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Create Digital Motion - NOV 8 2011 iPad Meets Kinect, Twister Meets Tenori-On: Behind the Scenes of Pxl Pusher Music Game

What happens when you meld the most futuristic Microsoft technology with the most futuristic Apple technology with the most ColecoVision-esque graphics as built in Jitter? Or you create gameplay that couples physical human contortion with the step sequencing rhythms of music? A different take on music games, that’s what.

Developers Matt (“M@tt”) Boch and Ryan Challinor work, in their day jobs, on the music game as most people know it, at Harmonix. Harmonix’s roots remain in the rhythm game, so that music play, even at its most serious, is still about musical timing accuracy. Pxl Pusher is a very different mechanic: imagine a step sequencer grid on an iPad, presenting blocks that, true to the classic game Twister, require another player to balance and stretch their bodies to match.

Check out the full post on Create Digital Motion.

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Among the dozen or so games strewn about New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (during last week’s Kill Screen-curated “Arcade” event) two titles had their playable debuts: Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi’s “Starry Heavens” (“a physical game of power and betrayal”), as well as Matt Boch and Ryan Challinor’s “Pxl Pushr” (“something akin to a full-bodied theremin blended with a puzzle game”). Considering what the two freshman entries were up against — critically acclaimed games like Limbo, Canabalt, and Echochrome — it was impressive that both games had lengthy lines throughout the evening.

I mean no offense when I say this, but Pxl Pusher looks like what would’ve happened if Kinect technology had existed in the Coleco Vision days. In the same way that your Dad’s sweet 1973 Lacoste track jacket still looks totally rad, so does Pxl Pushr. The bizarre look is both a measure of the dev duo’s style — their day jobs are as designers at Harmonix — and of the short-term development cycle.

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Joystiq - “Pxl Pushr’ blends Kinect and iPad play to impressive, multicolor results”

"This game is debuting here, a side project of two Rockband engineers. It hacks two very disparate pieces of technology, the iPad and the Kinect, and uses them for two very different ends. With the iPad you can see what’s happening on screen, but no one else can. What’s great about Kinect is the physicality and motion. It’s probably the closest to what Wii U games will probably look like."

Fast Company

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"An iPad and a Kinect working in harmony feels like something out of some weird, hippy-ish Utopian dream. Not that Microsoft and Apple technologies haven’t played at least reasonably nice together before, but PXL PUSHR requires them to work in tandem to exist…PXL PUSHR is a nifty example of what can happen when developers go beyond developing indie games using expected technologies. The idea of mixing and matching technologies to bend to the will of what the developer aims to do is kind of a fascinating one, when you consider how restrictive console development—and in some cases, even PC development—can be."

GiantBomb

"PXL PUSHR: A Peculiar Marriage of iPad and Kinect"

Placing dots.

Placing dots.

Losin’ Hearts.

Losin’ Hearts.

The only guys to get a legit Kill Screen all night!

The only guys to get a legit Kill Screen all night!

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Upstairs was a new and different sight: a brand new game from Matt Boch of Guitar Hero creators Harmonix. The game, called Pixl Pushr, is a two player competitive movement game that uses the Xbox’s Kinect motion camera along with software running on an iPad. A sequencer-like interface on the iPad allows one player to activate sections of the screen that the Kinect player must occupy with his or her body.

Spreading them out far enough forces your opponent into some ridiculous poses, sort of like a high-tech game of video-Twister. But if they manage to survive a couple of rounds, the game has a built-in “kill screen” that flashes sheets of scrambled pixels victoriously. (In traditional arcade games of 80’s, a kill screen signified an end-of-memory when the player progressed beyond what the programmer had written. This one was created intentionally.)

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MOTHERBOARD

"Videogame Night in the Museum: Kill Screen at MoMA”

"PXL PUSHR – I’m not sure if this will ever see a commercial release, which is too bad, because I think designers Matt Boch and Ryan Challinor of Harmonix are on to something here. One player sets down squares on a grid displayed on an iPad, while the other stands in front of a Kinect and tried to touch all of those squares in the space around him or her simultaneously. Here, the set up was competitive, but I could see this setup working cooperatively, too. Switch the iPad out with an Xbox controller, and I think you have a potential indie hit."

The Rumble Pack 

Gaming at the MoMA: A Look at Kill Screen’s “Arcade” Exhibition