Original Story - GotFrag DPAD
The world of video games and entertainment was changed forever on November 7, 2005. Seeming like just another release to some, others saw the future of rhythm-based games in Guitar Hero for the Playstation 2. Within weeks, this new game was in a large number of households and was accepted by the public as perhaps one of the most innovative game's since 'PaRappa The Rappa' (see old-school PS1). This is something nobody has seen on a console before. It was so different that people went crazy for it. The developers had one goal -- to reach everyone who likes music. Obviously, this is a very large demographic, and new company RedOctane had figured out a winning recipe.
By the following year, everyone was waiting for the release of Guitar Hero II. Who didn't want to be a rocker? Pick up a fictional guitar, pick from a large number of popular, known songs, and rock out! Strictly being there for entertainment purposes, people picked up on this factor and behold... Guitar Hero parties were born.
Becoming one of the quickest selling games in the history of video games, everyone and their sibling wanted Guitar Hero this past holiday season. Some call it hype, others call it pure genius. Myself, I call it quality. Where else can you get a game with the challenge of Guitar Hero while keeping to the roots of American culture? Music, video games, and superstars.
Before long, Guitar Hero was taken into competition by tournaments such as WSVG and WCG. After watching one performance at the WSVG, it was purely entertaining to watch the player, who clearly knew the game very well, dance around much like a rock star and perform for the crowd. Hell, rock legend Vince Neil from Motley Crue was on hand in WSVG Dallas to help choose a winner. Overrated some may say, however competitors would show you how truly complicated the game would be as they perform the hardest songs with style.
From what I've heard, some may consider this game a rehash of Simon. Okay, understandable. Colors matching colors, "simon says," I get it. Problem is, Simon never lasted as long as 10 minutes for one game, and it has never held the complexity of the combinations like in a quick run on "Through the Fire and Flames" by Dragonforce on Expert. Surely, Simon was rather popular back in it's time with it's simple formula that would redefine memory. However, one cannot honestly sit down, watch someone playing a song like "Pride and Joy" on Expert, then straight out memorize it. This game relies on total hand-eye coordination and penalizes greatly on slow reaction times. Don't believe me? Try to play Raining Blood with your eyes closed on Expert.
Following the immense success of Guitar Hero III, we were presented with... ROCK BAND.
Following the classic formula of Guitar Hero, new elements were added in the form of drums and singing mechanics. With the amount of fun had in this game alone, people would bring Rock Band to fraternity parties, New Year's Eve parties, bachelor parties, and anywhere that had a number of people together. When combining the number of people performing, you can be sure that there will be plenty of fun to be had as people laughed and cried during performances of their favorite songs as well as some all time classics (insert Bon Jovi song).
Looking for guitar/drumming lessons for these games? No need to get em, luckily for all players these games are pick-up-and-play. Anyone can start on Easy and work their way up to Expert if they get to know the game enough. I'm sure not many boast themselves as true guitarists after beating Guitar Hero III on Expert, however playing the game has definitely given many the determination to perhaps learn an instrument. After tearing up the Rock Band career on drums, I myself have decided to get myself on a drum set and just enjoy the finer points of creating your own music. Much like my Guitar Hero start, I am an amateur for now but not for very long. If anything, these games have given the average gamer a reason to get up and go learn something new in their lives -- something that they can truly enjoy.
Overrated? Over-hyped? I'll let the millions of copies sold tell the story here, along with the millions of happy fans enjoying perhaps one of their favorite games of all-time. And if anyone has anything to say against that, you can count myself along with those fans.
(If you're looking for the cause of this piece, check out my colleague, Iran White's GHIII and Rock Band: No bite, all hype