DJ Hero has several DJs and artists contributing to the game. | Photo: Activision

A producer on the new computer game DJ Hero has said he believes they can change the way people listen to music.

Speaking at the game’s launch, senior remix producer Dee Dhanjal said: “Listening to music has become an isolated experience these days, people walking round with their MP3 players or iPods in their ears. We thought we could try and change that, and make music a little more social.”

DJ Hero uses a special controller, based on a set of turntables, to allow you to mix along to combinations of popular music, mashing up tracks by anyone from David Bowie to Daft Punk. “The idea behind the game was to look at every single genre of music out there, and come up with mashups that had a high contrast to them, putting artists together that you wouldn’t really expect to work,” Dhanjal explained, noting how mixes such as Vanilla Ice vs MC Hammer surprised him.

“The wordplay that we got out of using the two vocals together is crazy.” Such combinations, he said, could help people enjoy a much wider variety of music by playing things that they might not normally listen to, and similar games have built up a track record for having a strong influence on people’s tastes.

In the last few years, music games have proved they can have a big impact on the music industry. Games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band have become huge successes, with the retail figures showing the franchises sold a combined 5.1 million copies in 2008, and newest release Guitar Hero 5 debuted at number one in the UK sales charts.

They have also been shown as a way of selling music too. For instance as when Mötley Crüe released their single “Saints of Los Angeles”, it sold five times more copies as a playable song in the game Rock Band than it did on iTunes, according to Reuters.

Despite the numerous complaints online about the £90 price of the game, Dhanjal has high hopes for the effect it could have. “I think DJ Hero has the potential to introduce the concept to a lot more people, maybe to people who think of it as being quite an intimidating process, and open up people’s mind and tastes when it comes to music.”

DJ Hero is published by Activision, for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii.

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