Editorial: Guitar Hero Could Save The Record Industry

The Guitar Hero franchise seems to be far more than a video game, arguably it is a lifestyle choice. I say this because I have seen the dramatic effects this game can have on an individual. Now don’t come to any quick conclusions, this is not one of those articles where we complain about poor Timmy forgetting his homework because he was too busy with his Playstation, that’s a story for the current affairs.

The Guitar Hero franchise seems to be far more than a video game, arguably it is a lifestyle choice. I say this because I have seen the dramatic effects this game can have on an individual. Now don’t come to any quick conclusions, this is not one of those articles where we complain about poor Timmy forgetting his homework because he was too busy with his Playstation, that’s a story for the current affairs.
Instead, I am actually very impressed with the effects this game has on its consumers.

If you’re a guitarist then you may be quite surprised with the Guitar Hero franchise, the game has excellent rhythmic accuracy, not to mention an intuitive game play design which allows anyone to quickly begin strumming.
More importantly, it’s all about the music. The creators of the franchise, Harmonix have really put the hard work in getting the soundtrack down smack in the centre.
It doesn’t really matter which version of the game you’re playing, there’s sure to be mixture of classics that you will be humming on the way to work.
Now there might be some people on the net criticising that the game is filled up with cover songs. Well quit complaining, they are top quality covers and the guitar work is genius, you just can’t please some people.

Earlier on I promised that Guitar Hero offered a lifestyle choice, so let’s use a real life example to show you how an everyday gamer with a relatively low interest in music was transformed by Guitar Hero II.

It wasn’t so long ago that a young man, let’s call him ‘Edward’ (because umm that’s his real name), spent many hours journeying through the big titles such as KOTOR, Oblivion, Halo, and the list goes on.

Recently I decided to lend him my prized copy of Guitar Hero II for the 360, and this may have been a mistake depending on how you look at it.
We all have heard how the record industry is being crippled due to illegal music downloads, and we really can’t argue with that one.
But what if games were here to save the music industry?
The music in games is an extremely important part of the package, and racing games are an excellent example where independent artists can get some exposure.

Now back to Edward. He has become so in touch with the axe that he got off the couch, walked into a real record store, a physical one, and purchased some Led Zeppelin.

The game’s soundtrack is a quintessential listen for people of all age groups. I am very much into music and I’m brave enough to admit that I never had a chance to listen to much Motley Crew or Iron Maiden, well that was until now.

Most music buffs are just like gamers, they want that limited edition case, or that rare single with the bonus tracks. Just like music buffs enjoy walking through a physical record shop, many gamers also enjoy browsing the bargain bin and new release sections, I certainly do.
Just recently the big HMV in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney announced that it will be closing down at the end of August. For those who aren’t from Sydney it’s worth explaining that this is one of the largest record shops in the state, and it has been in business for over ten years. This closure really marks an end to the physical music era. The CEO Greg Milne told the Daily Telegraph “Worldwide, the concept of megastores is disappearing”.

Surely there’s still a whole load of music retailers left, but for how long?

With the release of ‘Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s’ there’s going to be thousands of people from all age groups listening to songs that they may have missed if it wasn’t for the Guitar Hero franchise. Not only will these people have a better musical vocabulary, but they will also have an appreciation for the music itself.

Will their increased love for music save the record industry?

Surely not, but with the games’ overwhelming popularity and the announcement of Rock Band – we are surely going to have a very musically astute group of gamers out there.

Written by Michael Stark

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