Hey TAY! Last week, we took an emotional trip through the subconscious of a dying man.
Today we check out a game that's mostly a laughing stock these days, but there's no denying how popular it was less than a decade ago.
Guitar Hero first hit the PS2 back in November 2005, just in time for the holiday season. Unless you live on Mars, you've heard of it. In GH, you play rock songs with a plastic guitar controller, modeled after a Gibson SG. "Notes", come scrolling down a track, and you hold a corresponding button on the guitar controller (green, red, yellow, blue, or orange) and click the strum bar (representing the strings) as the notes cross the bottom of the note track.
The gameplay is mixed up with chords (two buttons at once, three later in the series) and hammer-ons and pull-offs (notes you don't have to strum). There's also a score multiplier for hitting consecutive notes without screwing up, the Rock Meter, which measures your success (if it falls too low, you fail) and Star Power, activated by tilting the guitar controller up, giving you a double multiplier and filling the Rock Meter faster.
Throughout the game, you'd play through a career mode, completing a set of songs in order to unlock a harder set. The songs get increasingly harder as you go, topping off with a song that generally puts all you've learned to the test. In GH1, it was "Bark at The Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne. Even tougher was GH2, with "Free Bird" and its seemingly neverending solo.
Guitar Hero ended up becoming wildly popular upon it's release. In my opinion, it was a perfect game to release around the holidays, because it stood out on the shelf due to the plastic toy it came packaged with. Let's face it, that stuff sells. Just look at Skylanders as a present day example.
The game flew off the shelves. As did GH2, and 3. The good news: Activision decided to take advantage of GH's popularity.
The bad news: Activision decided to take advantage of GH's popularity.
A logical sequel followed in 2006: Guitar Hero 2, and it followed up on the ideas set forth in its predecessor.
Then Guitar Hero 3, also good, though considerably more difficult.
Yep. The releases just wouldn't stop. Too much of anything is bad, even if it's a fun party game. Matter of fact, I just checked my shelf, having been a GH fan like everyone else back then. There are eleven GH games, total, sitting on my shelf collecting dust.
And I don't even own all of them.
A quick check on Wikipedia, counting every Hero release (including DJ Hero and Band Hero) and you'll find an incredible, impossible twenty-four releases between 2005 and 2010.
That's only a five year span.
Activision and UbiSoft take some flack for "annualizing" their series (Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, respectively) but just imagine if there were twenty-four COD's already. Or nineteen AC's. GH was a fun game, great for multiplayer, but sadly it was killed by oversaturation, more or less taking Rock Band, and basically the whole rhythm game genre, with it.
But it's worth a revisit. Even though it's no longer "cool" to play anymore, and maybe you don't want your 360/PS3 friends viewing your profile and see "So-and-so is playing Guitar Hero 5."
But if you were a fan back then, you'd probably remember the fun you had playing, either solo or with friends. Because it lets you feel like a rockstar, if only just for a moment. So dust it off, find some double A batteries, and play. You might just enjoy it again.
Also, here's an obligatory "Jordan" video:
Hit the comment section as always!
Thanks to Wikipedia.
Next week, we check out a PS2 beat-em-up from waaaay back. Spiky hair and ludicrous costumes a must.