By Zach Winn
Every holiday season, a popular new video game causes a disproportionate amount of hype, anticipation, and last-minute shopping. But few of those games offer an entirely new way to play. Even fewer have ripple effects that reach far beyond the gaming universe.
When Guitar Hero was released in 2005, challenging players to hit notes to classic rock songs on guitar-like controllers, it grew from a holiday hit to a cultural phenomenon that taught a new generation to love rock ‘n’ roll music. Along the way, it showed the video game industry the power of innovative, music-based games.
Guitar Hero and the related Rock Band franchise were developed by Harmonix Music Systems, which formed more than 25 years ago in MIT’s Media Lab when a pair of friends began using technology to help people interact with music. Since then, it has released more than a dozen games that have helped millions of people experience the thrill of making music.