The Guitar Hero Generation, Part 1

Tom's Games: "In the span of just a few years, Guitar Hero has gone from being a risky gimmick to a blockbuster hit to, most recently, a transcendent experience that has changed music and gaming. No one, including this author, could have predicted that the game would turn into the huge pop culture phenomenon it has become. Several recent developments have shown how much it has grown and how much the music business has wised up to Guitar Hero's potential.

To understand how Guitar Hero has evolved as an experience, one needs to look past the games' technical aspects. After several titles, the basic gameplay dynamic, controllers and presentation haven't changed. What has changed is how bands and artists are flocking to Activision, Guitar Hero's owner and publisher, to get their tracks into the latest version of the game. After trying for several years, Guitar Hero finally secured the involvement of Metallica, which coincided with the release of their comeback album, "Death Magnetic." Not to mention Activision CEO Bobby Kotick proclaiming that Guitar Hero Aerosmith "generated far more in revenues than any Aerosmith album ever has," and the game reportedly grossed $25 million its first week after launch.

"Guitar World" magazine just put out a special "Guitars and Gaming" issue, featuring extensive behind-the-scenes coverage of the making of the game, what real-life rockers Joe Perry and Slash feel about their involvement in Guitar Hero, how to improve your guitar controller skills and when you're ready to graduate to the real thing, a buyer's guide to getting your first real six string. "Decibel" magazine also recently had a contest where you would win, not a real guitar, but a guitar controller signed by the members of DragonForce, a band who certainly benefited well from having their song, "Through the Fire and Flames" on the game (their sales went up 183% thanks to Guitar Hero and their new album debuted at 18 on the charts)."

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