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The History of Music Games


Everyday Shooter - PlayStation Network 2007
Released on PSN, ES is a twin-stick shooter - like Geometry Wars - where you blast the crap out of anything that isn’t you. The interesting part is that ES is made up of an all-guitar soundtrack, where each resulting explosion produces a guitar riff that harmonizes in real time to the rest of the music.


Boogie - Wii and PS2 2007
This mostly forgettable title merges SingStar antics - microphone included! - with simple dance gameplay (move the Wiimote left, right, up or down in time with the beat of the song). Players could string together movements and pull off special dance moves, netting more points. Built as a party game, there’s enough to keep you busy, including 40 songs (covers), player customization and a music video creation mode. The PS2 version was slightly useless considering the lack of a Wiimote. A sequel is in the works for use with the Balance Board.


Rock Band - PS3/360/PS2 2007, Wii 2008
Capitalizing again where Konami could have arguably dusted the competition, Harmonix added a drum kit and a mic to the Guitar Hero guitar/bass formula. Now, rather than having to wait for your turn while 1-2 friends play, up to four people can simulate an actual band playing along to mostly masters of popular songs. And while having DLC in a game is nothing new (Guitar Hero II for the 360 supported song packs), Harmonix consistently supports the game and releases regular song packs. Today, full albums are being distributed from bands like The Cars and Pixies.


Audiosurf - PC 2008
In Steam’s downloadable F-Zero-esque puzzle game, you literally get to play your own music. Your computer magically transforms your music collection into stages based on the tempo of the song, e.g. slower, soothing songs are uphill and slower, while Dragonforce tunes will send you spiraling down to the depths of candy-colored Hell. Your goal is to collect the colored blocks to form clusters of three or more earning you all kinds of points, while avoiding the constant roadblocks - all of which are generated by the music. Grab it here.


Battle of the Bands - Wii North America 2008
Working similarly to Bust a Groove, players wave the Wiimote in sync with the notes scrolling onscreen. You can even send out attacks to damage the other player’s score - kinda like Guitar Hero III. The gimmick here is that each of the 30 licensed songs is performed in 5 different cover versions - rock, hip hop, country, Latin and Marching Band. Before each song, you and your opponent choose a musical style for each song and the player scoring the most points gets to hear their style over the player. Why there was a need to hear Electric Six sung in Country, we don’t know. But hell, we haven’t really complained about the thousands of J-pop songs in most of the other games, so there ya go.

Have a favorite music game that rocks your face? Head over to our forums and share with us.

June 3, 2008

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