Rhythm Games – Frequency (2001)
Founded in 1995, Harmonix Music Systems originally intended to create interactive music composition systems. After a series of failures and dead-ends, they researched the burgeoning rhythm game genre in Japan. The resulting game was Frequency.
Frequency had many unique features compared to its competitors. By using a standard PlayStation 2 controller instead of a custom controller, the game’s cost came down significantly. Rhythm games of the time gave the player a single track to be carefully followed, but Frequency asked the player to leap among a kaleidoscope of six individual tracks mixed in real time, and the player’s choice of track dramatically influenced the music being played. Finally, while most rhythm games had a simple multiplayer feature that was no more than two players playing the game simultaneously, Frequency dropped every player onto the same game board to interfere with each other and fight over “valuable” tracks.
Harmonix originally brought the Frequency concept to Microsoft but was turned down because a custom controller was considered mandatory for success.
Frequency received great reviews and won several awards but did not sell well despite the critical acclaim and a number of dedicated players. Harmonix developed a sequel, Amplitude, but despite the series’s fanbase, the sequel did no better.
On loan from Devin Riley