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Harmonix retrospective/interview. Wii Music closer to their true vision?


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#1 dafunkk12

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 03:31 PM

From Edge: http://www.edge-onli...erview?page=0,0

In that sense do you feel like Harmonix has met its vision?

No, I think it’s a waystation. I think we’ve made some significant strides. People feel like they are musicians, and they are deriving a lot of entertainment and emotional satisfaction out of it. That’s a big deal. The thing that they’re not doing that we would love for them to do is actually make musical decisions with musical consequences and gameplay consequences.

So you’ve been pushing on this concept of interactive music?

Yes, we envision a musical vocabulary where you’re not playing along to someone else’s music, you’re actually authoring it. All the senior folks at Harmonix are mesmerised by that goal, but we also have a realistic sense of how difficult it will be to achieve. We’ve had a couple cracks at it from different angles. But the answer is no, we have a long way to go. Beat-matching is not the be-all, end-all of music gaming. We would like to do some other things, and we also hope that other people will do some other things. It’s exciting that music games are getting green-lit. We’re hoping that other cool stuff will come out of other people’s minds, stuff that we wouldn’t have thought of.


Yes, this is flame bait for all the crazy people who argue that playing a glorified Simon Says (Guitar Hero/Rock Band) is a deeper experience (I didn't say game) than Wii Music. GH/RB provides the necessary structure that gamers expect to be measured against for validation of performance but does not provide a real sense of authorship or actually being a part of the creative experience. GHWT's new studio mode doesn't even really count, since you're still only creating a note chart to repeat note-for-note.

I don't argue that GH/RB aren't more immediately enjoyable. It certainly helps that you are presented with a definite course of action. It's sort of the same reason I don't enjoy going to the Mongolian Barbeque: Because I'm not a chef, I don't know how to properly select my ingredients and their quantity. The enjoyment of my food rests entirely on my shoulders, and it becomes simple to fail.

I haven't played Wii Music yet, but judging from Nintendo's new direction, being a "game" in the traditional "conquer a challenge" sense of the word is not their intention. But in being a tool for simplified musical expression, it seems that Harmonix could be jealous for being beat to the punch.

Edited by dafunkk12, 20 October 2008 - 06:43 PM.
added Mongolian BBQ anecdote

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#2 Kendal

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 03:37 PM

Wii Music looks like a bad ass version of the Mario Paint music maker. And that bad boy was way ahead of it's time.

But now I'm ready for D/P, excited and terrified. It's going to eat so many hours of my life.


I am a pussy :-(


Brawl FC: 3480 - 2198 - 7321 Name: KEN

#3 pochaccoheaven

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 06:13 PM

i'm glad someone posted. it's a weird concept but nintendo has created a new universe for games. nintendo has actually made a product where it isn't about accomplishing a goal like in guitar hero but about expression of ones feelings on the music they are interacting with [improvision]. i'm so glad that some people on this board actually realizes this.

who says when you go out to shop you had to buy. you could go out to just check things out to see if there is anything that fits your mood, right? so a game can do the same, which means that a game doesn't necessarily have to have a scoreing and missions, but to have players express their creative feelings based on the music.

btw, you bet harmonix is jealous as they were beaten by nintendo to make such a product. but harmonix has no one to blame but themselves.

read the ign review of wii music and compare it to the 1up review. do you notice something different about the two?

#4 KaneRobot

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 07:17 PM

playing a glorified Simon Says (Guitar Hero/Rock Band)

It is not like Simon (which I believe is what you are after), nor is it like Simon Says. Simon shows you a pattern and has you repeat it at your own pace. It requires pattern memorization and nothing else.

Rock Band and GH:WT require not only that, but quick reaction time, coordination, and a heavenly singing voice if you're into the vocals thang.
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#5 Kendal

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 07:49 PM

Admit it. You love your plastic guitar shaped Simon Sez. ;)

I wonder where my actual Simon is.

But now I'm ready for D/P, excited and terrified. It's going to eat so many hours of my life.


I am a pussy :-(


Brawl FC: 3480 - 2198 - 7321 Name: KEN

#6 dafunkk12

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 10:28 PM

It is not like Simon (which I believe is what you are after), nor is it like Simon Says. Simon shows you a pattern and has you repeat it at your own pace. It requires pattern memorization and nothing else.

Rock Band and GH:WT require not only that, but quick reaction time, coordination, and a heavenly singing voice if you're into the vocals thang.

I do mean Simon Says. You win if you do what you're told, and you lose if you do something you weren't told to do.

Your key word is "reaction." Aside from the occasional whammy action or drum fills, there isn't really any part of GH/RB where you aren't simply responding to a demand to press-this-button-at-this-time. The timing and coordination required to accomplish that single game-defining action are irrelevant.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hooked on music games of all kinds and have a living room currently filled with 7 guitars, 2 drums, and 4 microphones, with more to come on Sunday. I just don't appreciate the inaccurate perspective that most vocal gamers on the net have regarding what constitutes "deep interactions."

In GH/RB: What does hitting the note mean? The song goes on, you get points. When you don't hit a note? Your song goes awry, and you get a little closer to failing, if only temporarily. What if you strike a note when one isn't demanded of you? It's the same as if you'd done the "wrong" thing. Wii Music supports that improvisation, intended or accidental, for better or worse in regards to performing a good-sounding song. You go from being a note-for-note cover band to being able to inject your own flavor.

Here's a game design tangent. What is the core mechanic of a Mario game? Jumping. GH/RB are like using jumping simply to avoid holes or to get on top of higher objects, the basic ideas behind why someone would jump. That is really all that is required to complete the objective of getting from one end of the map to the other. Where the depth comes in is using that same mechanic to also land on top of creatures to squash them and to strike objects above you. These are optional little things that an enterprising player can do to add on to their gameplaying experience. Now they can have a new goal of maybe smashing all the blocks or killing all the enemies, in addition to making it to the flagpole. They may try to land on a Goomba to kill it, and fail. At this point, they can try again, or they can give up and just complete the only goal ever presented to them: get to the end. They have that choice, and that extra layer creates an environment for discovery. What can you learn or try differently in GH/RB? New fretting or drumming techniques don't mean anything to the game; you're now simply more able to successfully hit a button.
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