Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Future of DJ Hero?

So this past weekend a friend stopped by with Activision's latest creation, DJ Hero. Not being a very big gamer in general I hadn't heard much about it at the time, but now I'm convinced that this is the beginning of something just as big as [if not bigger than :-0 ] guitar hero. I will start by saying I'm entirely biased. Guitar hero was great in concept for me but it lacked most of the music I prefer to listen to on a daily basis. Some of it is great, and timeless of course, but to me it would be more entertaining to play new fresh content, not the same oldies I've heard thousands of times. With DJ Hero it wasn't like that for me. Since these are original mixes I was in love with some of the tracks as well as disappointed by others, but the point remains, they've taped into something new and I'd like to illustrate a few of the ways they could make this game nothing short of incredible.

1 - Build on one game with expansion packs. A lot of people online are complaining about the music in DJ hero and as I said before I love some of it and really cant stand some of the other stuff. Give me an expansion pack loaded with mixes I like and dont force me to buy the crap I dont. If we were to break a lot of this up and let the people decide what they wanted we would have more happy campers out there and overall sales would make up for the losses. Be good to the consumer and they will return the favor.

2 - Include more than just hip hop, specifically Trance, House etc.. Yes the whole DJ thing is synonymous with hip hop, but it is a new world where electronic music is making a strong push. Look at Ultra Music Festival for example. This thing is getting bigger every year and its not showing any signs of slowing down. More than 85,000 people attended in Miami last year alone and the numbers have been climbing by more than 10,000 every year. Not to metion it only just started in 1999.

3 - Build a mix creator. The big obstacle for the game creator is licensing the music. So how can you affort to keep tons of fresh music available to consumers? Let individuals (or real DJs) purchase mix creation software and load their own music sources and design their own beginner, easy, medium, hard and expert tracks for their songs. Original music only, free online community, etc will ensure the game never gets old.

4 - Dual turn table edition. The turntable in DJ Hero essentially simulated dual turntables by use of the buttons on the vinyl itself. My theory is, the closer you can make the game to an actuall DJ experience, the more well accepted it will be and can even be adopted for training purposes for those looking to get into the real thing.

5 - Make a PC Version. The PC game market it a big one. Online community can exist there with much less limitations than console gaming enabling free reign on some of the ideas above. I know lots of people who don't bother with console gaming at all because of the great strides PC gaming has seen over the years. You've already got the hardware, you got the software which should be too difficult to port over to a windows based app, especially from your xBox based code, why not make a PC version?

6 - Genre Filtering - This game is about the music. Give me a simple way to select precisely what type of music I'm into. Let me deselect certain artists for example to hide them from the library. This leads into my next suggestion...

7 - If you have one huge music repository for all the tracks, integrate a song suggestion feature like pandora or apple's genius feature provides. Maybe one day I'm in the mood for classic hip hip, and another day I may want more electronic, while another day I may want rock / hip-hop mash ups.... help me get there.

8 - Customizable samples. A lot of the samples are a complete joke. If I hear that guy say 'check this out' one more time I may just shoot myself in the face. We need more, higher quality sounds and let me put together my own sample kit from the entire library, don't group some decent ones with crappy ones and make me use them all.

9 - Visualization mode. I never got into guitar hero for one of the same reasons I never touched world of warcraft. The cartooney nature of it was a little unbearable. Corney characters and visuals are a turn off. Why not offer a mode that just puts a simple visualization in the background that spins around and goes to the beat? Should be a simple addition and doesn't have to be the default mode by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe it can even be an unlockable item?

In short I'd like to see a DJ Hero experience that is more like my ipod collection. I want to listen to some good music, and the game is almost an accessory that helps me get into the music even more. If I can actually learn something about the real deal in the process I'm sold. If they can do this the game will begin to appeal to an entirely new market, and will be insanely entertaining.

Some of these ideas may happen while others will probably never see the light of day but I think even a few of these could make one hell of a game.

Finally I want to say, I'm not trying to take anything away from the game, I think its insanely addictive as is and a overall good time (my friends think so too), I just couldn't help but think about what else it could be.