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Interview: Matt Cannon for JAM Live Music Arcade

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I recently had the chance to review JAM Live Music Arcade. Brought to us by Zivix, it does a great job in breathing new life into the music genre. It lets you remix the 32 featured songs to your liking, effectively making you the producer. Thats right — a music game that focuses on enjoying music. Who would have thought?

Well, apparently the folks at Zivix did. Matt Cannon, producer at Zivix, was kind enough to chat about making a music game and the future of JAM Live Music Arcade.

Malcolm Spinedi: For our readers who might not know, what is JAM Live Music Arcade?

Matt Cannon: JAM is a game that brings a new creative music experience to your living room. This is a live, on the fly jamming experience that lets you be creative with how you want your mix your sound.

Jam is a bit hard to classify as it’s really the first of its kind on the console market. The game has two main play modes which should be clarified and explained on their own terms. The JAM mode is closer to a live DJ mash up experience, while Arcade mode lives in the territory of traditional rhythm games.

What we’ve done is taken apart songs and broken them down into their most basic parts or, “instrument stems”. Then we serve them up to the user in a really easy to control interface where they can build the songs up piece by piece in their own live performances. Both modes function off of the same interface, with Jam mode giving you complete creative control to create your own remixes, and arcade mode cuing you along to play pre-arranged performances where you’ll compete for a high score. Playing arcade mode will also give users a taste of what’s possible when you’re jamming on your own in the open sandbox, and it’s this open mode that really differentiates the Jam experience from anything people have seen before.

MS: The popularity of music games has decreased over the last couple of years, with Guitar Hero being a prime example. What sets Jam Live Music Arcade apart from other music games? Why does your team believe this JAM will succeed?

MC: While the traditional music games that we’re all used to provided great entertainment value; they were really just providing players an illusion that they were playing music. With JAM, we set out to allow players to get one step closer and actually produce the music themselves. It’s an experience that rewards the player for their own creativity; and we’ve made it really simple for anyone to jump into it and start performing. We did include an arcade mode that will give players a similar rhythm based challenge that they’re used to, but we’re hanging our hats on the open jam mode that puts creativity first.

We believe Jam will appeal to people’s desire to be producers themselves and is an answer to what a lot of people have been asking for, which is, “something new and different in the music-game genre”. Not everyone has the drive to create, but for those that even have a slight tendency, we’ve made it really accessible for them to get into the flow of music creation. We’re not trying to be another Guitar Hero but we think we’ve provided a lot of value in the content and experience we’ve provided. If you’re into music gaming and you want something new, it’s going to be hard not to give Jam a shot!

MS: Who are the artists on board for JAM Live Arcade Box? What are the genres we can expect to see?

MC: We have several major artists and bands such as, Modest Mouse, Owl City, Fall Out Boy, Atmosphere, Fatboy Slim, Filter and more. We also have some great indie bands and up and comers that we’re excited about letting the world know about. We did our best to include a variety of genres from pop, rock, hiphop, electronic, and then some sub genres like indie rock, trance, abstract, blues/folk and more. The variety really shows off the versatility of the Jam format, and anything can be fun to play.

MS: What’s on the horizon for DLC? Any hints as to what artists to look forward to in the future?

MC: Yes, we have some DLC songs ready to launch soon after the title is out, and we’re definitely excited about providing more as fans ask for it. We can’t give any hints out at this time, but stay tuned to our Facebook and website for announcements! You can expect to see some well known rock, classic hip hop, and definitely some new electronic dance music that we’re really excited about.

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Comments (1)

  • Reneid Klein

    Nice review, Animal Man. Congrats on getting your first interview as well. I’m sure if the first of many. You guys make me want to pick this game up. Unfortunately, money is a bit tight right now and all my free gaming time is going towards Dogma, but I will keep my eye out for this and the Walking Dead game you guys reviewed as both have tickled my fancy.

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