Guitar Hero is no more

It was announced in a statement released late last night that the makers of the Guitar Hero video game, Activision Blizzard Inc, will stop publishing the game later this year. The company wrote:

Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing’s ‘Guitar Hero’ business unit and discontinue development on its ‘Guitar Hero’ game for 2011.

The video game was a huge success and has been credited with introducing a whole new generation of youngsters to classic rock music, including artists such as: Led Zeppelin, Slash, Aerosmith, Metallica and Jimi Hendrix.

As an educator of the guitar I have seen many of my students become positively inspired by the Guitar Hero video game. One track in particular, Eric Johnson’s ‘Cliffs of Dover’, has attracted more attention than others. The virtuoso intro and melodic guitar lines are both pleasing to the ear as well as exciting to play; giving the student some great chops to learn!

Check out this video clip of a gamer achieving 100% on Eric Johnson’s ‘Cliffs of Dover’:

I have always been skeptical as to whether the video game helped a gamer to become a better guitarist or musician. I was terrible at playing the Guitar Hero video game and I worked out very quickly that this was because my brain was interpreting the notes I heard and telling my fingers to move according to pitch, which is not how the game works.

In short the video game uses a guitar-like controller that has five coloured buttons, these buttons are pressed when a colour appears on the screen, which is tailored to key rhythmic points in the selected track. This system is perfect for building strength for hand-eye coordination but, does it really make you a better guitarist? I think not.

That said, I do believe that the Guitar Hero video game has done a lot to help promote music to a young generation that would have otherwise been banished to pub juke boxes and classic rock compilation CDs. The video game franchise has also done much to promote the featured artists as well, bringing them exposure and royalties.


About Richard Perkins

Richard Perkins is the founder of Bath Guitar School and has worked for the International Guitar Foundation, Brit Awards, Rockschool, B&NES Council, Mid Somerset Festival, Bath Music Plus, and appeared on BBC and ITV television and radio programming as well as being featured in Guitar Techniques, Total Guitar, Venue, Bath Life magazines and the Bath Chronicle newspaper. Richard is a graduate of the Commercial Music degree programme at Bath Spa University and has a HND in Popular Music from Oxford College.
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