Alex Rigopulos started playing video games at 3 years old on a Magnavox Odyssey console, and has been an avid gamer ever since.
He earned his B.S. in music from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.S. from the computer music group of the M.I.T. Media Laboratory. In 1995, he co-founded the video-game development company Harmonix with the goal of letting even the most musically challenged people experience the “unique joy” of music making. He’d been obsessed with this idea since writing his master’s thesis on “encoding the essence of music into software.”
Today, Harmonix’s best-known games,
Guitar Hero and Rock Band, are played in basements and living rooms worldwide; some say they are even helping revive the music industry.
In addition to running Harmonix with co-founder Eran Egozy, Rigopulos rocks out with his brothers in the real-life rock band Yeast. This year, Rigopulos and Egozy were named in Time‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Rigopulos has agreed to answer questions from Freakonomics readers, so have your way with him. As always, we will post his answers here in short course.
As someone who grew up playing lots of air guitar (or, more precisely, tennis-racket guitar), to everything from “September” (Earth Wind and Fire) to “Train in Vain” (the Clash), and then spent a bunch more years playing a real guitar and having an absolute blast, I cannot wait to hear your questions and Alex’s answers.
Finally: happy holidays. I am guessing at least a few thousand of you will be caressing a new plastic guitar before the week is over.
Addendum: Rigopulos answers your questions here.