Brace yourself. I’m going to talk about a game that was never released on a Nintendo console. That’s right, this week and this week only, I’m jumping on the Sony bandwagon. Why would I do something as crazy as that? Well, since we’re looking at music games this week I thought it would be only fitting to explore my first and greatest experience with the “Rock Star Wannabe” genre embodied by the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series.
I think it really all started my sophomore year. I had heard this rumor about an awesome game that even my friends who didn’t play video games (college is a strange place) enjoyed playing. That game was Guitar Hero, the first in a series that has seen way too many iterations. I didn’t get to play it until much later, though, because no one on my hall had the game and I just never had the time to hunt it down.
Flash forward to my junior year. Every Sunday I’d hang out with friends at my pastor’s house, mainly because there was free food. No matter who you are, free food is a good thing. About half way through the year they picked up Guitar Hero for PS2. I was hooked. I only played beginner, but even so it was just so much fun to rock out to “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Message in a Bottle,” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Seriously, there is nothing more epic than hitting a perfect game playing “Beast and the Harlot” while surrounded by a bunch of friends. There was one problem, though. The game wouldn’t be released for a Nintendo system. I knew that I could move up to the Hard difficulty if I had a chance to practice more than a couple songs every weekend, but no matter how much I wanted it, Red Octane was not going to release the game for GameCube.
Every time I saw the game in a retail store, I remember picking up the guitar controller so I could rock out to a few more songs, but it’s just not the same as playing with a group of friends. Years later, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock would be released on Wii, and I would buy it without any reservation so I could have Guitar Hero parties in my apartment.
And I still buy Guitar Hero when it comes out. My friends live far away from me now, and I never know when I’m going to see them. I’ve moved up to Hard difficulty and play around with Expert every once in awhile, but the game holds less charm than it once did. Guitar Hero is one of those games where the fun depends on how many people you have with you at the time. It’s a little pathetic to sit in your basement, playing the same songs over and over again just trying to eke out a slightly higher score. However, when you get a group of friends together the game transcends itself. So in a way, it’s true that Guitar Hero II was the best part of my college career. It wasn’t the game, however, it was the experience.