To any of you who happen to have any plastic instruments lying around your living room, do you happen to wonder what ever happened to the Guitar Heroes and Rockbands of the past ten years? The genre that many of us learned to love exploded throughout the past decade; which began with games like Dance Dance Revolution and other similar music rhythm games.
The relics of a forgotten time…
I personally love this type of video game, owning titles from DDR to Taiko Drum Master and all of the Rockband games. I have a graveyard it seems of plastic instruments. I miss the genre and think that the game style certainly has marketability as Harmonix basically invented the DLC price model and sustained their company on it alone for several years.
Why did it die? Simply put, the instruments were a novelty; and while both Harmonix and Activision did everything they could to keep it fresh and interesting, it ultimately failed. So where can this genre go?
One route that I really like, is the one the game Rocksmith is taking. The game actually teaches you how to play guitar and bass. It isn’t a perfect system but it is a step in the right direction. Could you imagine a Rockband with real instruments? People actually learning a skill, having fun, and competing in a social music experience? It’s a musicians dream.
Another route is going back to the basics. I recently re-downloaded Stepmania which is a DDR type game for PC/Mac. It allows users to create their own tracks and stepfiles to any music they want. This is a great game that allows me to play using the keypad (However I could use an actual dance pad with the right connections.) to play some of the classic favorites and try out some new ones as well.
In the end the Music genre of video games is dead, but it must be that way for it to rise again. Once the novelty of the plastic instruments is just a faded memory, look to some of these publishers to come back with a new music game; and who knows, we may be rocking out together once again sometime soon.