Last week at the GDC I got a chance to go hands-on with the new GameTank game for PC, Guitar Rising. If you haven’t heard about this game yet, here’s the skinny.
You know how Rock Band makes you feel like a bad-ass by living out the fantasy of being a spandex-clad rock and roller?
Well, Guitar Rising
looks to try to actually turn you into that bad-ass riff-master you always wanted to be.
Do you know about tablature (“tab” for short)? It’s a form of sheet music which has a line for each string and uses numbers on each line to represent a fret board on a guitar. It’s a very basic form of music translation that is easy enough for even a beginning player to pick up and read. It loses some of the nuances of real sheet music but it gets the point across.
Rising combines tab with a Guitar Hero like interface that’s controlled with a guitar. That’s right, a real, honest to goodness guitar. You plug in your axe through a ¼ inch port (most likely external) going to a PC and get to thrashing.
How many times have you said heard someone say, ”in all that time spent playing rhythm games you could just learn to play a real instrument.” Well, it’s time for all those wannabes out there to put their money where their mouths are. You gonna rock like Trent Reznor or Van Halen? It’s up to you now.
My own experience with Guitar Rising was quite unique. You see, I’m a pretty decent musician, and I play a lot of instruments, including guitar. But I’m left handed and I play right handed guitars upside-down. I was a bit worried that I was not going to rock at %100 efficiency. Fortunately by leaving the game on right handed options I was able to translate what I saw on the screen into upside down shredding. Of course, this was on the easy difficulty, it could have gotten a lot more complicated had I tried more difficult settings, but with a crowd looking on I was afraid to. It’s one thing to fail at a rhythm game and a whole other thing to fail at playing an instrument that you supposedly know how inside and out.
The game screen is very reminiscent of guitar hero except for the fact that it scrolls sideways and has a line for each string, as opposed to the meager five colors of GH and Rock Band. There’s a bar at the top that measures how well you are doing.
The game still has some visual stuff that needs to be polished but the interactive aspects are shaping up to be something interesting. Is Guitar Rising the fall of the Guitar Hero? Or will it be nothing more than a unique learning tool for aspiring musicians?
I personally am all for this game. Rock Band has made an entire generation of gamers want to be rock stars, but when it really comes down to it, who’s going to show the dedication and focus to learn how to be one?
If you’ve ever wanted to be that guy at the party who picks up an acoustic and starts playing those songs that everyone knows, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for this product when it finally launches and hopefully we’ll get a review copy that comes with a sweet custom Les Paul.
Here’s to hoping.