They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but they neglected to mention that it’s also a crushing chokehold on the windpipe of creativity. Nowhere is this fact of life more apparent than in this fall’s lineup of upcoming and recently released video games. Look a little closer and you’ll realize—with a few exceptions—that it’s not just this season’s selection of pixelly diversions that suffer from a general lack of originality; it’s a long-running ailment endemic to the entire video game industry.
Better Vibrations:The two black pickup units control how the strings vibrate. Brian Klutch
Every shredder, from Les Paul to Jack White, has tweaked the sound of his guitar—adding echo, distortion or “wah-wah”—by manipulating the electric signal it produces. The Moog Guitar, on the other hand, manipulates the strings themselves, changing how it sounds and how it feels to play.
A floor-to-ceiling virtual instrument that can rock for real
By Mike Kobrin
Posted 07.16.2008 at 12:19 pm 9 Comments
Playing the harp isn’t the most high-tech pastime—unless, like Stephen Hobley, you use lasers in place of the strings. Though not the first home-built laser harp, Hobley’s creation is unquestionably the coolest. Played by disrupting the laser beams with his hands, it can produce just about any sound. Better yet, it’s also a fully functioning controller for a version of Guitar Hero.
The annual Bay Area carnival attracts the best Makers in the land. See what caught our eye this year
By John Mahoney
Posted 05.05.2008 at 6:11 pm 3 Comments
We're back from this weekend's Maker Faire, the third-annual event in San Mateo, CA . Our friends at Make continue to up the ante, bringing DIYers from far and wide to show off their projects at the ultimate geek county fair.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 10.19.2007 at 10:47 am0 Comments
PopSci reporter Andrew Rosenblum is currently blogging from the the Entertainment for All Expo, a four day gaming bonanza aimed at industry insiders and gamers alike and currently taking place in Los Angeles.
The Entertainment for All Expo touts itself as a video game show for the ordinary consumer, and that's both a weakness and a strength. The Expo turns out to be more of a marketing event that helps the general consumer get up to speed with what's out there, and initially I was feeling a little let-down about the shortage of genuinely new tech on display. Sure, there was some relatively new stuff like the HP
Blackbird 002 PC, a slightly more-reasonably priced entrant into the custom gamer market with a clever thermal management design and "screwless" insides that allow you to swap in a new drive in less than minute. Also, D-Box, the sit-down car simulator that vibrates when you crash or go off-road, had burly, middle-aged dudes as happy as a 10-year-old would be with the same material. But even these two cool items had already debuted prior to the show.
What is distinctive about E for All is the genuine excitement that a lot of the attendees bring. For the most part, the crowd doesn't consist of cynical journalists, overworked developers, or nervous investors. Instead, these are people who love video games enough that they're willing to plunk down between $50 and $200 just for the chance to learn more about the industry and play some of the upcoming titles.
Speaking of which, one of the biggest coming down the pike is Rock Band, the follow-up to Guitar Hero that incorporates drums and vocals in addition to guitars (release is scheduled for next month). The group captured below isn't going to make anyone forget about Anthony Kiedis, but they do seem to be having fun—just maybe next time the frontman shouldn't try to sing and play guitar at the same time.—Andrew Rosenblum
PopSci contributor Chuck Cage—a.k.a. the Toolmonger—is the man, plain and simple. Not only did he spend more than 75 hours completely gutting a Fender Squier Strat to make a wireless Guitar Hero controller, but he did it for charity. And then posted an extremely comprehensive blog post about it. Even though he got to play the controller for just 10 minutes before sending it to the charity event where it's being auctioned off, Chuck reports that it feels much more, ahem, "realistic" than the chintzy plastic controllers you usually use to play the game. Makes me want to run home right now and take apart my ax—I sound better in GH2 than I ever have in real life anyway. Chuck, you are my guitar hero.—Joe Brown
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.