Playing Guitar Hero Smash Hits (or Greatest Hits in Europe) today I realized what my hang-up is with music-rhythm-action games.
It’s not that I’m tired of them; I’ve been playing pretty much nonstop since the first Guitar Hero and today’s session with three friends was still fresh and exciting, culminating in a truly awesome rendition of Freebird. It’s not over saturation either. This surprised me. I was expecting my problem to be the releases of Guitar Hero and Rock Band game discs, which are becoming a monthly occurence this year. Many people have commented that it’s just too many music games but as Bobby Blackwolf cited; how many shooters come out each year? We’re not asking anyone to stem the tide there.
No, I’m just getting very aware that I’ve spent a hell of a lot on music games in the past few years. My World Tour guitar controller won’t down-strum any more and a new one would be my seventh. Before you ask, the other five gave out due to wear and tear or were sold on eBay for having wires (which is soooo 2006). I’ve bought ten separate game discs. I’ve bought a drum kit and a mic and a mic stand. And crucially I’ve grown accustomed to the Rock Band system of adding to a library. $60 for new discs with 40 tracks only playable on that disc simply isn’t good enough. There’s nothing really wrong with Guitar Hero, I’ve just got a brand loyalty for the other platform; their library (and by extension, mine) is a hell of a lot bigger, and I prefer to pick and choose my songs, even though in the long run it’s more expensive than a disc. What’s important is that when I want to rock out, I know there’s only one game I have to put in and load up, and immediately some 250+ songs I’ve purchased will be available to me. This isn’t just fawning over Harmonix. I dearly wish it was the same with the GH series, but it’s not, because of Rock Band’s year head start, regular, often essential track download choices and ability to import all the songs (minus four) from RB1 to RB2.
So yes, in retrospect, despite earlier misgivings the genre isn’t going anywhere. The note-track highway is a pure system and music will always be a great way of playing games, the same as games are a great way of experiencing music.
But I think I’m done with discs.