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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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The Amazing Magic of Harmonix

Comments (9)

One of the places new approaches to human-computer interaction plays out is with video games. One company – Harmonix – has been working on this for 18 years.

Harmonix, which is best known for Rock Band, is also the developer of three massive video game franchises. The first, Guitar Hero, was the result of almost a decade of experimentation that resulted in the first enormous hit in the music genre in the US. Virtually everyone I know remembers the first time they picked up a plastic guitar and played their first licks on Guitar Hero. Two years later, Rock Band followed, taking the music genre up to a new level, and being a magnificent example of a game that suddenly absorbed everyone in the room into it. Their more recent hit, Dance Central, demonstrated how powerfully absorbing a human-based interface could be, especially when combined with music, and is the top-selling dance game franchise for the Microsoft Kinect.

Last fall, Alex Rigopulos and his partner Eran Egozy showed me the three new games they were working on. Each addressed a different HCI paradigm. Each was stunningly envisioned. And each was magic, even in its rough form. Earlier this year I saw each game again, in a more advanced form. And I was completely and totally blown away – literally bouncing in my seat as I saw them demoed.

So – when Alex and Eran asked me if I’d join their board and help them with this part of their journey, I happily said yes. It’s an honor to be working with two entrepreneurs who are so incredibly passionate and dedicated to their craft. They’ve built, over a long period of time, a team that has created magical games not just once, but again and again. And they continue to push the boundaries of human-computer interaction in a way that impacts millions of people.

I look forward to helping them in whatever way I can.

  • http://nabeelhyatt.com nabeel

    Back in the saddle! The next couple years for that company are going to be awesome yet again.

  • http://twitter.com/StevenHB Steven Bergstein

    That’s a nice round-trip story, Brad.

  • http://wmougayar.com/ William Mougayar

    Congratulations.
    I had not heard of them, but 3 words came to mind when I checked them out:
    Magical, Creative, Brilliant. These are pretty good motivators for a successful business of any kind.

  • http://about.me/brandonmarker Brandon Marker

    Congrats! I’m a big fan of Harmonix’s ability to take the major risks in that industry and come out on top. As a gamer, its refreshing. To me, the most interesting piece of their success is the ability to attract hardcore gamers, casual players, and even the “what the hell am I doing and why am I having so much fun” crowd with one title. How many people bought a PS3 or Xbox JUST to play Rock Band or GH?

  • http://avc.com fredwilson

    Awesome. You and Harmonix are a match made in heaven

  • http://twitter.com/sosventures Sean OSullivan

    Brad: Like you, I’ve known Alex & Eran since the beginning. Amazing, and awesome, that they are still at it after all these years, still together as a team. They rock, and it’s been a great ride seeing what they’ve accomplished. Back to the future! Sean

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vincent-Levinger/1183853573 Vincent Levinger

    Guitar Hero was one of my favorite games way back when! As a music student, I was so excited to finally see music become popular in a video game.

  • Mathieu Gosselin

    Can’t wait to see what they are cooking! Those guys are a great role model for us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005535699070 Facebook User

    I look forward to seeing the differences and exciting points about each of the 3 games. You sure make it sound good!

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