Last night Guitar Hero was pronounced dead at the young age of six; shot dead at an Activision financial meeting for fiscal year 2011. We’ll be honest, it’s something that’s been a long time coming. The decision to axe Guitar Hero, from a business standpoint, makes sense. So we thought we would take some time to say our goodbyes and share our memories of a franchise that burned out after only a few short years.
Kansas, hit it!
Erik Norris: I loved the original Guitar Hero. I remember getting it for Christmas and immediately tearing into the game, trying to play Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads” on anything higher than easy for hours. Guitar Hero sucked my life away. I was even able to sell some friends on the game who deemed themselves so musically inclined that they wanted nothing to do with playing a plastic guitar in their milk and cereal stained pajamas (Hey, we were in college, give us a break).
But it wasn’t long after the first Guitar Hero launched that the magic started to wane. Rapidly the Guitar Hero franchise turned from a majestic rockin’ unicorn to a unicorn whose horn had fallen off. And that’s just a normal horse, which is nowhere near as fun.
Sure, I picked up Guitar Hero II, then III, but it was just me going through the motions at that point. After that, I didn’t even bother anymore. The influx of spin-offs with no innovation made me stop caring completely. Fun fact: there have been 15 Guitar Hero games released since 2005. Oversaturate the market much?
I’ll never forget how awesome the original Guitar Hero made me feel. I felt like a rockstar in my college apartment living room, however pathetic that is when you view the experience of playing it from outside the bubble. But Guitar Hero never pushed forward, it just spun its wheels and took the easy way out, churning out sequel after sequel with nothing but different tracklists to distinguish each new iteration. So to wrap up: I’m happy the Guitar Hero brand is officially dead. The series is responsible for some good memories, but even those have been tarnished over the last couple of years. So let’s get the ball rolling and turn this horse into some sweet glue!
Mike White: I, too, thoroughly enjoyed Guitar Hero when it first came out. I wanted so desperately to get 100% accuracy on medium but it never happened. Guitar Hero was just one of those games that could keep a group of people occupied for hours on end. The competition was intense. I absolutely loved the song selection in the first game. The character models were hilarious as well.
Did anyone else see Bike Hero? That video was amazing. Sadly, I think that was the next to last time I was impressed by anything Guitar Hero related. The last would have to be watching anyone play “Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce on expert difficulty.
Unfortunately for Guitar Hero, Rock Band released in 2007 and stole me away. As much as I love shredding on a plastic guitar, I was born to play the drums. Guitar Hero later followed suit with their very own Band Hero but lacked the quality song selection I desired. Once the keyboard and “pro mode” were introduced in Rock Band 3, the final nail was put in the coffin. I’ll look back fondly on the original Guitar Hero, but much like the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, they should have stopped at two.
Alex Keen: I was a late joiner to the Guitar Hero saga – picking up my first axe while playing Guitar Hero II on the Xbox 360. It was a blast to play and ate up hours of my life. But once I saw the light with Rock Band, Guitar Hero was just a faint memory. I came back to the series with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, but that was just for the Achievements. Call me a whore, but I did enjoy reliving my early teens with retro tunes.
While I left Guitar Hero behind like a sad and lonely tadpole, I was digging DJ Hero quite a bit. I played a ton with my brother and loved mixing tunes together for a mega-mash-up. Too bad that the peripherals couldn’t withstand constant use and I left that series behind as well. The demise of Guitar Hero isn’t just the end of the brand, but perhaps the first nail in the entire genre. Kind of a shame but they pushed too hard and too quickly to last.
Joey Davidson: You blew my mind once, Guitar Hero. I remember the first time I saw you. Some jerk on some gaming site whipped you and your peripheral out and started blasting sweat magic from you rockin’ pores. It didn’t make sense, but it didn’t have to. The fat man in my computer screen was wielding your tiny, plastic, 5-buttoned axe with a sense of honor unlike any I had seen before.
I needed you. I didn’t know why, but I knew I needed you.
Then someone introduced me to your former best friend. She was way hotter. Rock Band trounced around, acting all trendy and cool… and I bit. I deserted you. I left you for a cheap bang (lol, drums). But, no. No, no. I don’t regret it. Nope. You turned to drugs (Aerosmith) and went cheap.
You tried to come back, sure. Too little, too late. You’d already flooded the market with your desperate attempts to please me. “Hey, Joey, I’ve got drums now too!” “Hey, Joey, I’ve decided to come over to your house 15 times in the span of 5 years.” “Hey, Joey, come over and make out with my hot cousin, DJ Hero.” Cheap tricks, Guitar Hero… Cheap Tricks.
Maybe I would have loved you more if you put out as much as Rock Band. She pleased me every Wednesday. You prude.