29 December 2010

Complexity Will Not Save the Music Genre - by David Wesley

      Posted 08/21/10 08:11:00 am  

Long before Guitar Hero, Harmonix founder and lead developer Alex Rigopulos had a vision -- to bring the joy of music making to the masses. In the late 1990s, he and co-founder Eran Egozy were studying music education at the MIT Media Lab, when they discovered something that would eventually lead to one of the most successful video game franchises in history – that creating music was a fundamental human experience, but few people had the time or patience to master an instrument. In a 2004 interview, Rigopulos said,

Playing music is, I think, one of the most fundamentally joyful experiences that life has to offer. Just about everyone tries at some point in their life to learn to play music: piano lessons as a kid, guitar lessons as a teenager, or whatever. The overwhelming majority of people give it up after six months or a year in frustration, just because it's too difficult to learn to play music the old-fashioned way.

When Rigopulos and Egozy founded Harmonix, they made several games that garnered wide industry praise, such as Frequency and Amplitude. However, none of these early games was as successful as they had hoped.  Then along came toy importer Red Octane. They wanted to bring a widely successful Japanese rhythm game called Guitar Freaks to the US so that they could import and sell the plastic guitar controllers.

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