Guitar Hero May Be a 2006 Holiday Hit with Young Adults

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested to my wife Kathleen that her brother John might like playing Guitar Hero, a videogame for the Sony PlayStation 2, more than he would like playing a real guitar. John's been talking about learning to play the guitar for sometime.

Kathleen didn't think that playing a guitar video game would be that interesting for him. If all I heard was a description of how the game works, I might have felt that way also. But I keep reading stories about the game that lead me to believe that Guitar Hero is going to be a big hit with young adults at Christmas and Hanukkah this year.

The latest indication of this is a Page One article that appeared in today's Wall Street Journal called When Being a Fake Rock Star is Better Than Reality. The article says that musicians from bands such as Korn, Nine Inch Nails, and Rascal Flatts are playing Guitar Hero because it's so much fun for them. This sounds like the beginning of a trend similar to the one where video games like Madden NFL became a preoccupation with some players from the National Football League a few years ago.

The article appears to have been timed to roughly coincide with the release of Guitar Hero 2 which adds a number of new features to the game including:

  • multi-track performance: now you can choose to play lead, bass, or rhythm on the tracks, instead of just lead as in the original game.
  • new game modes: multi-player options have been increased so there are now cooperative, pro face-off, and face-off modes.
  • practice mode: Guitar Hero 2 now includes a practice mode for people just learning to shred.

I think the practice mode will help players get up the learning curve faster because they won't have to play an entire track over and over to get to a lick that they need to practice that only occurs near the end of the song.

Possibly the most interesting aspect of The Wall Street Journal article about Guitar Hero is the link it provides to Two Dudes Playing Guitar Hero, a four-and-a-half minute video that demonstrates the fun you can have with the multi-player version of the game. This video is definitely worth watching if you came here wondering what all the fuss about Guitar Hero is about.

Once you get to the clip page on YouTube, you'll see a number of other video clips that people have made that show what the experience of playing Guitar Hero is like. [ Subscription required to read most articles in The Wall Street Journal. ]

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