Welcome to point/counterpoint, where I establish my opinion based on my perception of an issue and you proceed to tell me that you hope I get toe cancer (fun fact, Bob Marley died of toe cancer).

So here we go. I’m making the case that

For the latest iteration of the popular music games, you should spend your hard earned cash on Guitar Hero.

The Story

I’d actually not played a rockband or Guitar Hero game until last year. My girlfriend and I had taken my daughter to Chuck E Cheese and there we decided to try our hand at Guitar Hero. I was blown away. We worked through a few songs and I knew instantly that I needed this game in my life. After a few misfires trying to find plastic instruments I eventually snagged the Rock Band band in a box for 50 bucks with six different rock band games (yes I’m actually just using this post to humble brag about my bargain! MWAHAHHA)

So we played some. I played drums primarily because I have to martyr myself - I liked the guitar but we only had one. I was embarrassed to do vocals - my voice is TERRIBLE but I’ll admit trying to make weird alien noises during Korn’s songs is pretty fun. But basically I sound like Ben Stein doing Karaoke. Anyone? Anyone?

So now they release a new set of music games and at first I’m a bit angry - what do you mean I can’t use my old plastic instruments with the new game? Well screw that I’ll get Rock Band which DOES allow me to use my old instruments. But wait, I end up with Guitar Hero: Live anyway. Why?

The Argument

1. Guitar Hero is innovative. Rock Band is not.

Where Harmonix has decdied to not mess with perfection, making minor tweaks to things like Drum Fills, Guitar Hero has more or less completely reinvented the game here. For starters they ditched the band and went with a completely redesigned guitar instead. Gone are the colorful frets. Here is a 3 x 2 layout of buttons that more closely resembles guitar chords and more importantly feels more natural in your hand (don’t have to slide my hand all over the place to get that orange fret anymore). In addition to the new guitar Guitar Hero has done something pretty new with DLC. This here is going to be pretty divisive and only time will tell how it will play out but gone are the days of downloading individual tracks. Guitar Hero has opted instead to offer Guitar Hero: TV which streams music videos 24/7. You can pop in at any time, pick up a guitar and start playing whatever song is currently on. The downside of this is that you are at the mercy of whatever channel is currently playing. You can spend money to rent songs for a time period, but it doesn’t currently look like you’ll be able to keep any song permanently.

2. Breaking up the Band

Seriously, the fact that I was able to get the band in a box + six RB games speaks volumes. The whole band setup takes a LOT of space. The drums especially are unwieldly and not easily storable when not in use. In addition to this ...the drums suck. There, I said it. They were a fun novelty at first, but playing the guitar is more satisfying, and in my opinion, less prone to not registering notes. Also, I can play the guitar laying down or sitting comfortably. I need to have perfect posture to play the drums for any length of time. I’m happy Guitar Hero has realized that the guitar is the key player, they’ve paid lip service to a vocals component - even giving me a free mic with the two pack pre order, but I have no desire for that at all.

3. RockBand: Why Bother?

I have six Rockband games. I’ve played 1 of them so far (OK and I probably will never pick up the Beatles one because I don’t like the Beatles. Yes I realize my arguments have now become invalid). There is enough music in those games to keep my fix for Rockband satiated for a long, long time. I couldn’t justify spending more money on another Rockband game that didn’t offer me much beyond tweaks to the formula.

4. The Track List

GH:Live’s is just better. It’s more varied with less, “WHO IS THIS BAND AGAIN?!” I mean I love St. Vincent, I do. But she doesn’t belong in a game entitled, ROCK band. ALso GH:Live has Paint it Black, the song that got me into Guitar Hero in the first place so nostalgia wins.


(Yes that’s an ugly header...I’m not a designer. Sue me.)