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Battle of the Bands

Aug 11, 2008
As autumn nears and the air begins to get slightly crisp in the mornings, competitive people the world over anxiously prepare their minds for the approaching season. Fans have been studying up on all of the latest information about their favorites from both reporters and spies alike. They scour the internet searching for the most recent rumors and expert speculations, allowing the marketing pros to whip them into a frenzy of expectation.

That's right, it is almost time for the new video games to be released and this year promises to deliver an extraordinary head-to-head competition two games in the interactive music category. It will be fun watching the upcoming Battle Royal between the latest versions of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

A Little History

Guitar Hero was initially developed and introduced by two companies, Harmonix Music Systems and Red Octane in 2005. In 2006 Red Octane was acquired by Activision and Harmonix was bought by MTV Networks. Harmonix stopped producing games for the series in 2007 when production was shifted to Neversoft, a subsidiary of Activision.

In 2007 Rock Band was released software company Electronic Arts by, you guessed it, Hormonix and MTV Networks. Do you see where this is going?

Activision had the world by the tail in 2007 because they owned the interactive music video game market. Guitar Hero II had been a fantastic success and Guitar Hero 3 was promising to do even better. Then came Rock Band.

What has always made Guitar Hero stand apart from other games was the peripheral controller, it looked and felt like a small guitar. It was originally modeled after the Gibson SG, an instantly recognized hard rock instrument, and even came complete with a strap so it could be worn in true rock show style. The game is played by pressing buttons on the "guitar neck" and simultaneously "strumming" the control switch as you play along with the game.

Rock Band took the concept a step further and introduced the inclusion of multiple instruments including, more guitars, microphone and drums to bring it from an individual performance to a "band" performance.

New for 2008

The multi-player "band" concept of Rock Band must have made a significant dent in the Guitar Hero market because it has been completely integrated into Guitar Hero 4. Although many of the specifics of Guitar Hero 4 are still secret, enough has been released or leaked to have a good idea of what's coming. In what seems to be an obvious case of, "Me too, but better!" the GH4 set-up will include a drum kit and microphone.
The Guitar Hero drums will be a definite improvement over the original design of the Rock Band set; they will be sturdier, a fair amount more realistic and (most importantly?) quieter. (In fairness, word is Rock Band has improved the durability and quietness of their kit this year.)

This year Guitar Hero will also allow "bands" to use the system to actually record their original music and release it to the entire community to have it voted on. The particulars of game play for Rock Band 2 are not very well known yet so it will be interesting to see if they try to rest on their laurels or take it up another notch again.

For gamers, the decision between games is going to be very difficult and I highly recommend not making your decision based on an experience from the past, even as recent as last year. Things change that fast.

I really believe, other than a couple of features, the games are going to be very similar. The set lists are both very strong with several instances of the same artist with a different famous song on both lists. I think it is just going to come down to making a choice based on your own preferences and desires.


The true beneficiary of all of this one-upmanship and competition is the consumer. The harder companies work to outdo and out offer each other in the quest for your entertainment dollar, the better it is for all of us. So, in the end, it really doesn't matter which game sells the most copies or wins the most awards. The real winners will be you and I, the gamers and consumers of the world.

Enjoy the competition and reap the rewards.
About the Author
When he's not playing video games, James Laney spends his time finding and writing about Guitar Hero 4 Cheats and Rock Band 2 Cheats. Check them out stay up to date.
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