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Everyone likes some kind of music. Some people are fans of specific genres, some are collecting records, others are playing music, and even taking part in music bands, either local or big ones. Video games also have a genre of music games. For people who want to mix their taste in music with an interactive experience, this kind of game is the best choice! Furthermore, music games are the perfect thing for parties, so with them, you won’t be racking your brain on how to liven up the night.
What are music video games?
In these games, the gameplay is almost entirely oriented around player interactions with a musical soundtrack or individual, most often very popular, songs. Musical games can be of many different types and they are often grouped together with puzzle games because they commonly use “rhythmically generated puzzles”. There is some kind of interactivity of the gameplay with the soundtrack in this kind of game. For instance, the music can be generated in response to the player’s actions. Most popular music games are those where the player has to react to the beats and notes of the music.
What are the types of music games?
The sub-genres are based on how the player interacts with the sounds in the game. There are four main types of music video games as described by the concept of “matching, making, mixing, and metonymy”. Overall, these are the main types of such titles:
- Rhythm-matching games. Simply called rhythm games, those are titles where the player has to respond in time to music as it is played and shown in the game, emphasizing the rhythm of the playing song. The most common practice of rhythm games is to perform specific actions on a controller with precision timing as the note of the song is played. After playing a song, the player is rewarded by scores in accordance with how well they performed, and how precisely they hit notes in time with the music. Karaoke games are one of the kinds of this type of music games;
- Hybrid rhythm games. This type focuses on music guiding the player's action. These games have a feature where the player can achieve a better score if decides to match his actions with background sounds;
- Music-making games. This kind of game lets players create music, and that is the whole gameplay. Players can create music from a variety of different sounds, instruments, and voices, depending on the style the game is based on. These games typically are freeform, which means that they don’t have a specific goal;
- Music-mixing games. The sub-genre for all DJs, music-mixing games let players take pre-made sounds, music, and other audio tracks, interact with them, and ultimately create something new and fresh from them. In these games the player can be rewarded with points to unlock additional features;
- Music-themed games. This sub-genre is not about making or mixing music. Rather, the narration is related to music in some way. For example, instead of music-related gameplay, these games may feature a story about the creation of music. Furthermore, music-themed games can feature well-known musicians.
Best music (rhythm) games to play
Take a look at the most popular games of this kind on the market:
- Dance Dance Revolution. Game series produced by Konami, Dance Dance Revolution is the best dancing video game franchise since 1998. In these games, the player must stand on a “dance platform” and hit arrows laid out in a cross with their feet to musical and visual cues. After the song, the player is scored and gets to choose more music to dance to;
- Guitar Hero. Since 2005, Guitar Hero has been a leader of guitar music games. Developed and published by various companies during the years, the series is all about playing rock music. Guitar Hero is known for its unique guitar-shaped controllers the player has to use in order to play famous rock songs, by matching notes that scroll on-screen;
- Rock Band. Another series of rhythm games about rock music, Rock Band offers not only a guitar-shaped controller, but also a microphone, a bass guitar, keyboard, and drums, making it the ultimate rock band experience in the field of video games. First developed by Harmonics in 2007, Rock Band is probably the best-known singing game on the market;
- Rez. Released in 2001 by Sega, Rez is a musical cult-classic rail-shooter that is known for its unique audiovisual design. Rez tells a story about a hacker’s journey into a malfunctioning AI system. The player has to shoot various enemies, while the gameplay syncs with the music in the game. Also, the game features vibration feedback for various controllers, creating a sense of synesthesia;
- Audiosurf. Released in 2008, Audiosurf is a puzzle rhythm game, created by Invisible Handlebar. This game is unique for its gameplay design, in which the player can import whatever music into the game. Then, the game levels correspond to that music in various audiovisual and gameplay ways.