Rhythm gaming: Games that bring out your inner musician

Music is a vital part of gaming. You can easily recognise your favourite virtual adventure from the first bar of the soundtrack. Also good gaming music and sounds help texture the environment giving more depth to the scenes and locations. However, music can be so much more. It could be the central part of a game! We now present you with a few prominent games, known as rhythm games, music-themed action video games.

Rhythm Heaven Fever

Let’s get this list off to a wild start. This extremely peculiar game, made up of bright colours and cute sound leads the player through a wacky and weird adventure of melody and beats. This is the third installment in the series with the original being released in 2006, being the last ever game developed for the Game Boy Advance. Essentially, this is a game of timing with multiple task and you as the player have to click at the right time to make sure you completely the mini task, where its cooking, dancing or sky badminton. Watch the video to understand how this game works.


You might not consider your voice an instrument, but it many ways it is. Nothing boosted our confidence more than screaming into the abused SingStar mic. It was first released in 2004 and has grown to become a success with 20 games in its series. This is the perfect game for a get together, but it isn’t the best for one. The discs always tried to cover all music tastes (which is  a challenge by any means). Below you can see a version with  Portuguese classics:

Guitar Hero

One man, one game, and one plastic guitar – and the world was at your feet. Or so that’s how it felt. This classic could not be forgotten. Smashing down the multi-coloured buttons enraged felt good…at least for a short time.

It’s the sort of game that you never really bought yourself, but you always had a friend who had it. The original release of the game in 2005, wasn’t the one that rocked the world, it was the second in the game, released a year later, that got us guitar crazy. Many accredit this to a better songs, and smoother game play.

However, it went as soon as it came. Due to the recession, the extra equipment needed to play the game were a stretch to buy and the game, despite its growing music library, it did feel a little repetitive. Just like many Wii games, despite their original uniqueness, it’s hard to immersive yourself in the game.

In the video below, you will notice the struggling plastic screams somewhat ruins the rock-star experience.

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR)

Who said gaming couldn’t get you outside? Ever since 1998 this arcade classic gave our little jelly legs a good wobble as we competed against those we held dearest to become the ultimate dancing queen.  The game had four game modes: Easy/Soft, Basic, Another, Maniac. Unlike many other games in this category, DDR is applauded for its stamina in the industry.  Of course, we’ve all seen those videos of individuals caught in a terrible twerk as they battle their way through Maniac mode. However, despite their expertise at the game, it’s debatable if it’s good dancing. Judge for yourself:


Lastly on the list we have a virtual reality headset game that makes you feel like a mix between Mick Jagger and Brue Lee. Using the headset and gloves you have to battle orbs of light. What’s really cool about this game is that the user can insert there own music, meaning you can battle any song you want. The game was credited for its innovation, however, like most of these games on the list, it’s replayability was lacking.

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Good games, but not rhythm gaming

The best part of writing your own blog post is that you get to make the rules. These next set of games aren’t classified as rhythm games, but they do have a special relationship to music and sound that made these games popular and loved. So before you scramble and scream, read on in caution.

The Legend of Zelda

The beloved Nintendo Zelda series uses music throughout all of their games. In the Ocarina of Time, released in 1998, the ocarina plays a vital part in the game play. Various songs learnt can be used to either change weather, warp, summon a mount and so on. This game brought this once-forgotten about instrument back into the public eye. This theme of musical instruments is continued throughout the newer versions. In Majora’s Mask, Link (the protagonist) has the ability to change creature, and with each one comes their own interesting instrument that creates a range of interesting sounds.

A combination of these unique instruments can be found below:

In the game you use a range of buttons to control the instrument, however, it doesn’t have to stop there! If you fancy of taking things to the next level, and getting a little closer to the Link, then you’re in luck! Online you can find specially made Zelda-like ocarinas that resemble the one the character has in game. And there are bunch of online tutorials for you to learn the music from the game.


Something a little older is the game LOOM. An island with a loom, a distaff (a tool used for spinning), and a guild of weaving magicians that face a great threat. This game is know for its difficulty. Like many older games it doesn’t serve itself up on a plate and the controls could be tricky.

The then common commands for controlling the game character (“Take”, “Speak” or “View”), which line up on the lower screen in classic adventure games, were missing in LOOM. Moving around on the screen worked with mouse clicks – but for practically all the remaining controls, the player had to jingle a certain short sequence of tones. Doors, for example, only opened if you were able to play the notes correctly.

At that time, you had to take notes: notes and pencils were always within reach to note down the tone sequences. And even if you played LOOM several times, you couldn’t just rely on your memory: The note sequences were generated randomly and changed each time the game was restarted.

Here’s a walk through of the entire game. This game is beloved part of many older gamers’ childhood, though most admit they could never complete the game and got stuck early on. Oh, to be young.

Another Sight

This game really uses sound in a new way. Another Sight has a  Alice in Wonderland game style, where the main character, Kit,  loses her sight, and as a result relies on her hearing to solve puzzles. As the player you can see when something makes a sound. For example, in a dark room if water drops Kit will be able to see the drops. Kit has a her companion, a ginger cat, to help her and together they tackle themselves through this side-scrolling world. This platform game has been credited for its unique approach, story and artwork. However, some say the game play can drag and be too easy (much unlike Loom).


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To the Concept E 450

Conclusion: Gaming sound can do more than just sound good

  • Sound can be used to create challenges and puzzles for the player.
  • Some computer games use music as a central part of their game, with controllable aspect.
  • Some of games even spin a whole story around music or an instrument.
Header image: ©Karen Blaha certain rights apply. Source: flickr

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