12 Comments

Toys for Bob and the story behind Skylanders

The figurines sit on shelves, hang on walls, tumble on desks in states of unpainted nakedness, dismantled and incoherent. They gurn, snarl and claw in an infinity of static poses. This is the place where the little plastic creatures of Activision's breakout monster hit Skylanders are conceived and birthed, the headquarters of Toys for Bob, a tiki-pirate-ship-themed ex-aircraft hanger in Marin County, California. Since its introduction back in 2011, the Skylanders video game and toy series has generated upwards of $2 billion in lifetime sales. It is one of the top 20 game franchises of all time, with 175 million toy sales. The Skylanders monsters have captured the imaginations of millions of children, by creating a magical illusion. Players place monsters on a plastic tray...

News
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Band, DJ and Guitar Hero DLC sales ending April 1

Downloadable content for the Band Hero, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero franchises will no longer be offered for sale as of April 1, 2014, according to a post on the official Guitar Hero Facebook page. Guitar Hero for iOS will also be pulled from sale April 1. It's available for $0.99 in the iOS App Store. Game servers will remain online, and the announcement won't affect any DLC previously purchased. Through March 31, "selected songs and tracks" will be discounted up to 50 percent on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Details and songs are available in each console's store. The franchise of rhythm games that blended plastic instruments with rock songs began in 2005 with Harmonix's Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero 2 followed in 2006 and the franchise expand over the next few years with games like G...

News
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Google acquires Green Throttle Gaming's assets and co-founders (update)

Google has acquired the parts and labor of the developers of an Android-based virtual gaming console and gaming controllers, Green Throttle Gaming, including its two co-founders, Pando Daily reports. According to Pando Daily, a Google spokesperson confirmed that a deal had been made but couldn't share its terms. The agreement would see co-founder Charles Huang retain Green Throttle business rights, while Green Throttle staff and co-founders join Google. Green Throttle's other co-founders are chief technical officer Karl Townsend, lead engineer on the original and second generation Palm Pilot, and president and chief operating officer Matt Crowley, formerly of Nokia and Palm. Huang, one of the founders of Guitar Hero co-developer RedOctane, announced in November 2012 that Green...

Report
57 Comments

Harmonix returns with a weird, first-person shooter musical hybrid

And fresh ideas are something the rhythm genre badly needs. Mapping music to physical movement has been the life's work of developer Harmonix, from its hip underground origins with Frequency through to the hyper-commercial overblown grandiosity of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. But always, the mechanic was some variation on hitting a button or making a movement at the right time, in order to generate harmonious chords, the beats flying towards the player like an explosion in a frisbee factory. It was fun, while it lasted. But this genre crashed into a tree some time in 2009, and was buried, without much fanfare or fuss, in a closet under the stairs. The dance genre is all that remains. Harmonix returns from the years of excess, slimmer and fitter, with Chroma, an altogether new creative...

News
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Guitar Hero producers turn to mobile fitness games

Kai and Charles Huang, the founders of Guitar Hero-producer RedOctane, have announced plans to launch a new company, creating tablet fitness games with peripheral attachments. Blue Goji will combine tablets and smartphones with cardio-vascular work-out equipment like treadmills, stationary bicycles and elliptical machines. The games will provide gameplay, achievement goals and performance tracking as well as friend-networking functions. They are connected to the player via Bluetooth and on-body tracking and motion devices. "Our goal is to help people lead healthier and more active lives by providing anyone across all fitness levels with a fun way to work out, one that is accessible and compelling to use," said co-founder and CEO Kai Huang. "With Blue Goji, we're developing a platform...

News
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Bandfuse: Rock Legends will right the wrongs of Rocksmith

Realta's instructional guitar and bass title Bandfuse: Rock Legends has been in development for more than three years — placing its development progress before the release of Ubisoft's similarly instructional Rocksmith — and according to game director Jon Heiner this is how it's possible for the game to overcome some of the many technical issues of its Ubisoft counterpart. Speaking to Polygon, Heiner described the evolution of music games beginning in the era of plastic guitars and rhythm titles to the more technically capable instructional releases. "As beyond Rocksmith was to Guitar Hero, Bandfuse is beyond Rocksmith." The studio has worked to successfully avoid the problems that reared their head in Rocksmith -— the biggest issue being latency that created a slight but...

Human Angle
103 Comments

Ciji is a Robot Jockey with Something to Prove

Human Angle: Ciji Thornton Human Angle: Ciji Thornton The boxer The boxer Thornton still owns every Guitar Hero and Rock Band game, and all of the knockoffs and imitations. Even the bad ones. These days, Thornton — better known by her gamer tag, Starslay3r — plays Guitar Hero just for fun, but she still plays games competitively. She's trying to learn how to play League of Legends, arguably the biggest eSport in the world. It's an uphill battle; her background is in twitch-based console games, not games played with a mouse and keyboard. But League is where the sponsors are, League is where the money leads and League is where the competition is. Thornton and her partner Zubair between rounds on Robot Combat League. "Not competing sucks," says...

Guitar Hero Releases
North America
  • PlayStation 2
    • Released 11/08/2005
    • Publisher RedOctane
    • Developer Harmonix Music Systems
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