The new video game by Harmonix Music Systems, a Cambridge-based developer, is called “Fantasia: Music Evolved.” Unlike previous Harmonix creations such as “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” — where success is measured by how rigidly you can follow a pattern on your guitar-shaped controller — “Fantasia” rewards creativity and expression. You earn points by coming up with unique remixes to popular songs.
Based on the Disney movie, “Fantasia” represents the type of innovation that drives the Massachusetts economy. Harmonix employs over 200 people in the state, and “Fantasia” is being unveiled just as legislators are considering how best to use the public schools to promote workforce development. A group of business leaders wants to require all schools to teach computer science. That will help produce more developers capable of building a product as intriguing as “Fantasia” or Harmonix’s “Dance Central 2,” which sold 1.6 million units last year.
Yet “Fantasia” also proves that beyond technical expertise, innovation requires a healthy creative drive. The secret to future success for Massachusetts students is to combine both. Ask anyone who’s developed a best-selling game. And anyone who’s played one.