Ever since Rock Band and Guitar Hero were released, there have been opposing sides arguing for and against using the game as a learning tool – after all, players don’t use actual instruments or use correct finger placements for chords.
But that controversy can be put to rest with the newest music game, Rocksmith – and we can’t wait to try it out!
Rocksmith allows users to hook up their guitars directly to a PC, Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 through an output jack. The program features mini-games (a “Guitarcade,” if you will) to help improve your guitar skills, including games focused on fret placement, scale patterns, harmonics and slide technique. Advanced players can take advantage of the Technique Challenge, in which specific techniques must be repeated back, and sections that need work are highlighted and slowed down.
This release got us thinking… what other music games made a big impact on the industry? CNN recently wrote up a list of Top 10 Music Games Of All Time, and here a few that caught our eye:
Behind the music: Launched on May 15 at Studio 54, this Jurassic forerunner to today’s touch-sensitive Nintendo DS featured four colored buttons (red, green, yellow and blue) and three simple variations on its gameplay. A great memory is crucial — players have to repeat back a randomized or user-created sequence of lights and tones with a simple poke. Named after the child’s game “Simon Says” and created by Ralph Baer — who also invented home console gaming with the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972 — it quickly became an American institution.
Why it rocks: Besides single-handedly popularizing handheld electronic entertainment and directly influencing every subsequent system from the Game Boy to the PlayStation Portable (PSP), its pattern-based action formed the basis for nearly all music-themed titles to come.
1997: “PaRappa the Rapper”
Behind the music: A far cry from what was going on with PCs at the time, this quirky PSOne Japanese import challenged players to bust a move by pressing buttons in time to featured beats. Do it correctly and you drop mad science on martial arts masters, moose driving instructors, Rastafarian frogs and chickens that pass for chefs. Captivating domestic audiences with its sing-song vibe, hypnotic play and psychedelic cardboard-cutout aesthetic, it’s still one of the freshest interactive approximations of emceeing hip-hop heads will find.
Why it rocks: PaRappa brought the ‘rhythm game’ category home to North American shores, which eventually gave birth to countless hip-wiggling rivals from Unison to Bust-A-Groove.
And of course…
2007: “Rock Band”
Behind the music: The first game to combine all aspects of the virtual music-making experience (singing, pounding drums, playing guitar or plucking bass) was also the initial offering to deliver peripherals for all (including microphone, plastic drum set and faux ax) in one kit.In total, over 100 million digital songs have been downloaded for the “Rock Band” family of games, with more than 2,700 tracks from 900 artists including Metallica, The Ramones and Fleetwood Mac available across all retail and downloadable installments, including digital distribution platform the Rock Band Network. Thousands of masters, re-recordings or alternate tracks (all playable) by artists like Rush and Weezer, not to mention countless fans — who can perform as cohesive four-man bands online — should ensure it remains a house-party icebreaker of choice.
Why it rocks: Providing the now-defunct MTV Games a then-marquee entrée into the gaming universe, it also laid the foundations for groundbreaking tributes (“The Beatles: Rock Band”), cutting-edge online innovations (“Rock Band Network”) and future motion-controlled games (“Dance Central”) to come.
Here at TakeLessons, we’re all for any games that gets kids hooked and interested in music. Of course, the best way to learn is to work one-on-one with a music teacher, who can tailor the lessons specifically to you and your goals. (Need help finding a teacher? Click here to search by zip code and lesson type!)