Music games. Ever since the first SingStar and Guitar Hero games people have loved them. They have a massive fan base and are, for the most part, some of the most fun party games in existence. With the introduction of online stores to download more music for the games the genre has just become very lucrative. With the Rock Band store having over 800 songs including 14 albums on it they can keep fans of all genres of music happy.
But to the actual point of my article, the cost of these games. A brand new music game will often set you back about £40 with around 80 songs on the game. Couple this with the peripherals needed to play the games then you have yourself a very expensive habit. Let’s take Guitar Hero as the first example, a current gen Guitar Hero game with a plastic guitar peripheral costs £70 with PS2 versions costing only £10 less. Although once you have one guitar (depending on from which game the guitar is) you shouldn’t need to buy another one, but what if you like having mates round to play it? You fork out another £40 to get another. Ever since Rock Band came out in November 2007 music games have started to let you not just play the guitar or sing on two different games but combines them and adds drums. With these new ways of playing came a new price tag, a cool £150. All Rock Band and Guitar Hero games since World Tour have the band feature and as with the guitar, you’ll only have to buy it once.
Once you have got one of the guitar games from early on, and maybe a second so a friend or family member can strum along with you, then got a band pack and probably 2 or 3 solus games, you could have spent up to £400 plus anything you spend on DLC. With even more new games emerging such as DJ Hero which is being hailed as the best music game last year and even more expensive than the guitar packed games. The game plus a turntable controller is around £90 depending on where you look. With this being a brand new type of music game there is no solus option, but one feature they have put it is a DJ vs Guitar multiplayer mode on about 10 of the 100 mixes on the game.
A lot of controversy comes with these games too. Kurt Cobain, the former Nirvana lead singer before he passed away in 1994, was recently featured in Activsion’s Guitar Hero 5 and, much to the dismay of his wife and former band mates, was able to sing any song, such as Queen’s “Under Pressure”.
Many bands have had the music game treatment with notable ones like Areosmith, Metallica, The Beatles and Van Halen getting Guitar Hero/Rock Band games with Queen, Take That and ABBA getting SingStar games. There has even been a Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits game where some of the best songs from older games like Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero 2, Guitar Hero 3 and Rock the 80s were re-released onto one disc with the full band treatment letting you sing and drum away to your favorite tunes from the older games. A lot of people’s concerns with these games was that they were milking the cash cow quite a lot when songs from those bands were already available on games and as DLC. This is redeemed though as they are starting to phase in exporting music. All Rock Band DLC is compatible with RB2 and vice versa. All Guitar Hero World Tour DLC is compatible with GH5. You can even export the whole of a game’s setlist to another for a small fee of around £5 bar a few tracks. This means that you no longer have to keep all the games to be able to play the songs you like, renting them and taking the songs is even an option now.
My question to you, is it really worth it? Do you find that each new game is different enough from the last to warrant £40? Is exporting tracks a big redeeming feature for you? I think, for the most part, yes. Each game is different, most Guitar Hero and Rock Band games are rock/metal orientated music but to try and widen the appeal games like Band Hero, LEGO Rock Band and the Beatles Rock Band are all trying to go for a more family friendly approach with music everyone can enjoy. Even DJ Hero throws songs in that will cater for everyone’s tastes from Clubland to Rock to Hip Hop. This adds variety to the genre and new styles such as LEGO and the art style of the Beatles Rock Band.