Music games can either be explicitly musical or have certain mechanics or themes that allow players to create sounds. In either case rhythm, harmony and continuous beat that leads players through the game are some of the key factors to consider when talking about this genre. These games are not just about hitting the right notes on your keyboard or controller, expression and creativity are, in fact, the keywords at play. In most games offered by the genre, players either follow a pre-set track by completing challenges to hit all the keynotes or perform actions which result in certain sounds being produced.
The first music game 'Dance Aerobics' was released more than three decades ago. Players would have to follow the on-screen character's movements by stepping on the correct parts of the power pad. The second big hit that impacted further development of the genre was a game called 'PaRappa the Rapper', in this game, players had to press certain buttons to make the main character rap out word sequences in accordance with the ongoing track.
Music games were very popular in Japan but rarely found their place on US or Europe markets, this changed with Sony releasing 'SingStar', a karaoke-type game which attracted audiences worldwide. However, these audiences consisted of casual people and didn't attract much attention from hardcore gamers. The final breakthrough that established the music games genre's place on the market happened in the year 2005, with the release of 'Guitar Hero'.
The special electric guitar-shaped controller was used to play the keys shown on the screen – and it was a blast. Music games genre has come a long way from when it started and has evolved in different shapes and forms, incorporating music into games in numerous ways. Even today, innovations and technological advancements constantly broaden the genre's definition and applicability.