I bought Guitar Hero 1 and loved it. I got GH2 and liked it. I haven’t gotten anything since then, including Rock Band, nor have I much interest in the latest Beatles expansion. The reasons for this are numerous, but include the following:
- The songs are so mixed it can be hard to understand a game’s value. Guitar Hero 1 had, I thought, a pretty good mixture of songs, but since that point I have had a hard time finding a setlist that I thought was truly great. Rock Band has tried to fix this somewhat through DLC, but frankly, you pay so much up front that I don’t consider it worth it.
- The games are extremely uneven in terms of difficulty. Guitar Hero 1 was pretty accessible, but GH2 was shockingly difficult by the first game’s standards, and sequels in the genre fall all over the board (Rock Band has some very easy portions and some very difficult ones).
- The target audience for the games varies as well. Rock Band is best played with others, but since I don’t know a ton of people who have an interest in the genre, it doesn’t make much sense to pick it up.
- They’re expensive. Shelling out $60 - $200 for a new game - which is essentially the same game as before - is just hard to justify on a regular basis.
Rhythm game fanatics have probably enjoyed most of the entrants into the series, but I suspect more casual players have lost a lot of interest. What can be done to make these games more interesting? Lately, all the innovation has focused on changing inputs: adding devices or upgrading them to attempt to make them a closer simulation of real music. I’d suggest that we should focus a bit more on the mechanics of the game and how it’s sold. (I’m actually pretty interested in DJ Hero, mostly because it’s so different than what we’ve seen so far, both in terms of gameplay and musical style.
One idea I’d like to see: what about an iTunes-esque “build your own game” format? Games would come blank, but players could select a series of, say, 15 tracks to download that would become the standard tracklist for their game. This would ensure that players would only pay for tracks that they really liked, in a style they desired; since DLC right now seems reasonably successful, I don’t see this as being a licensing cost issue. I’d definitely pay for that.
Other thoughts?Posted in DLC, Gear, Geoff |