Music games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” had a meteoric rise and subsequent fall.
For a few years, it was impossible to go to a bar or party without running into a group of folks huddled around a screen, furiously attempting to recreate music using plastic, instrument-shaped game controllers. The flood of faux instruments attached to music games resulted in a collapse; the folks buying those games grew tired of them just as quickly as they’d picked them up.
By 2011, second-hand stores across the world were littered with the discarded controllers of years past.
Four years later, and the genre is getting an encore: “Guitar Hero Live” is a new music game which uses a plastic guitar-shaped game controller peripheral. It’s headed to Xbox, PlayStation, phones, and tablets this fall.
Given that most folks aren’t still holding on to ageing plastic guitar controllers, there’s a new version being created for “Guitar Hero Live.” Rather than the traditional five button horizontal layout, the new guitar has two rows of three buttons. The game’s publisher says this new setup allows players to “play two-row combinations that mimic real chords.”
The game’s focus this time is on the “live” experience, putting players in the position of a lead guitarist facing crowds of actual people. Here’s an example:
These folks are
that you nailed that guitar line.
But the crowd won’t always love you! Here’s how they look when you do poorly:
Despite the dropoff of music games four years ago, “Guitar Hero Live” believes it can win players back by paring down the experience and re-focusing. The focus here is on making “Guitar Hero” into a guitar-based game once again, retracting from the full band setup that it became before the series left the spotlight.
To that extent, “Guitar Hero Live” is powered by a network of music videos spanning a variety of music genres. This is “GHTV,” which is described as, “the world’s first playable live music video network.” What that means for players is that the game is powered by music videos, available on-demand, which will expand the game’s playable library of songs beyond what comes on the disc this fall.
But will that be enough? Will “Guitar Hero Live” bring players back to the game genre that its owners help to obliterate with over saturation? We’ll find out this fall, when both “Guitar Hero Live” and its competitor “Rock Band 4” launch.
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