Guitar Hero Metallica: For Whom the Bell Dulls?

I spent some time clinking through the ridiculously complicated guitar riffs of the Guitar Hero Metallica XBOX demo.  For the record, my game experience was further hindered by the lack of a calibration feature, thus explaining my many fails.  Luckily, my self esteem drained just as the batteries on my controller were doing the same.Guitar Hero Metallica  

The full game boasts an impressive set list of full band songs spanning Metallica’s longtime career (not to mention a kick ass intro video).  I would call myself a fair-weather Metallica fan.  Enjoyed “the old stuff” in high school, bailed after St. Anger, and jumped back on the bandwagon for Death Magnetic.  The game seems to have enough to satisfy even my level of enthusiasm for the band.

However, the new trend of band specific titles has the potential to alienate some fans of guitar based games.  In my opinion, they’re not really pushing the entertainment level that comes with banging on a plastic drum set while munching on a few chips in between songs.  

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for the new Beatles Rock Band, but I have less excitement for a rumored Guitar Hero Van Halen or existing Guitar Hero Aerosmith (although I love Aerosmith).  I get no real enjoyment from controlling an aging rock musician.  Creating your own band and playing the songs are what matters.

What I’m getting at is that there’s more to being a rock star than the music.  Keep the little colored notes coming, but it’s time to add another layer.  Here are a few rock band demands that could really kick the fun factor into overdrive rather than drying out the cash cow.

More Than Just Checking Off Songs

I could play an eight song set list and not even break a sweat or even really care about the impact.  Creators should focus on adding a “sim” element to future games.  Bass player not showing up to practice?  Smoking hot backstage Betty by the bar?  Big record exec in the crowd? Interact with others to add a band story element to the game as well as effect how you play on stage.  If you play a good show, you could kick the bass man out, get a phone number, and score a record deal all in one night.  But a 3 star performance might send you back to playing open mic nights.

Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll

Rock musicians in the video game world live a pretty squeaky clean life.  Not so for real rock artists.  The creators can’t exactly okay the idea of youngsters making characters with a nasty speed habit, but it could add an interesting layer to the game. Let’s say your guitar player hit the bottle a little too hard at the pre-show party.  Thus, during your set, the moving notes blur and flicker, making the song more difficult to play through your inebriation.  If you beat the song, more money.  If not, you’ll think twice about that last shot.


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