FUSER Won’t Get The Love It Deserves But Scientifically It Should

Times are Tough, but Music Pulls Us Through

This is an article about the science behind music and games using FUSER as the focus. This is not medical advice. If you are having thoughts of suicide first call the National Suicide Hotline:

1-800-273-8255 or 911 in the U.S.

Or check this link to find another hotline to call.


(Update note: I have added additional information from Silverman, 2005, to support the argument stated in this article. I am not a health professional, so this is simply an article based on others research – all cited – for you to draw your own conclusions.)

If you are not familiar with FUSER you are probably part of a large majority of the gaming community. After the rise of music games from Amplitude, Guitar Hero and Rock Band things took a turn for less music based games. Titles like DJ Hero tried to innovate even more than Rock Band 3 with the keyboards, but eventually burn out hit consumers. FUSER is a purely digital version of what DJ Hero shot for. You play a DJ with 100+ songs to mix.

If you played or heard of Dropmix this is along the same lines. Each song has multiple aspects. Take, for example, everyone’s favorite rock anthem All Star by Smash Mouth; you will have various aspects of the song to put on your four record turn table.

dropmix

“Hey now” can start your mix, but you can forgo the lyrics and throw the vocals in from Better Now by Post Malone and drop the bass line from All Star. Mix that with Don’t Fear the Reaper and Rock the Casbah on rhythm and you start to create unique mixes that very few others have created.

So with all of that out of the way, let us break down the problems FUSER is going to face and why scientifically, in times like these, you need to consider following the game and possibly picking it up.

The Uphill Battle for FUSER

fuser trailer screenshot

Harmonix is in for a difficult battle to gain those important early sales numbers for a few reasons. First, a release date of Nov. 10th, 2020, puts them in for heavy competition. A game that is intended to be this loud will be muted by major releases the same week. Both next gen consoles will launch, Miles Morales, Assassin’s Creed’s next entry and a run up to Cyberpunk 2077 are all going to eat up any type of word of mouth or advertising that may have helped the game early.

On top of that, the game is only being released digitally so parents out shopping for the holidays will not see the title on shelves and local game shops will not be able to mention the game as an add on for sales. I appreciate the digital only release myself, I guess, though I think a physical release would have been a huge help in creating a cult following behind the title. A digital only release selling for $60 USD for the base game and $100 for the VIP version is a hard pill to swallow for an unproven concept.

Finally, that unproven concept of the game is going to hold it back. When you tell people you can be a DJ, what does that really mean? Two things are going to pop into many peoples’ heads. First, this is going to be way too complicated since I know nothing about how DJing works. Second, the opposite could be true as well with people thinking the game will be so dumbed down that you won’t ever really feel like a DJ. So who is the audience?

Also, without any hardware accompanying the game, as was not the case with DJ Hero, it is much harder to explain to people in a few words. With DJ Hero, you could at least show the turntable and people could get an image of what they would be doing with the game. But there are some scientific reasons that this game could or, at least, should gain traction. All currently very important due to the pandemic.

Check out the playlist for the game here: If some songs are blocked in your country – use this link.

The Science Behind Music

Face it, we aren’t all equally talented in everything. That’s what makes diversity important. We all have unique skills and we should be given the same chances to do things, but only those that are most qualified in any particular skill will truly succeed. So, if I want to really dig in to mixing music, but don’t have the talent (or funds) to dive into that world, how are you going to pull it off? FUSER? Maybe?

FUSER is accessible and even if you aren’t musically gifted, the game is designed to still make you sound good. And that positive feedback of being able to mix music and hear your creation in real time is something you probably need more than you realize right now. FUSER won’t make you a real DJ, but it will give you the same inroads as playing drums in Rock Band gives you. A taste. Maybe you see you have a talent for it and it drives you down the path. Either way, it gives you the ability to create. 

Why does this matter? According to a report by The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) “music therapy programs can be designed to achieve goals such as managing stress, enhancing memory, and alleviating pain.” (Mills, Flannigan and Boothby, 2020) In addition, “A recent review in the World Journal of Psychiatry found that music therapy can be an effective treatment for mood disorders related to neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.” (Mills, Flannigan and Boothby, 2020)

More than Therapy

FUSER key art

As hinted at in the previous section, memory is another part of the importance of music. According to a report by the Harvard Medical School “Researchers at the music and neuro-imaging laboratory at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have shown that singing lyrics can be especially helpful to people who are recovering from a stroke or brain injury that has damaged the left-brain region responsible for speech. Because singing ability originates in the undamaged right side of the brain, people can learn to speak their thoughts by singing them first and gradually dropping the melody. Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords used this technique to learn to speak well enough to testify before a Congressional committee two years after a gunshot wound to her brain destroyed her ability to speak. Singing has also helped healthy people learn words and phrases faster.” (Publishing, 2015)

I’m not going to paraphrase the above because it is important to understand if you don’t click to read more. There is a lot to music that we don’t understand and we are constantly learning new things each year. If you want to see music therapy in action, the Music and Memory Foundation is a good place to visit.

According to an article in Greater Good Magazine from Berkeley, there is more research that supports the above claims. They mention the following five benefits; music reduces stress and anxiety, music decreases pain, music may improve immune functioning, music may aid memory and music helps focus on exercise. You can read more here: Five Ways Music Can Make You Healthier.

Gaming Benefits (FUSER is a game first)

FUSER screenshot

This is more than just making music, though. This is also a game. So, can we dig around and find something that supports a positive outcome from gaming? According to the American Psychological Association (APA) it can.

“While one widely held view maintains playing video games is intellectually lazy, such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception, according to several studies reviewed in the article.” (Granic, 2013)

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, so I won’t go in depth on the research, but you should explore the review to learn more about how gaming can help in many different ways.

“If playing video games simply makes people happier, this seems to be a fundamental emotional benefit to consider,” said Granic. (Granic, 2013)

Gaming + Music > Pandemic Stress

FUSER screenshot

So is FUSER the answer to our problems? Not at all. But there are a few things we have to focus on depending on the current level of lockdown we are facing. Our own mental health is key. According to Psycom.net, suicide rates are likely on the rise due to the social distancing, lockdowns, and isolation. Add economic stress to that and a bigger barrier to mental and physical healthcare, and we have a storm that leads to terrible outcomes.

Exercise is a proven way to increase mood by releasing dopamine and serotonin. This has a huge impact on stress. Music, as shown above can help mentally in a number of ways. Gaming has a solid number of benefits. So, when you are feeling off, or stressed, or down, turn to music, exercise and gaming.

Creating is another way many people release stress, so if you can combine gaming and music to effortlessly start exercising those creative juices you can see why a game like FUSER may be a good way to overcome some of these negative emotions.

This is not to say that FUSER is better than the sum of its parts. The thought process, in my opinion, goes like this. If music is good for emotional and mental health and gaming has many positive benefits then FUSER is more likely a positive than a negative. In a paper published about music therapy games for adult psychiatric patients (full text not available yet) I found the following statement:

“This interpretation may be supported by recent music therapy research literature in the acute-care setting, wherein the focus has been on single sessions that use interventions such as music games (Silverman, 2005(Silverman, , 2014, music games and other recreational activities (Silverman & Rosenow, 2013), music psychoeducation (Silverman, 2009(Silverman, , 2014, and songwriting (Jones, 2005;Silverman, 2012b;Silverman & Leonard, 2012). In contrast, in the recovery or community treatment setting, MTs use music experiences in a different way, or use other music experiences that may be more suitable for long-term treatment…” (Silverman, 2005)

There are a lot of other things to consider such as the social aspect (which I can’t detail yet as I haven’t been able to dive into the game) which can be helpful even without any scientific backing in a time where we are all isolated more than ever. On top of that, creating things can have a positive emotional benefit. The question with FUSER is are you creating music? In my opinion you are, though those within the community argue that you are remixing, or arranging music. So it is up to you to decide if you are creating something. Ultimately, I think it is safe to say FUSER will be a positive on down days, but I can’t back that statement with any scientific research. All I can do is combine the information and extrapolate the best guess. With so many positives, at the very least, it won’t hurt. At best, it will be a great part of your gaming and music diet to help with the stress that comes with the current climate.

FUSER and Science Conclusion

FUSER screenshot

I’ll state this again. This is not medical advice. This is simply an editorial to break down the benefits of a game like FUSER. People much smarter than myself will need to do research on a game like this to see if all the separate pieces add up to any noticeable mental benefit. In my opinion, the math adds up.

For me, my day was a little off and I put on the soundtrack for the 100+ songs that are going to release with the game and I went from dragging around the house to instantly lifted mentally. Some of the songs aren’t songs I love, but between checking out FUSER mixes online and listening to the music and imagining different ways they could be combined, I heard the songs in a new way and I felt much better.

This is not medical advice. If you are having thoughts of suicide first call the National Suicide Hotline:

1-800-273-8255 or 911 in the U.S.

Or check this link to find another hotline to call.

There are plenty of other creative outlets to explore if FUSER is not your cup of tea. Whatever you choose, take care of yourself physically and mentally. We will get through this and we will all be okay. Feel free to contact us with any corrections, additional information or questions at contact@backtothegaming.com.


References

Mills, D., Flannigan, J. and Boothby, S., 2020. How Does Music Affect Your Mood And Emotions. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-listening-to-music-lifts-or-reinforces-mood-051713#Boosting-moods> [Accessed 8 November 2020].

Publishing, H., 2015. Music Can Boost Memory And Mood – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/music-can-boost-memory-and-mood> [Accessed 8 November 2020].

Granic, I., 2013. Video Games Play May Provide Learning, Health, Social Benefits. [online] https://www.apa.org. Available at: <https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/11/video-games#:~:text=While%20one%20widely%20held%20view%20maintains%20playing%20video,according%20to%20several%20studies%20reviewed%20in%20the%20article.> [Accessed 8 November 2020].

Silverman, M. J. (2005). Using music therapy games with adult psychiatric patients. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 32(2), 121-129. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2005.01.006


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Chris has been playing around in the gaming industry for entirely too long. These days he is working on become an educator while also chasing his passion of helping up and coming writers and content creators make a name for themselves. He’s a talker, so careful if you value your time.

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