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Therapists Look to Wii Games for Rehab Benefits

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Therapists Look to Wii Games for Rehab Benefits

Research News

Therapists Look to Wii Games for Rehab Benefits

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

The video game maker Electronic Arts says it is still going to pursue its attempt to buy its rival, Take 2 Interactive, though its initial bid was rebuffed. E.A. is offering nearly $2 billion to Take 2, which is the maker of the hit game series Grand Theft Auto. By the way, they're now up to Grand Theft Auto 4, if you're keeping count.

Video games are an $18-billion-a-year business, the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry, and they're not all about action. Youth Radio's Brandon McFarland takes a look into how gaming makes and shapes music.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUM PLAYING)

BLOCK: I've been playing drums since I was 6. Give me a spoon, a fork and a file cabinet, and I've got myself a drum set.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUM PLAYING)

BLOCK: If I could do that with a couple of kitchen utensils, the video game Rock Band should be a cinch. On Rock Band, you choose a classic rock tune, pick your instrument, and then rack up points for staying on beat.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: It's time for me to rock out. What happened? People are booing me? No!

N: holding your studio in the palm of your hands.

BLOCK: If you really dive in deep with these games and learning all their intricacies, it's really an act of creation. But when you get in the hands of someone who's really skilled and knows exactly what they're doing, man, they can create some amazing stuff.

AMP LIVE: I'm going to go ahead and create just like a small sequence. Oops.

BLOCK: That's hip-hop producer Amp Live using a game called Traxxpad, which turns your PlayStation into a music studio.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LIVE: Okay. (Unintelligible) noise.

BLOCK: Last month, I saw Amp's show with his crew Zina(ph). His partner Zoombie(ph) yells into the mic, Amp is going to freestyle! Amp comes from the back of the stage to the front with his PlayStation portable in his hands. Amp uses that device to mix beats in real time right there on the stage. Games can get producers like Amp Live the kind of freestyle and glory usually reserved for MCs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Where'd the 'go' come from?

LIVE: That's part of my kit, man. I can't tell you where I got it...

BLOCK: Oh, okay.

LIVE: I can't tell you what I got from this...

BLOCK: Amp is a musical adviser for Definitive Studios, the makers of Traxxpad, and its sounds come with the game. But players can also record their own sounds and use those samples in the game, too. Like when Amp secretly records me, talking about my first time playing Rock Band.

LIVE: Yeah. It's pretty safe, like, for the drumming may create a music for you.

BLOCK: This is a pretty thing.

LIVE: Like for the drumming, main, (unintelligible).

BLOCK: Okay, let me break down what's happening. Amp just sampled my voice. Now he mixes me into a beat, all by tapping tiny buttons on his handheld game system.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Yeah, that was tight. And Traxxpad is just one game where players produce original music. You can find guitarists on MySpace playing whole sets on a game called Jam Sessions. And the company Rockstar will soon release a portable music mixing game called Beaterator, in association with the legendary producer Timberland. I gave up video games years ago when I got serious about my music production. Now, music is making me juiced to get back in the game.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

U: Woo...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BLOCK: For NPR News, I'm Brandon McFarland.

BLOCK: That story was produced by Youth Radio.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

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