An Ode To The "Cultural Impact" of Guitar Hero!

Remember Guitar Hero?

Holy fucking shit, you couldn't take three steps without seeing a gaggle of teens swarm around a Guitar Hero display and pick it clean like piranhas.  My most favorite memories, though, are of the many times otherwise smart industry executives proclaimed that Guitar Hero would do the same for rock that American Idol had done for, uh, melodramatic crap.  Yep, the proverbial new kid on the gaming block wasn't just gonna revitalize the video game industry, but the music industry as well.

Thing was, this ame hadn't just been embraced by gamers, but by hipsters and non-gamers, too.  Heck, it got so that even the "too cool for school" contingent was throwing Guitar Hero parties.

Bands like AC/DC and Aerosmith quickly aligned themselves with Guitar Hero.  Of course, AC.DC has also allowed their logo and likeness to be used on doggie toys, so maybe that's not saying much, but other rock bands saw a renewed interest in their music due to a song or two being used in the game.

Other bands didn't take so kindly to the "Guitar Hero bump".  Case in point: The Romantics, who, in 2007, sued any and all companies associated with the game.  The band turned litigious not because the makers of the game had covered the band's "What I Like About You" without their permission, but because they'd done too good a job covering the song and the band feared this would mislead their audience.  It was a stupid lawsuit, of course, and the band got their asses handed to them in court, but the lawsuit proved that not all bands were clamoring to be associated with Guitar Hero.

Still, the fact remains that Guitar Hero was a bit of a game-changer (pun fully intended) for a brief moment in time, hence the fact that there's a whole paragraph devoted to the game's "cultural impact" on its Wikipedia page:
"The Hero series has helped to rekindle music education in children, influenced changes in both the video game and music industry, has found use in health and treatment of recovering patients, and has become part of the popular culture vernacular. Several journalists considered Guitar Hero to be one of the most influential products of the first decade of the 21st century, attributing it as the spark leading to the growth of the rhythm game market, for boosting music sales for both new and old artists, for introducing more social gaming concepts to the video game market, and, in conjunction with the Wii, for improving interactivity with gaming consoles."
Wow, it sounds like quite the game, right?  Did everything except cure cancer, it seems.  I guess that paragraph reads a little better than the truth: "Stunningly simple hand-eye coordination exercise dressed up as an interactive rock & roll experience that the masses flocked to like, uh, sheep."

Now, of course, its ultimate cultural impact may be damage these little plastic guitars and drums sets do to the nation's landfills as people find they can't even give this stuff away.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

No comments:

Post a Comment