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In Defense of the Genre

Posted by: Kirodus | Filed Under Opinions, Weekly Articles | No comments 
Feb 10

In 2005, the first Guitar Hero game was released for the PlayStation 2. Game sales for 2005 alone mounted to $45 million. It was undeniably the first music video game to reach huge audiences, and it launched the industry of music video games that would dominate the scene for several years. I personally never was able to play the original Guitar Hero, but I did play Guitar Hero 2. Guitar Hero 2 was released for the PlayStation 2 in November 2006, and for the Xbox 360 in April 2007. By December 2007, the game had sold 3.1 millions copies. I remember buying Guitar Hero 2 for the 360 in 7th grade right before summer break. It dominated all of my summer and 8th grade year as I devoted my time to mastering on Hard difficulty with the classic white X-Plorer controller. Later on I converted to Rock Band and completed both Rock Band 1 and Rock Band 2 on Expert Guitar.




It sparked the revolution.

But what did I gain from playing these games? I clearly still can’t play a real guitar, despite having spent a billion hours attempting to (and finally succeeding) conquer Green Grass and High Tides. I gained no actual musical capabilities from my multitude of days spent playing these games. But I did gain something. A knowledge of music. Before I played Guitar Hero 2, I had no idea who Nirvana was. The only bands I could name were Linkin Park, Green Day, Breaking Benjamin, and Hawk Nelson. A pathetic list, to say the least. Thankfully, Guitar Hero and Rock Band together showed me the music of the past fifty years! I received from these games a musical education while having a blast playing through countless classics. It is because of these games that I found music that I loved, and gained an intense love of all music and the music industry. I discovered Rage Against the Machine through “Killing In the Name” on Guitar Hero 2. I listened to their other music and found Tom Morello (the guitarist of RATM) to be a musician that still inspires me now, over five years later. I found metal through these games, which quickly became my favorite kind of music (and still is!). The list of bands that were introduced to me from these games goes on and on, and it encompasses virtually every major (and some totally unknown) musical act from the past fifty years.


I know that in recent years, due to an over saturation of the market, negligible changes from game to game, and a lack of innovation after more instruments were introduced, the music video game genre has been reduced to dance games and is not the glorious genre it once was.


Worst rip off ever.

Despite all of that though, these games were crucial for an entire generation of people. How many people do you personally know that played Guitar Hero or Rock Band that would have never played a video game? The genre played a big role in bringing about the mass popularity that video games now enjoy. In addition to helping the video game industry, the music industry received a boost as well. Dragonforce’s (I know they suck) song “Through the Fire and Flames” sold 55,000 online before Guitar Hero 3 was released, and by the one year anniversary of GH3 sales had gone up to 624,000 online. That’s an 1134% increase, over eleven times the amount they had sold prior to GH3!

So even if I never learned how to play guitar from these games, I still gained a love and appreciation of music. And in defense of the genre of music video games, no matter how mediocre they might have become in time, they are undeniably one of the most influential events of the 2000’s. For those who rocked out on any of these games, I salute you!

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