A Visit to Harmonix!!!

This past weekend, the Flagship Computer Clubhouse spent a day at Harmonix. Our high school intern, Keven, will be our guest blogger for the day. Check out his account of the recent visit to Harmonix… 

We had an amazing trip to Harmonix! They are the makers of many popular music related video games such as Fantasia, Rock Band, and Dance Central.

To start the day, we were given an introduction about the company, its history, and the inspiration behind their games. We were given a tour around the main (and the most fun!) parts of the office where we were able to see the various concept art hung from the walls and a cool eating area. They also had a huge trophy case with various uniquely shaped awards and a big bookcase loaded with everything about music and coding videogames.

Not only were we given a tour, but we also had a chance to make our own games! To start us off, everyone was split up into teams to create a game based on data collected during Boston’s extremely snowy winter. The data showed over 400 thousand complaints about the snow alone! We were given ideas on the type of game we should make. Some of the ideas included being the mayor of the city and cleaning all of the snow, helping neighborhoods clean up the snow, and finding which neighborhood complained the most. Whenever a game is being created, developers try to answer three questions: How do you play? How do you feel when you play it? And what does the art/story look like? These three questions make it easier to create a game and helps keep ideas organized.

Game creating is both fun and difficult. Many ideas are thrown around during brainstorms, but only a few ideas make it into the game. To help keep us organized, we made a chart of all the ideas we had. Once we agreed on the game we wanted to make, we had to come up with an “elevator pitch,” where we give a summary of our game in 30 seconds or less. Our last goal was to create the art and finish as much of the game as possible so that we could present it in front of everyone.

After hours of ideas and game creation, we were finally able to present our games! The games created were Lazy Penguin, Snowpocalypse, and The Ice. Lazy Penguin was a video game about a penguin who was caught in a big snow storm and needed help getting to City Hall in order to get rid of all the snow. The Snowpocalypse was a board game similar to Monopoly with a variety of playable characters and penalties such as being put into jail. The Ice was a tower defense game that involved fighting snowmen in order to stop winter and bring spring.

To end the day, we were given cool Harmonix gear and took a group photo in front of the trophy case. It was a fantastic, fun-filled day and we thanked Harmonix for giving us the opportunity.