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.
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).