Ovelin, the creators of WildChords, have recently been on a rampage of success. Before the game’s official release, they won the Slush 100 here in Helsinki and several other prizes including Best European Learning Game 2011 and Northern Dimension Music Innovation Award 2011. Now their app is out in the wild and has been topping the “free app” charts in Finland since its release, which is impressive for a music app.
It’s easy to see why the game has been taking off. Everytime I see someone insanely “good” at Guitar Hero or a similar game, I ask myself how many more Mozarts or Jimmy Pages there would be in the world if all that focus was put in a musical instrument rather than mashing a couple buttons. WildChords combines the addictive features of similar video games with guitar exercises, so users get hooked on practicing on their real guitars.
I’ve gotten the chance to play WildChords, and they’ve manage to perfectly hit the mark where you don’t realize it’s an educational game while you play it. And the game was way smarter than I thought. You would think the game or the iPad microphone would’t be that accurate, but when you fat-finger that C chord and accidentally mute a string, it shows up right on the iPad in real time. It can be frustrating not being able to keep up, but the game mechanics have you hooked and coming back for more.
“As a guitar dropout myself, I know how hard it can be to stay motivated in the beginning when the guitar exercises are not that interesting yet. And WildChords really makes it easy to practice on the guitar. You pick it up to play one of the exercises, and then you can’t put it down before your fingers start hurting,” tells Ovelin co-founder and CEO Christoph Thür.
To play the game all you need is an iPad and a guitar, and the game can currently be downloaded from the Apple App store in Finland, Sweden, Canada and New Zealand. The free game contains the first 5 beginner exercise packages (26 exercises), and 6 demo version of more advanced exercise songs. Additional exercises can be bought for 3€, and contain 5-9 exercises each (intended to take an average user around one week to master).