Jam Party, the newest release from Minneapolis’ musical gaming company Zivix, LLC, is a sandbox of sorts; you make the original music rather than following the leader, like such games as Rock Band and Guitar Hero.
Minneapolis-based Zivix has partnered with Peavey Electronics to create a full size guitar controller (aka HeroMaker) featuring optical finger sensors that allow the player to jam on a real six string guitar. Some 80 patents and $2m in development later, this peripheral is scheduled to be released throughout quarter four 2010 and beginning of quarter one 2011.
Dan Sullivan, the Founder and CTO of Zivix brought on Chad Koehler to lead the Jam Party launch. Koehler has spent 16 years in the gaming industry, working as an Activision executive for seven of those. Koelher Co-founded Head Games Publishing, which was sold to Activision, the creator of the multimillion unit franchise “Cabella’s Big Game Hunter”. He also brings his connections, including Reverb Communications, which was the PR team behind Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2. Below is a video of Chad Koehler at E3 last month, demonstrating the gameplay through the HeroMaker controller:
Minnesota isn’t known for video game companies and products, as Koehler points out, “It has been challenging to find seasoned video game programmers and artists in Minnesota. However, we have assembled a very strong team — although it’s taken a little longer than originally planned.”
Currently, Jam Party can be downloaded for the PC only and uses a keyboard/mouse or any guitar controller (Guitar Hero, Rock Band controller) that has a USB plug (which most of the new ones should). New players can get their first 60 minutes free to experiment with different melodies.
Unlike Guitar Hero, you earn points and unlock new jams based on how much time you spend jamming out. You can either set a time limit on your jams, or go to party mode to jam out with friends (however in party mode, you do not collect points).
One feature of Jam Party that stands-out is the ability to export your jams as MP3s to share with friends via email, website or social network. Check out my track!