Saturday, November 5, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 29

Stats of Import

Platform: Xbox 360
Absurdly Specific Genre: Fantasy Fulfillment Via Plastic Guitars
Difficulty: I was never incredibly good at any particular instrument, so we usually played at 'hard'.
Beaten: I only played enough to unlock all the songs. 

This is one of the best concepts in video game history. The idea of playing music is a nearly universal one, and party games that don't suck are few and far between. The "plastic guitar" genre is unique among video games (well... among good video games - we won't discuss fitness games) in that the usual scenario of the player causing the action on the screen is inverted. If I showed you a screenshot of the game, completely devoid of context, it certainly wouldn't look that impressive.

...but, if I showed you the video of a person playing that exact part, you'd see a happy wanna-be rocker, hitting that green button like his life depends on it. If you were to add a few friends into that action, you'd have a kickass night of fake rocking.

Then again, who says that it's really all that fake? If you miss a button, the music stops, playing flawlessly is the only way to make the song sound good, so you are tied into the music making, if only in a very secondary sense.

Really, though, none of that matters when you're playing any of the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games, though. It's just so much fun - who cares why it's fun. So spare me your "plastic instrument" comments. Spare me your "it's nothing like actual playing" comments. Pick up a guitar (the drumsticks are mine) and start rocking.

Other Notable Games in the Series: This entry is kind of a catchall for all the various rhythm games that involved holding a plastic instrument of some kind. Guitar Hero 1 and 2 were awesome, Guitar Hero 3 was good, but didn't have that same spark. Rock Band was great, but Rock Band 2 was just a little better. It's too hard to separate and differentiate (and since Rock Band 2 played most of the first game's tracks, I didn't have to).


  1. My best friend always plays the drums, and plays on expert, or whatever the hardest level is. There are several songs he never makes a mistake on, including Eye of the Tiger.

    It would be more impressive if he was actually playing on non-plastic instruments.

  2. I was one of the first people to play this game. At a corporate event with all the managers of the video game departments across the company, they let us demo this game (among many others) months before its release. I'm a pretty good singer, and I did Faith No More's "Epic" at an event promoting the game after they saw me perform it in the demo room, and they filmed it for a video that the whole company saw. My store was pretty thrilled about that.

  3. @Beau
    Well, obviously it'd be more impressive, but I'm not a drummer, so plastic instruments are where it's at. I was thinking of picking up the bass, so I guess that'll (maybe) have to do.

    'Epic' is probably my favorite song to play in Rock Band.

    Linds bought me Guitar Hero the Christmas right after it first came out. It's amazing how much the perception of those games changed (and then changed back) since then.