Trombone Champ is the newest video game that players can’t put down, even if others want them to.
Developed by Holy Wow Studios, the rhythm video game is similar to Guitar Hero, but replaces the guitar with a trombone. The avatar plays the trombone while the player moves the mouse up and down to synchronize with the pitch on the screen. Mouse movements are inverted, which adds another level of complexity.
The game, which was released on September 15th, went viral this week after people on the internet, from video game reviewers to real trombonists—started posting recordings of themselves playing it.
Result? Lots of buzz for songs like the national anthem and Beethoven’s 5th symphony, and people laughing online.
Dan Veccitto, the game’s developer, said he never expected it to become a newfound source of laughter on the Internet. In fact, Vekkitto, whose full-time job is web design, expected a much smaller group of enthusiasts.
“I’m obviously very happy about it and a little bit relieved,” Veccitto said with a laugh. “I’m not really sure what the answer is going to be because … it almost always sounds bad.”
Veccitto, who said he develops video games as a hobby, doesn’t even play the trombone.
He came up with the idea for Trombone Champ four years ago, inspired by traditional arcade cabinets. Veccitto said he envisioned a cabinet that instead of a plastic gun had a rubber trombone with a moving slider attached to it.
“I thought it would be funny to imagine someone trying to move the skate on a giant rubber trombone in and out to sort of match these giant squiggly lines flying across the screen,” he said.
I wasn’t quite sure what the answer would be because … it almost always sounds bad.
Dan Veccitto, developer of Trombone Champ
According to Vekkitto, who worked on it nights and weekends, development of the game went relatively smoothly.
But the most difficult thing for Vekkitto was that he wanted to find songs that would appeal to the player without having to pay royalties. Almost all music is classical and is in the public domain.
At first, Veccitto said he was afraid trombonists might offend the game. However, he said most of the trombonists he heard from liked it.
“A GAME WHERE YOU PLAY THE TROMBONE?!?!? It feels like Trombone Champ was literally made for me,” said G4 host and trombonist Austin Creed wrote on Twitter.
YouTuber Trombone Timo, a professional trombonist with a large following on social media, was also happy to play.
“Overall this game is complete trash – just kidding,” he said in his video review. “It’s fine.”
His only gripe? A trombonist doesn’t move his whole body to hit certain notes like an in-game avatar does, he said.
“Also ‘trombonist?’ he added, referring to the name of the player in the game. “Come on… [it’s] trombonist!”
Many people said that this game made them laugh out loud.
“Trombone Champ is so funny because the off-key trombone and the fart sound almost the same, and therefore almost as funny, especially with the repetition” – one person tweeted.
“Trombone Champ is incredible,” games author Joseph Yaden wrote on Twitter. “The funniest game I’ve ever played.”
“Saw a video from a PC gamer..my stomach hurt from laughing so hard..bought the game in return..played it myself..now my index finger hurts and my stomach hurts even more,” wrote one reviewer on Steam, a video game distribution service platform.
Lots of requests for songs on Twitter that they hoped to see on “Trombone Champ” one day. Some suggested the game is up for “instant” game of the year.
Vekkitto said that due to the overwhelming response, he will continue to update and tweak what he believes is the first ever trombone-centric game.
The game, which costs $14.99, is available on PC via Steam. Vekkitto said he plans to release a Mac version and eventually a console version. The game is currently only available in English, but Vecchitto plans to add other languages.
“I always knew the concept was ridiculous,” Veccitto said. “But I’m still very surprised at how viral it has become.”