My fascination for music-based games has been a long and fruitful journey. I still remember when I found my first Guitar Freaks and Drummania arcade machines, how I enjoyed rocking out and looking like I knew what I was doing. And then Guitar Hero brought the experience home (well, the guitar, anyways), and I learned to adopt the extra 2 fret buttons that never existed in Guitar Freaks.
Then Rock Band 2 arrived at my door this past holiday season, and with it closes the Guitar Hero door.
I was there when you made your first appearance, showing everyone that a game with a specialized controller CAN survive in a market where people are forever trying to avoid spending more money on games. I followed you to your second foray into the market, with a slew of new songs to tackle and rock to. Sure, your 80's mix wasn't so well received, and the official third release became more focused on actual gamer difficulty than pure musical enjoyment...but your mark in video game history is prominent.
Alas, when I first laid hands on Rock Band's guitar, I knew that things would never be the same again. Those recessed fret buttons, the more responsive flipper...I knew that my Guitar Hero days were over. It was time for me to take off the Guitar Hero training wheels off and start riding my 10-speed bike towards the sunset.
Know that you, Guitar Hero, hold a special place in my gamer's heart - along with Guitar Freaks, Drummania, and all music-based video games in their time.
And now, a new chapter begins - one that is riddled and ripe with many opportunities to rock out with friends, in-house and online, where DLC brings new songs every now and then to feast on.
And perhaps...will become one more step towards playing the real thing.
Farewell, Guitar Hero. You've had a good run, but now I must move on.