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Posts Tagged ‘Harmonix’

ESH Podcast # 314: Will The Death Star Get Big Round Ears

D-E-A-T-H S-T-A-R It is so hard to cover ever awesome thing that happens in the nerdverse, but our lovable sistahs do it with as much class and sass as they can muster. Panda spent some time with real people this week as she wandered again into the world of Table Top Gaming. Cards Against Humanity […]

ESH Podcast # 313: I Was Wrong–There, I Said It Twice.

Ninja admits it…but what is she wrong about? The Sistahs are getting ready for another ESH-O-Ween. Not really, they are too worried about preparing for another broke bitch month. Ninja takes position one talking about one of her loves Assassin’s Creed. The third game will be released tomorrow, so to get herself hyped up she […]

ESH Podcast Episode #311: I’m the Dude Who Know the Guy.

And no this isn’t a The Big Lebowski reference–or is it? The Sistahs are known to have guests on their show Be it from time to time. But how about one with a “kinection” Particularly to rhythm and rhyme? A king of this time but also a jester, The Sistahs sit down to talk to […]

ESH Podcast Episode 310: Confessions of A Resident Evil Apologist.

These are my nerdfessions The sistahs ran the full gambit this week–talking about ALL the things ESH. Ninja starts off talking about her run in with the Nyko Zoom. A device capable of making a kinect workable in smaller surroundings…or…is supposed to do that. Panda interjects with her fun little day cation story about her […]

ESH Podcast Episode #306: Happy Endings Not Guaranteed.

Your Happiness May Contain Nuts Happy Monday ESHers. The Sistahs have a new show for you this week. Pandalicious has finally stepped out of the shadows to take point in this week’s episode. Pandalicious talks about an anime she SUPER Marathoned called Madoka Magica. The name is misleading but all the same it is something […]

Episode CLIII: I’ve Heard Of Teabagging The Moonshine, But This Is Ridiculous!

Get your drink on! It’s time for another Bastardly episode!

This week King Baby Duck tries to stomach the recently-leaked script of Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles script, but feels better when he and Blueonic look at the new Flobots album The Circle In The Square. The new Nick Cave-penned film Lawless is reviewed, followed by a disgruntled take on Harmonix’s Rock Band Blitz demo.

If you take it all in too quickly, you may go blind! It’s Episode 153: I’ve Heard Of Teabagging The Moonshine, But This Is Ridiculous!

Harmonix, Zynga Announced As Boston FIG Curators

MIT Game Lab and Boston Indies’ first annual Festival of Indie Games has grabbed themselves a couple of well-known curators for its inaugural event.

Boston FIG recently announced that they have started accepting submissions for their first event, which will be reviewed and selected by all-star guest curators from Harmonix, Zynga Boston and other Boston-area game companies and organizations. The line-up of guest curators for the Boston Festival of Indie Games will include Zynga Boston’s creative director Paul Neurath, Harmonix’s senior designer Tim Stellmach, Fire Hose Games’ creative director Eitan Glinert, and the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab’s US. Executive Director Philip Tan.

Click here for the full story!

Get Your Moves Ready for Dance Central 2

Shaking your tail feather to multiple beats at a time!

The much awaited sequel to Harmonix‘s dance thriller, Dance Central 2 will be making its debut on October 25th.

— Four Days and Counting —

So what can we expect from this newest installment in the motion-rhythm-based-franchise besides a good time? First up, and most obviously, we are getting new routines. Booty giggling, difficulty-increased, new routines. Then there are new settings in the way of new gameplay modes. Dance battles and actual multiplayer modes will be available in the new title as well. And what is a new motion-rhythm-based dance game without new songs? (The previous title, right?) Dance Central 2 boasts a bunch of new songs and new playable characters. There is no need to get rid of the preexisting bunch, so why not mix ’em up.

The Dance Central universe is finally getting expanding, and there something to look forward to for every fan of the title or genre in general. If you enjoyed the work out mode; your may rejoice! The mode is still available in the new game, and you can expect some modifications that are sure to make you sweat till you bleed. (Well, not REALLY bleed, because that would be bad, but you know what I mean.) Want to really nail down a specific move? Then “Break it Down” option will give you all the time you need to get it right and tight.

One of the disappointments from the first game was their use of multiplayer. In the original Dance Central outting, there was no “real” co-op. Yes, there were “dance battles”, but that element was only couch local. It was more of a “score battle” mode where each player would perform the routine solo-dolo and the person with the highest score “won” the battle. That aspect hasn’t completely changed but now there are both competitive and cooperative aspects to it. Co-op is simple and drop-in/drop-out. mechanic, and who wouldn’t like that?

Harmonix set the bar for motion based dance games, and I think this new addition to the franchise will only encourage more mixing of music and gaming.

Get your water bottles cooled, and your leg warmers and headbands out of storage. The dance floor is ready and waiting for you. So you know what to do…hey bust a move.

Episode 257: It Took 210 Episodes, But Panda Finally Watches Air Gear

ESH Podcast time once again, and this week’s episode is the perfect balance of anime and video games.

NinJa starts it off with a question about retro versus current gaming, and the answers the ladies come up with just might surprise you…

Air Gear: You'll believe a big dude can skate

Then it’s on to gaming news with the Rockband DLC that’s got Panda looking for spandex pants already and NinJa’s foray into the action-RPG title Magna Carta 2 from Bandai-Namco. (This game is NOT based on this Magna Carta. Panda then balances the heavy game energy with a little anime chi, sharing her thoughts on the 2006 series Air Gear. (Think rollerblades, but more awesome)

Speaking of more awesome, it’s time to grab a frosty beverage, kick back and enjoy ESH Podcast Episode 257: It Took 210 Episodes, But Panda Finally Watches Air Gear

Bad Selection: Activision Drops Guitar & DJ Hero Like a Bad Habit

Deadmau5 in DJ Hero 2
It would be easy to be snarky right now when talking about Activision; their IP battle with former Infinity Ward and now Respawn Studios heads West and Zampella, disappointing sales in the “Hero” franchise across the board and a general concern from the gaming community about the future of it’s flagship franchise – Call of Duty – leave the publisher open for any and all kinds of sarcastic comment, dig and/or other negative remark. Sure, I could join in that “fun” as well, but I don’t like kicking dogs when they are down and make no mistake: Activision is hurting.

The News

Activision announced that it will no longer develop “Hero” games (Guitar, DJ, and Band Hero for those not in the know) citing “continued declines in the music genre” as the major contributing factor in the decision. The statement does not come as a surprise to many rhythm-based game players. If I am honest, I have not purchased a Guitar Hero game since GH:3 and did not even download the free demo of the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock edition that was released in October 2010, which is huge as rhythm games are my thing. I fell out of love with the GH series after the third title and moved on to the Harmonix Rock Band bandwagon where I have been well satiated in terms of song and gameplay diversity.

I can’t say that I will miss the GH franchise. While I was one of the first that pre-ordered both the first and second installments in the franchise – inviting friends and family to “take on the champ” whenever they would drop by – by the time the third game rolled out I noticed very few things had changed from previous version to the next. I don’t expect a sequel to knock my socks off with every outing, but I do expect some small fraction of innovation or attempt at deepening my gaming experience that will not only grab, but hold my attention for more than 5 minutes – something that didn’t happen for me with subsequent GH outings. What I can say is that I will miss DJ Hero.

What It Meant to Me

DJ Hero Renegade Edition BundleThe DJ Hero franchise has been near and dear to me since the first game dropped in October of 2009. I spent many a night, enjoying and exploring the more dance-electro-trance-synth-pop side of myself through the discovery of artists – old and new – through the games’ mashup playlist. Coming from my strumming and drumming peripheral playing background, the learning curve on adapting to the game’s turntable peripheral did not slow me down in any way. I opted for the renegade edition of the game which featured a custom carrying case that doubled as an adjustable stand for the black and “gold” trimmed turntable peripheral – a break from the standard plastic “silver” version – and also contained a CD with a choice selection of tracks from rappers Jay-Z and Eminem. To date, I have yet to open the Jigga man and Em CD (I have all the songs in my iTunes library already) but love toting my gear around when I travel with the game.

I pre-ordered (and remembered to pick up) the second DJ game, Dj Hero 2 which I thought was a remarkable enhancement to the previous title release, and still pick it up every other weekend or so to kick off my Friday night. With mashups of songs like “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls and “Calle Ocho” by Pitbull to Donna Summers infectious “Bad Girls” deftly matched to the rollerskating jam of the year of 1984, “Jam On It” by Newcleus, Dj Hero 2 seemed poised to add a lively and interesting jab in an otherwise stale gaming genre. I would be lying if I didn’t say that my inner club kid did the glowstick swirl of joy to finally have a music sim game with songs from the artist DeadMau5.

The End of an Era?

Some would say that the writing is on the wall for rhythm based games. While Harmonix’s Rock Band may have won the battle for music simulation game supremacy, the company may have lost the war. In late 2010 Harmonix’s parent company, Viacom, came to a similar decision about the potential profitability of music simulation games as Activison, and sold the Boston area game developer off – to itself basically – leaving many to wonder about the future of Harmonix’s Rock Band and Dance Central titles and incite rumors of the demise of the developer and their genre-defining titles. I personally disagree.

Both Guitar Hero and Rock Band proved that in the age of digital bootlegging, consumers were willing to part with some of their hard-earned dollars and pay for premium content. Regularly released downloadable content playable tracks [DLC] quickly became an expected given for both franchises to provide their installed base with, further driving brand commitment and loyalty. What neither franchise could do was stimulate the economy, and with gamers being more and more selective about how they spend their gaming dollars, premium game sets and weekly content expenditures had to fall by the wayside. This is a temporary situation, and one I feel is turning around albeit rather slowly. As our economy continues to recover, gamers are going to start plunking down those dollars and cents again with focused abandon. We are going to want to party again, and while blowing up stuff is nice to do with a few buddies (yes, I’m looking at you Gears of War 3) it’s always good to have a pick up and play social game which is where I feel games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band come in.

Just like Jay-Z declaration of the demise of “auto-tune” on his last album, “The Blueprint 3” was premature as the annoying-yet-insanely-catchy sing-songy effect is even more prevalent today in pop and hip-hop music and the web as I write this article, I see Activision’s decision to leave the genre as yet another premature evacuation.

Have no doubt: the video game industry will have a revival of interest in music-based-gaming.
I look for mobile gaming to light the way for the return to the genre and possibly innovations in the gameplay arena. The question that remains is how much will Activision and other previous music/rhythm-based game development houses have to play catch-up?