Snooty musicians, luddites, and haters the world over: Shut the hell up. Newcomers, Seven45 are flipping a defiant middle finger to all of those cranky rock dinosaurs slamming guitar games for being child’s play, and they’re doing it by means we all knew were inevitable - but once thought were impossible. You guessed it: The controller is a REAL GUITAR.
Above: This thing’ll ship with a guitar pick and extra strings. Best of all, it looks 40% less ridiculous than your plastic axe
Yeah, as in plug into an amp, place your fingers on the frets, push down on the strings, REAL. (And it just so happens to be compatible with the rest of your Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, too!) Playing Power Gig in-game and the guitar IRL is just a quick adjustment to an extra pickup in the guitar’s body away, so at any given time you’re pretty much a split-second, flip-of-a-switch between acing Freezepop on Expert and desecrating "Stairway to Heaven."
Above: That doohickey in the middle is the only barrier between the virtual and analog
But what of the gameplay? Well, that’s where things get a little more intriguing. Power Gig's got the traditional color-coded beat matching you’ve seen a billion times before, but those six strings are there for a reason: Colored notes also that descend onscreen contain a number. Those familiar with guitar tablature certainly won’t struggle with the idea, but guitar n00bs should know that these correspond to specific strings. Chords. Actual chords! Strange though it may seem, it’s actually a much more logical evolution than the “difficulty” added by other guitar games, who’ve simply added superfluous notes to make the game harder.
However, the devs assured us that venture is going forth as a game, first and foremost. Creating a fun experience is the Power Gig’s primary goal, but when you're ready to take the next step, actual guitar tutorials have never been more possible, or at least easily accessible. (Having struggled with learning guitar ourselves, we can’t help but love that there’s an in-game method to tune your strings!)
Above: Beca Sizzle is a suitable Avatar, but real life rock star participation was definitely hinted at
Needless to say, Power Gig is adding a remarkable layer of depth to a genre sorely in need of it. Seriously, outside of new songs, and methods of distributing them, where else was there to go? So, while the chords you learn and play in Rise of the SixString game may not be instantly transferable to your actual guitar, the timing and finger fundamentals you learn certainly are.
Above: You’d better do what he says
Honestly, the answers to the “why?” are easy enough, the more important question at this point is “How much?” That’s what we don’t know, unfortunately. But what we do know is that publisher/developer’s sister company is First Act, a longstanding manufacturer of low cost guitars found at mega-retail chains everywhere, generally ranging from about $99 to $250. Last we checked, that’s about the same a new Guitar Hero/Rock Band bundle will set you back. And with the parts, factories, and general know-how set in place, it’s a safe bet that Power Gig: Rise of the SixString will be priced competitively.
We should be learning more about Power Gig later this week, on the bustling floors of GDC. You might want to stay tuned, since they informed GamesRadar that a playable guitar was only the beginning. After all, the door is now wide open for new game types, educational DLC, and of course... new instruments!
Mar 9, 2010