Musical gaming for charity
In the Xbox game Chime you play against a melody, placing one shape at a time on a grid. While placing the blocks you are also remixing music tracks by world-famous artists like Philip Glass and Moby. A line moves across the grid in time with the music, triggering different sounds for each kind of shape it passes.
Chime is also the first product released by OneBigGame, a video game industry initiative that raises funds for Save the Children and the Starlight Children’s Foundation by distributing and selling games. Their motto is “Play, so others can.” The musicians donated their tracks for the Chime project and game developers donated their work. As a result, at least 60 percent of the purchase price will go to charity.
The software was released February 3 as a download that costs 400 Microsoft points (about $5.00). It has been well-received by Xbox 360 owners, rating nearly 4 out of 5 stars on the Xbox Marketplace. For a while it was selling at the rate of nearly a copy a minute.
I like the idea that this kind of game is making money for child-oriented charities. I also like the idea that a classical musician like Philip Glass is involved. I still have hope that some day there will be a whole raft of engaging serious games, and that top game developers will actually make money creating games for college courses.
OneBigGame has a bunch of other projects under development, including an iPhone game that should be out by summer. To learn more:
- NPR All Things Considered – Video Game Lets You Drop Beats As You Drop Blocks
- Wired News: Chime Sales ‘Tremendous,’ More Charity Games Coming