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Discover the origins of this cult classic!

Mega FreQ Austin has compiled a Let’s Play FreQuency video series with commentary to help you learn about the history of FreQuency, including helpful tips on how to improve your skills.

What is FreQuency?

FreQuency is a PlayStation 2 video game developed by Harmonix Music Systems and was published by Sony Computer Entertainment America in 2001.


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# FreQ 101

  • FreQuency was the first rhythm video game developed by Harmonix.
  • FreQuency was a release game for PlayStation 2's online network adapter.
  • FreQuency was the first rhythm action video game developed by an
    American video game developer.

It is a rhythm-action game in which a FreQ (the player) uses their FreQuency Activator to activate music trapped inside musical gems. On each track the gems can be found in three different spots: Left, Middle and Right. FreQs can activate the music by lining up their FreQuency Activator with the gem and pressing the corresponding buttons. From left to right the gems can be captured by pressing square(left), triangle(middle), and circle (right) or L1(left), R1(middle), and R2(right).

Each track of gems represents a different instrument such as Drums, Bass, Synth, and Vocals. After releasing two measures of musical gems successively with no mistakes that track is activated for the the entire phrase. Once all sections are activated the player is able to move to an Axe or a Scratch track in which the players can use the analog stick to play the specific sounds along with special effects with the square, triangle, and circle buttons.

FreQuency can also be played in a multiplayer mode in which each FreQ collects power-ups to battle it out for the highest score.

Downloadable content. The brink of online gaming on consoles. The XBOX brought an internal storage and Xbox Live, and while there were games that did indeed have DLC, the concept did not really catch fire until the next console generation. Harmonix originally had planned on using expansion packs in the form of swappable discs to play additional songs on FreQuency. Sadly, this concept never got off the ground.


Multiple instrument tracks, all played with a controller. Rock Band brought back playing on multiple instruments, however, FreQuency was set up in such a way, that instead of merely playing a single track on one instrument from beginning to end, the player plays two measures to activate a track, then moves on to the next, all while trying to retain their multiplier or at least pass the song. This concept is almost exclusive to Harmonix's two first games, and is only seen elsewhere in the form of Rock Band: Unplugged for the PSP.