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  • Results from the Game Design Challenge: Guitar's the Word

    - Manveer Heir and staff
  •  "Create a brand new game that uses the Guitar Hero controller" was the most recently finished challenge in the Game Design Challenge series. The catch, of course, was that the game couldn't be a music game. The entries were all over the board and covered many styles of games.

    Many entries offered typical games with buttons remapped to the guitar controller. There were shoot'em-ups ("shmups"), first-person shooters, and plenty of other action games. Their biggest flaw was that they did not take advantage of the unique controller in any real way. Instead, it was a straight re-mapping of buttons. That sort of game would work, but trying to come up with something more unique to match the layout of the guitar controller would work better.

    When thinking about something like this, it can be a good first step of thinking about what sort of game would work better with a guitar controller than a regular controller. If the game you design doesn't play any better on a guitar controller than a standard controller, then there is no point to the extra hardware.

    There were a number of entries that revolved around color-coded items in the game world that matched the frets on the guitar controller. This starts to draw a relationship between the interface and game that isn't usually done with other controllers. This relationship is a great start to a game design that works better with the guitar controller.

    Many of you also included the Whammy Bar as part of the control scheme, which is a great idea that I never even thought of. So, kudos to all of you for thinking about all the different ways to use the controller (including the motion sensor for star power).

    Best Entries
    Patrick Mousel, student at Flashpoint Academy, Chicago, Elevator Frenzy
    (see page 2)
    Elevator Frenzy is a little like Diner Dash in that the player is an employee who provides a service to patrons, managing time and prioritizing tasks in order to maximize gains. Of all the submissions, we felt it made the best use of the control system in a unique way.

    Murray Chu, project manager and aspiring game producer, Siren (see page 3)
    Directing the movement of hordes of color-coded creatures is the focal point of the game concept Siren. Conceptually, it reminded us a bit of Pikmin, but nonetheless Murray Chu devised an interesting play mechanic that was specific to what the controller could do.

    Ben Gettleman, Lumberjack! (see page 4)
    Admittedly, we're suckers for Monty Python references; couple that with the mental image of a plaid-clad tweenager hurling a plastic guitar around his mother's living room, and this game idea was just too funny not to highlight. Bonus points for describing a less dangerous two-player option! (In his last paragraph, though, we would like to ask, which "popular lumberjack films," exactly, might you be referring to?)

    Honorable Mention
    Loïc Ramboanasolo, computer science student at Universite de Montreal, Elementux
    (see page 5)
    Many submissions played with the idea of creating a shooter game, but Loïc Ramboanasolo's was exceptionally well thought out. Pay attention in particular to the aiming mechanism.


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