It went from Guitar Hero to Guitar Zero in 60 (months). It was a great concept, nicely executed, and it was subsequently incredibly successful. In other words, it had its time and has seen its day. With several sequels and song expansions, it's been milked. It's been milked to a powder. Squeeze that electronic teat once more and you'll get dust. The kind of dry, choking dust associated with an ancient tomb.
But as marketing geniuses would have it, with the advent of some manipulative ingenuity, they believe there's still a buck to be made off the franchise. The plans are to rescind, rework, refine, and re-release. But we can just distill it down to one word that starts with an "r"—"rehash!"
The corporate mentality is not to let something die if you can reanimate the corpse and make it do tricks, however inappropriate those tricks may be. The company that owns Guitar Hero plans to take it off the market. Make people forget about it for a while. Allow the cheap plastic guitar controllers to sit in the closet and garage and get damaged. No doubt you'll find some at yard sales for five bucks. Then when they re-release the new and improved Guitar Hero, they can sell you new controllers as well. You can bet those new controllers will also be new and improved with features you can't access with the old ones. Even though they'll claim you can still use your old controller with the new game, using the old one will make you feel like you've showed up to the pool in your gitch.
I am a professional musician, whether you like it or not, so I feel I can impart some personal philosophy here. You may choose to disagree, but if you're not a musician, then anything voiced in contradiction will be seen as malicious, threatening, and immature. So #$%+ off!
There's a reason Guitar Hero waned. It's an entertaining novelty, nothing more. There's no lasting entertainment value, and there's no musical value either. You can't even call it a rhythm game as such, since the commands follow more than just guitar riffs. You'll play along to drum fills, bass lines, and even vocal cues. Since there is always new music being produced, you would think the game should last forever. But that's not the case. The gameplay is really little more than glorified typing.
You have as much of a chance of becoming a guitar player with Guitar Hero as you do becoming a superhero—or a cartoon duck—by reading a comic book. On the other hand, the drums and vocal components of Rock Band actually do contribute to musical development. I know of some gamers who developed good drumming skills as a result of using the electronic kit in Rock Band. They were good enough to play in a real band, and they weren't even in high school. And any karaoke-style game with a built in pitch meter is great training for vocalists. As long as they pay attention to the pitch meter. Keep in mind that the pitch meter is there to protect the audience, and protect you from the audience should they decide to pelt you with fruit, vegetables, bricks, and saw blades.
The most requested band's catalogue for Guitar Hero is Led Zeppelin. They refused. They know Guitar Hero needs them more than they need Guitar Hero, and Zep won't ruin their rep by setting sail on a sinking ship. Maybe they could use the money, but they have integrity. There's a music lesson for the gaming industry.
So unless Guitar Hero incorporates actual frets and strings that correspond to actual guitar notes, there's no reason to bring it back from the dead.
By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*