The buzz about Rocksmith has been fierce, and today the much-anticipated new guitar-based game from Ubisoft launches.
Unlike Rock Band and Guitar Hero, which involve plastic guitars with buttons and not strings, this game lets players plug any guitar into the game and actually learn how to play real music.
In an article at the San Francisco Chronicle website, Scott Steinberg, author of "Music Games Rock: Rhythm Gaming's Greatest Hits of All Time," talks about some of the obstacles Rocksmith has to overcome:
"You've got to own a guitar. You've got to own one of these consoles. You've got to spend more than you would for an average game. You've got to be willing to learn how to play an instrument. And oh, by the way, you've probably got to be interested in being a musician," Steinberg said. "It's either a really brilliant play, or it's going to strike a very bad chord."
But at about $80, Rocksmith is not all that expensive. And nearly everyone in the target audience for the game will have either a Playstation 3 or an Xbox 360. When you consider how much teenage boys and adults alike are willing to pay for guitar lessons, a game that teaches real skills and makes it fun at the same time sounds like a pretty good bargain.
The question is, is the game fun? From reviews and videos online so far, it seems as though it is. The team who designed the game built in mini-games that let players learn skills such as finger positioning painlessly. For instance, in one mini-game players hit the right notes to shoot ducks as they fly down the keyboard.There are no booing crowds or failing scores as in Rock Band and Guitar Hero. The game adjusts the difficulty level automatically to match the player's skill, so that gamers will not get frustrated.
Steinberg's concludes: "All indications are that it's a pretty darn good game, and it's actually a useful teaching tool, unlike previous attempts in the space. "It has a chance, on merits alone, of succeeding."
It certainly sounds like a lot more fun than practicing scales all day, and if it really works, it may put many more users that much closer to being real rock stars, at least in their local circles.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons