The Rock & Roll Librarian

April 3, 2008

Making good when you done bad… a Guitar Hero III story

Filed under: Gaming — Tyler Rousseau @ 2:24 pm
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As great as the Guitar Hero III game is, it received some negatively publicity for the Wii version.

And deservedly so.

In a previous post I gave the game a glowing review.  The controls were pretty good, I loved the addition of a pseudo-plot and the song selection was solid.  The sound was always a bit off to me but, I figured that was because of my hearing loss.

Then I learned that it wasn’t just my wonky ears, Activision actually released the Wii version in mono sound.  Yeah, it is kind of a cheap thing to do for any video game nowadays but not putting in minimal (and outdated) sound quality for a virtual rock and roll music game!?  

Bad Activision, bad!

After enough publicity was generated, Activision started a replacement program for any Wii-GHIII owners who were feeling the sting, which I took part in.  About a month ago, they sent a self addressed envelope with a very simple questionnaire and asked me to return my ‘faulty’ CD.  Normally, I’d expect this type of mail-in thing to take 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Within 10 days I had a brand new and improved version of Guitar Hero III and, man, the sound was infinitely better.  As a consumer I was pleased with the response time but still a little annoyed with Red Octane for trying to pull a fast one with its fanbase.

Two days later, a package arrived in the mail from Activision.  I opened it and the enclosed letter read:

Dear value Activision/Red Octane Customer,

“You recently received a Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock Wii replacement disc.  To show our appreciation for your patience during the re-mastering and manufacturing phase of GHIII, enclosed is a complementary Guitar Hero Faceplate.”

Wow, really?  My local gaming store hasn’t had a Wii faceplate in stock for a good two months.  Now I don’t have to bother looking each time I go in!

Good move, Red Octane.  You could’ve just given the remastered disc and left fans semi-satisfied that the company owned up to its mistake but, instead, you decided to try and win back a little support from the base by throwing in an extra gift.  Sure the faceplate probably cost mere cents to make, but it costs consumers $15.

And as a result; will I remember the “The Other Red O Incident” as I’ve come to call it?  Yes, but I’ll also remember the ending as well.  Freebies and an extra $15 in my pocket.

October 31, 2007

Guitar Hero III- A Review

Filed under: Game Review,Gaming,music,Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 4:57 pm
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When I originally heard that the third installation of the wildly successful game Guitar Hero was coming out, there really wasn’t a question of whether or not I was going to buy the game.  The question was for which system I would buy it. 

Yes, I did originally buy Guitar Hero for the PS2 and sure, it would be nice to have only one controller but my recent displeasure over  their cheaper-yet-no-backwards-compatability PS3  scheme has really put me off Sony for the moment.

I decided to purchase the Wii version.  Although I was initially a little tiffed about having to buy another controller that quickly dissipated once I started playing.

Guitar Hero III-Wii has raised the bar for the music-gaming genre and really made something special.  The songlist is simply awesome, from Poison to Aerosmith to, believe it or not, Metallica… I guess they saw there is money to be made in this venture. 

The Wii’s controller (shown above) is unique when compared to the Xbox and PS versions and not just in appearance (a white Les Paul model).  A lot of thought went in to how to best use the features of the Wiimote along with the guitar design and hence, the Wii controller is actually placed into the guitar.  What this combination of guitar/controller does is add an extra element of sound and feel.  Missing a note will cause the speaker in the Wiimote to sound off.  The rumble pack will also react when you release the guitar’s Star Power.

Although a friend of mine did mention he felt he had to pull the guitar back further on the Wii guitar than the PS2 (for star power), I’ve found that a simple shake will register as well.  But I have found that backpicking is a little trickier as it doesn’t seem to be as responsive.

Overall, the game play is pretty solid.  There have been a couple times when I’ve reached a sequence of notes that felt unnatural or the rhythm did not really fit the song but not everything can be a masterpiece.  They also stepped up the difficulty.  Assuming that most of their buyers are already loyal fans means that learning curve has been scaled back a bit, so newbies may find songs to be a little trickier than the seasoned player.

There is even a storyline, albeit a simple one.  Basic animation sequences show your band starting out in a backyard shindig, eventually getting signed and ending with your evolution into Rock God status.

All in all, Guitar Hero III-Legends of Rock, is a solid purchase for fans of the music-gaming genre.  Playing this newest version of this franchise doesn’t just feel like new songs, it feels like a new experience.

October 19, 2007

Why the cheaper PS3 is still a ripoff

Filed under: Gaming,technology woes — Tyler Rousseau @ 4:39 pm
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Earlier this week, Sony announced it was going to sell a slimmed down and cheaper version of the PS3,just before the holiday rush.  The new version of the PS3 will contain a 40GB hard drive and less USB ports. 

And as enticing as this may sound for some gamers and parents to buy over the holiday, I would advise against it.

The problem is not the smaller hard drive.  I mean, let’s be honest, if you really need more than 40 GB on a gaming system you should probably evaluate your gaming habits.

The major problem with this ready-for-the-holidays version is the fact that the smaller version will not be backwards compatible.  In other words, say good-bye to your PS2 or have it ready to be hooked-up if you want to play any of the old games.  Definitely leave it unpacked as you may find yourself wanting to play some of the classic games.

In today’s gaming market, reverse compatibility has always felt like an agreement between developers and buyers.  The developers can  push out improved versions at their leisure but not at the cost of having to completely switch out and rebuild a gamers’ library.  Reverse compatibility only requires an emulator or synthesizer be built/downloaded into the console, it is not a particularly expensive or cumbersome program.

Think about this; the Nintendo Wii is still the cheapest of consoles and, at $150 less than the smaller PS3 version.  The Wii does not contain a hard drive to speak of and still has the ability to be compatible with its predecessors.

Something tells me that if the PS3-40 fails to takeoff, its inability to play PS2 games will be seen as a major reason.  Gamers like the ability to go backwards, play the original versions of games, but as much gamers love the advancement of gaming, they really despise complete obsoleteness. 

And something else tells me that if the PS3-Lite (as some reviewers are calling it) takeoff doesn’t happen, it might also be time to throw in the towel on your beloved system at any hard drive size.

July 9, 2007

PS3 drops its price

Filed under: Gaming — Tyler Rousseau @ 8:22 pm

In an effort to try and put a little more life into the sales of the PS3, Sony announced they are reducing the price of the machines by $100.  It is still the most expensive gaming console out there but only by $20 now.

Something needed to be done but the real question is whether this will be the much needed fix.  The dismal sales have also been linked to the poor selection of games, which Sony has guaranteed will improve by the end of the year.  Less than six months to go now… and it seems a lot of people are still waiting.

Perhaps Sony is hoping the drop in price will catch those buyers who are now shying away from the disasterous problems of the new Xbox.

Perhaps they have learned that gamers do have a breaking point, or at the very least, their bank accounts do.

July 6, 2007

Wii will allow you to make your own games

Filed under: Gaming,Technology,Wii — Tyler Rousseau @ 6:14 pm

On June 27, the powers that be from Nintendo announced a product that will let the small-time players have a chance at the next big video game.

 WiiWare is game-generator program that will allow people to download content through the Shop Channel and make their own video game.  There will be various pricing options available to the consumer.

 Any game that is created will posted online in the Wii Shop, the benefit being that small time game developers will not have to worry about the price of hardware for the creation of their games.

I’m not sure how affordable the software and content will be for the average person, but it is certainly an appealing buy for those groups of people who have big ideas and little funds.

Personally, this is one of those things that makes me love the Wii model.  They built an affordable machine with so much versatility to the games and software and simply allow creative mind to figure out how to use it.  Woo for Wii!

July 3, 2007

Baby Gamer

Filed under: Gaming,humor,Uncategorized — Tyler Rousseau @ 12:30 am

There is always a concern about children and gaming… what they are playing and who they are killing and hurting in the game.  It can be tough for parents to determine when a child is ready for playing video games.

So just how young is too young for video games?  My wife and I drew the line at 17 months.  However, that is as long as we could keep our child from wanting to try Raving Rabbids on the Wii.

Aren’t children great?

June 30, 2007

Guitar Hero- Rock the 80s song list is posted

Filed under: Game Review,Gaming,music — Tyler Rousseau @ 8:32 pm

A couple days ago, Activision announced the final line up of songs for the upcoming Guitar Hero game, Rock the 80s.  Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Twisted Sister… isn’t this sounding strangely similar to my requirements for GHIII… but at half the price!

  Thanks to Destructoid for posting:

·    Caught in a Mosh  (as made famous by Anthrax)
·    Balls to the Wall (as made famous by Accept)
·    Electric Eye (by Judas Priest)
·    Los Angeles (as made famous by X)
·    Police Truck (as made famous by Dead Kennedys)
·    We Got the Beat (as made famous by The Go Go’s)
·    (I Think I’m) Turning Japanese (as made famous by Vapors)
·    Seventeen (as made famous by Winger)
·    Because, it’s Midnite (by Limozeen)
·    Hold On Loosely (as made famous by .38 Special)
·    No One Like You (as made famous by Scorpions)
·    Only a Lad (as made famous by Oingo Boingo)
·    Ballroom Blitz (as made famous by Krokus)
·    The Warrior (by Scandal)
·    What I Like About You (as made famous by The Romantics)
·    Wrath Child (as made famous by Iron Maiden)
·    I Wanna Rock (by Twisted Sister)
·    I Ran (by Flock of Seagulls)
·    Round and Round (as made famous by Ratt)
·    Metal Health (as made famous by Quiet Riot)
·    Holy Diver (as made famous by Dio)
·    Heat Of The Moment (as made famous by Asia)
·    Radar Love (as made famous by White Lion)
·    18 and Life (as made famous by Skid Row)
·    Bathroom Wall (as made famous by Faster Pussycat)
·    Lonely is the Night (as made famous by Billy Squier)
·    Nothing But a Good Time (as made famous by Poison)
·    Play With Me (as made famous by Extreme)
·    Shaken (as made famous by Eddie Money)
·    Synchronicity II (as made famous by The Police)

Official “Role Model” hat

Filed under: Gaming — Tyler Rousseau @ 7:05 pm

When I came into work today my co-worker and friend, Mike Bobish, told me about his expedition to Nintendo World in New York City.  In order to buy his Mom a Wii for her birthday, he got up at 3:30am, got the first train into NYC and waited in line for Nintendo Store to open.

Even arriving as early as they did, they were not the first people in line.

Anyway, upon venturing into the store he came across this hat, which he could not resist to buy for me:

Nintendo Hat

Is there really any better gift to give to a 32 year-old gaming fanatic?

A super big thank you to Mike for this awesome gift.  It was an awesome pick me up after a rough week.

June 28, 2007

Guitar Hero III to cost $100

Filed under: Gaming — Tyler Rousseau @ 1:35 pm

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Of course my initial reaction is, “Woooo, Guitar Hero III is coming out, get my fingers ready.”

Then I saw the $100 price tag that comes along with it… $10 Cheaper for the Wii’s version.

Now my reaction is closer to “Woah! Get my wallet ready!”

Now, it is generally true that hardcore gamers are willing to spend what it takes in order to satisfy their gaming desires, money is but an object.  However, unless this game contains songs by Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister and Green Day, I’m going to have to wait until a used copy drops it’s price to something much more reasonable.

June 25, 2007

Guitar Hero- Rock the 80s Game!

Filed under: Gaming,music — Tyler Rousseau @ 7:31 pm

Just when you thought it was safe to put away the hairspray.

Red Octane has announced the third installment of their wildly popular game series,Guitar Hero, with the genre based game Rock the 80s.  This version will include such songs as:

Balls to the Walls by Accept

Holy Diver by Dio

18 and Life by Skid Row

Nothin’ but a good time by Poison

      To name a few…

Personally, I have always been a fan of 80s rock, it is the decade that my passion for music exploded.  Having the chance to reach rock-god status in the comfort of my own home is quite appealing. 

And if you pre-order from Red-Octane you will get a free guitar hero t-shirt as well.

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