Opinion: Transcendental Air Guitar - Why Games and Music Need Each Other

Music games are on the rise. The Guitar Hero series and its younger cousin, Rock Band, have paved the way for the Harmonix iPod game Phase, indie title Audiosurf - a top-seller for Valve's Steam service in February - and the new rhythm-action game Patapon.

But broaden the net, and you can check out the playable instruments and jam session possibilities of Lord of the Rings Online, the strummable guitar tossed into BioShock, or Portal - which didn't end with a plot-packed cutscene, but with a musical finale.

And yet, as someone who covers both music and gaming, the author is well aware of the gulf between the two communities. The games industry makes more money and sees a brighter future for itself; the music biz is tanking, and has to console itself with drugs, sex, and two living Beatles. At the same time, the music industry sees opportunities to regain some vim – and make some scratch – through games.

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