There’s actual musicality to cracking a safe. You have to hear the rhythms and turn to a beat. There’s a reason you may have to use a stethoscope but imagine if you have music in your ears instead of simple micro-clicks that helped guide you through the process and made you feel like a bad-ass. With a first-hand experience of the game, Spin Rhythm XD, here is my interview with one of the creators.
[This is Robert J. Kijowski] for the Workprint and I am speaking with Dave Curro from the Spin Rhythm XD team. Right off the bat having played the demo, my blood is pumping, my heart is racing.. so where did this originate?
Dave Curro: That’s kind of complicated. It’s been in the works for some eight years floating around as an idea and our artist, Shath [McGuire] who used to work at Halfbrick on Fruit Ninja and Jet Pack Joy Ride who was responsible with those looking great with another member of our team Steve [Last] who formed the Ninja Pack- they really know gameplay and visuals and Shath always loved Rock Band, Guitar Hero- that sort of what we really had back in Australia back in the day.. we didn’t have all these crazy rhythm games in the arcades and stuff, and these days it’s like, damn where have all the rhythm games gone? Like there’s Beat Saber and all the different arcade games we can’t get back home, so we’re like, let’s just make one!
RJ: Of Course!
DC: It initially was thought up as a mobile prototype, but when those were getting big, they were all tap-tappy types and we wanted to deploy all the spins that you could utilize while holding and tapping a flow, a scratch zone, the notes to what amounts to simple but complicated and ultimately rewarding gameplay. So it started on mobile but wanted to release it on PC but we wanted to release it on premium.
RJ: I noticed you wanted to make it more authentic! I’ve noticed you have included the option for a MIDI DJ set up, which as a former DJ, was very rewarding. I mean you have your Rock Band, you have your DJ Hero and stuff, which has peripherals of sorts, but when you deal with true MIDI, true musicianship, you bring a lot of DJ’s into the fold. Definitely, respect.
DC: It looks intense, I know.
RJ: But the look and feel of it were so smooth. With the Pioneers and all?
DC: Well at the first PAX, we were exhibiting in Australia in 2017, and we had this really solid CDJ’s that were Pioneer with a solid mechanized wheel that goes “ZZZZZ” when you spin it (Onomonopeia), we saw if we could get that same sensation into the game. We tested out with MIDI and it tested great and was so robust so we wanted to incorporate and it exposed so well. People saw this wheel and they wanted to tinker around this wheel and even though it initially was mouse and track-pad based, we realized we could make it for every DJ wheel out there. That is like our mission, ya know?
RJ: I think everybody that steps up to the demo feels like a DJ GOD. They are like, “I have got two turntables, it feels extremely intuitive, it feels super awesome…” I have to query about the music. Who curated the music, because it’s a phenomenal soundtrack.
DC: We had a lot of directions we could go and a lot of our fans put in their thoughts of how the music could go. Some wanted more anime music, some wanted more rock. We were like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! You can’t please everyone, so we might as well please ourselves. So we hand-picked out artists like Monstercat or NCS to independent or whatever we could find. We’re getting a track by Haywire pretty soon. We basically reached out to him and he was down for it. Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s complicated, but the setlist is off something we really like.
RJ: It’s off the charts amazing-
DC: We’re also a bit picky. Some music is a good thing to listen to but sometimes it goes on for a long time and it’s a really good vibe, but what we like is rhythmic and harmonic motion, changes in different sections and contrasts.
RJ: You want a little bit of a challenge melodically in the game as well.
DC: We don’t want to have in the game just vibes. Even though some tracks are just amazing if you put it in there, you want it to go somewhere. Know what I mean? What we really love is melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, structured electronic music that works with what game requires.
RJ: Visually, the game looks stunning.
DC: That’s all Shath.
RJ: Because everyone’s familiar with the Rock Band colorway, you need to have your choice of colors stand out above the rest. You take it to another level. In my mind, this looks like a DJ’s brain thinks!
DC: Shaf’s really picky about colors and could make anything look really good. And as opposed to Rock Band, he’s shifted from primaries more to neon pastels, like cyan and magenta and for the beats like a really neon yellowish-green. The spin prompt is this purple and they still represent the color spectrum and blend together really well when playing the game, but it’s not quite what you’re used to. It feels futuristic.
RJ: A completely new color palette that’s palatable. Lastly, I must ask, do you have any options for recording and sharing mixes?
DC: For legal reasons, we cannot facilitate the sharing of music, but we will have an option soon to be able to import your own music and create levels and it will be open-sourced. What you can do now is edit your own tracks in the game proper, as we have full editing tools, you just can’t slow the BPM’s down or cut them up, BUT you once coming up with bringing your whole suite of music.
RJ: That’s fucking awesome! I highly recommend this game to anyone, especially if you wanted to feel like a DJ bad-ass because again, it got my blood pumping and heart racing-
DC: -I saw you on there, man! You were in the zone! In another dimension.
RJ: I was because and it was super fun because I’m used to being on normal turntables and got a little too intense with the CDJ’s.
DC: Well it’s hard because the sensitivity with those changed, the sensitivity is high now but you can customize and control it.
RJ: That’s beautiful.
DC: Check out Spin, early access on Steam, coming out towards the end of the year!
RJ: You’ve heard it heard first, people!
Thankfully, I got to cut a huge swath of people salivating at playing this demo. They tried me at hard because I wanted a two-hander (on the turntables, people!) but started me out hard. I failed a shit-ton and when the fixed me with an easier mode, I still failed because I was so in my element. This game actually utilizes both lobes of the grey matter. It’s visually appealing and hits the auditory in a way that only can make the best parts of you stand up and want to make you DJ an actual party. How many records could I give for the experience and interview? Yeah, that many records. It is a fucking gold record experience.
P.S. Super shout out to Dave Curro for Super Spin Digital and Zack Furniss at Stride PR for hooking this up. It is something I cannot recommend enough as a leveled up experience to rhythm games. This will change everything.