Last year the video game Rock Band 3 added a keyboard to its ever-growing plastic instrument line-up. This inclusion, while fun, was limited by the keyboard’s size and the game’s rather questionable song collection. The idea to make a game out of learning songs on the keyboard isn’t new, but it is certainly being perfected by Nicholas Piegdon’s program Synthesia.
Synthesia uses MIDI files to create a falling notes track akin to the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. What’s great about it using MIDI files is that almost every song you can think of has a free MIDI version available online. Go ahead. Google your favorite song and the word MIDI and see what happens. With an endless collection of songs the only thing missing is the piano. Synthesia’s site recommends a few different types of keyboards to use that can hook up to a computer. Basically, if your keyboard has a USB or MIDI port then you are in luck (with the help of the right cables, of course).
The program itself is free, with a $25 ‘learning pack’ available that includes advanced features. If you have the right equipment the program is well worth it because let’s face it – we have better choices than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for our childrens’ first song.
Update: You know how Guitar Hero has an expert mode? May I present Synthesia’s top tier.
Scribblenauts Remix for iOS
Yes, another post about Scribblenauts – the game that lets you bring to life any noun and adjective to solve puzzles. What makes this one different is that it’s now available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This is the perfect game to promote writing and given that many schools now have iOS devices it’s a perfect fit for the classroom.
Still not convinced? Then watch the game in action…