I have entirely too many miniature plastic instruments. Two drums sets, three guitars, two mics and one keyboard are currently collecting dust in my guest bedroom closet. All collected throughout the years for titles ranging from the original Guitar Hero to The Beatles Rock Band. But of all my fake music related controllers there is one that stands out far and above the rest - my DJ Hero turntables. So good I had to buy two. How else was I going to have epic DJ throw downs?
DJ Hero was an idea so ridiculous that it was pretty much ridiculed immediately after Activision's initial announcement of the title. How exactly could you turn a title like Guitar Hero, a game based on hitting specific notes, into a game that was focused on scratching records? Could it even be done? Though I was intrigued by the concept, I too was skeptical as to whether or not Activision could pull this one out of the bag.
But darn if they didn't pull it out of the bag. They pulled so much out of that bag that I could swear it was that one Mary Poppins pulls a full sized lamp from. As someone who is a huge fan of mash-ups and mix tapes alike I felt myself being slowly pulled towards DJ Hero with every new trailer. Still not sure if it was for me I added it to my Christmas list and left it up to fate (i.e. Santa Clause).
Santa delivered, and I'm glad he did. DJ Hero was exactly the game I had hoped for. A game that didn't take itself too seriously and provided players with gameplay that was easy to learn and difficult to master. Now, I'm no big city rock star, but I can tell you that playing a guitar in Guitar Hero is not like playing a guitar in real life. Most guitars don't even have whammy bars! But DJ Hero felt real. Spinning. Fading. Scratching. It was all at my finger tips.
Of course you would lose points if you don't follow the game's suggested tracks lines, but you couldn't lose. For the love of god, you couldn't lose! Unlike other rhythm games of the time you didn't have to worry about a health bar. All you had to worry about was doing the best you could and enjoying the ride. What a wonderful way to approach a musical game.
There was a point in my college career where I attended various parties. I wasn't much for drinking (I'm still not), so I would usually just chat with friends or play the closest video game to drunken jeers. If you thought I felt like a real DJ before it was nothing compared to the sensation of actually playing the game at a house party and having (mostly) sexy young adults dancing along. Forget pretending to be a DJ - I was the DJ. DJ Detective was in the house that night.
Though DJ Hero received decent reviews it didn't sell very well and it soon become the featured item of many a bargain bin. To this day I see it sitting on clearance racks and think, "I should buy that for a friend. I should buy that game and just give it to a random stranger." Luckily Activison decided to produce a sequel, and well it was a step forward in every way possible it still didn't fair much better than it's predecessor.
In the end DJ Hero felt like the game that no one had bothered to play. But it lives on in my heart as one of (if not the) greatest rhythm games of the last generation and possibly all time. So the next time you see DJ Hero 2 for $18 on that Target clearance rack, do yourself a favor and put it in your cart. You'll be glad you did.
DJ Detective out.