Trends come and go. But the good ones are here to stay, and this applies to video games as much as anything else. Some video games and characters have been around sine the 80’s, and we have seen them evolve to meet the times. One such Video Game that seems to constantly evolve is the Music Video Game genre. The genre had humble beginnings, and has taken some shots recently, but it still seems to be sticking around.
The genre began with the game “Dance Dance Revolution” in the 90’s, where players would step on a pattern of corresponding arrows, that were shown on the screen and synced to the beat of a song. It started slow but when it picked up momentum, all the arcades were packed with gamers lining up to show off what they got.
Later, the release of karaoke games like “American Idol” and “Karaoke Revolution” let people show off what they had vocally. There were glitches when these games first came out, but they really did help the genre move along, especially since they were a great compliment to singing shows like “American Idol” that continue to blow up.
As the genre evolved, we saw the release of “Guitar Hero”, with many not knowing what to think about it because it required actual coordination to play. With familiar songs and different levels, this game became an instant hit. The game also brought people together with it’s competition friendly format. It used to be the people playing the game were the only ones that would be able to interact with the game. With “Guitar Hero”, everyone was part of the game whether they were playing or just singing along with the songs being played. The game evolved into “Guitar Hero II” and III, both turning into mega-hits. This only left gamers wanting so much more.
They got what they wanted with the creation of “Rock Band.” By throwing in a microphone and a drum set, “Rock Band” took what “Guitar Hero” had created to the next level. With more than one instrument to play, this game really did get everyone involved. The best part of the game was you really didn’t need to know how to play an instrument. Some people however, were convinced that they could translate their “Rock Band” skills to an actual instrument. This was only a small issue though, and “Rock Band”” put the Music Video Game genre where no one ever thought possible. They even threw in a keyboard for the latest installment.
Lately the genre has taken some hits. After terrible sales on their last installment of “Guitar Hero”, the company has decided to discontinue the series. “DJ Hero” (pictures above) was also relatively unsuccessful. “Rock Band” may still be around, but the company that originally made it has since been bought out, and nobody is sure of their future. The genre seems to have moves exclusively to Nintendo’s Wii. It’s motion sensor controller, and interactive platform has allowed for great things, such as the new trend of dancing video games like “Michael Jackson: The Experience”. The player is instructed to perform dance moves on beat with a song, and the Wii controller picks up on it through motion in your hands and arms. Truly revolutionary.
The Music Video Game genre has taken a lot of forms over the years. It has gone up and down in popularity, and seen some peaks and valleys along the way. Like any good genre though, there will always be new innovations and ideas. I hope to see more soon.