touch and iPhone. The game is the product of a collaboration with Dutch developer Triangle Studios (makers of the iPhone port of augmented reality browser Layar). And it’s all for a good cause: the OneBigGame effort is using proceeds from track sales for this title and other gaming …

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Sound Design, in Video: DesigningSound.tv

“HALO: REACH” Game Audio Profile from Michael Coleman on Vimeo. Our friends at Designing Sound have been rocking out on that site, with extraordinary original and linked content for sound designers, ranging from work on games, broadcast, and films to sonic exploration for the curious field recorder or producer. (Designing Sound is hosted by CDM and Noisepages – hence the new template, which will benefit from some corrections we’re making over the coming days.) Now, they’ve launched a second site just to pull together video content. If you love sound design of any kind, get ready to curl up on …

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A Game of Checkers Becomes a Step Sequencer, Ableton Live Controller

Checkerboard Step Sequencer V2 from Josh Silverman on Vimeo. Shall we play a game? Have your checkers chops ready, because Josh Silverman’s Checkerboard Step Sequencer, a tangible interface for music, will test both your game mettle and your grooves. Built with the open source coding tool OpenFrameworks and Ableton Live as sound source, the checkerboard fuses computer vision technology and … well, some beats. This video should make obvious the relationship between the position of the checkers pieces and the noises they represent and trigger. It’s still a work in progress, but for now I won’t subject you to the …

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Hands-on: Rock Band 3’s Keytar, a Surprisingly Serious $80 MIDI Keyboard

The Rock Band keytar Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard, next to an iPod touch, for scale. What if a gaping product hole for musicians were filled by a game company instead of a musical instruments company? There’s no need to imagine: pick up the new Rock Band 3 keyboard, and you’ll see what I mean. Consider: most sub-$100 and compact keyboards have dumped 5-PIN MIDI DIN ports in favor of USB only – little comfort if you want to plug a keyboard into that DIY sound module or eBay treasure. (Alesis’ QS25 is one exception, but even a $150 M-Audio …

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Exclusive Details: How the Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang Works as a MIDI Guitar

A toy controller – in a good way. The Mustang Pro guitar controller for Rock Band 3 is equipped with a full MIDI implementation and standard 5-pin port to connect to synths and computers. Since the very first Guitar Hero game, musicians have found ways of converting game music controllers into genuine music controllers, through various hacks and tricks. But now, no hackery is needed: Rock Band 3’s new “Pro” controllers ship with actual MIDI DIN ports on the back. With the help of Harmonix, we get to look inside how that MIDI implementation works. The Rock Band 3 Fender …

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Rock Band 3 Gets Real Keyboard, Guitar, and … MIDI I/O

Nope, you’re not hallucinating. Whatever line there was between playing Rock Band as a game and playing Rock Band as musical instruments has now more or less evaporated with the release of Rock Band 3. Yes, there’s a keyboard, and yes, you can add a strap to it, if that makes it a keytar for you. But there’s more to it than that. For the gaming world’s take on the ratcheted-up difficulty and actual music making functionality, Joystiq interviews Daniel Sussman at Harmonix. The keyboard parts are real keyboard parts. The only difference between Rock Band / Guitar Hero parts …

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