A coworker loaned me his copy (and included cable) of Rocksmith for the Xbox360. My family has Rockband or Guitar Hero or some other game that has fake guitar controller. I’ve even blogged in the past about how much fun those games are, but that I don’t want to spend the time and effort learning to “play” the controller in the game when I should spend that time and effort learning to play the guitar.
Rocksmith is set up almost the same way as those other “controller” games. You unlock guitars, effects, amps, venues, songs, etc. BUT, you do it all with a real guitar.
This game has been out for a while, so you may already be aware of it. You play the guitar following the cues of the game (only a slight delay in the analog to digital conversion, but it is noticeable). I started it this morning and after an hour and a half I wanted to keep playing…the rest of the day. I wanted to practice the songs so I could get better and better before “performing” the song at the “venue.”
There are a couple of criticisms I have after my 1.5 hours (because I did put down the guitar and join my family in the weekend activities). First, you can’t work on a phrase. The song just keeps going so you can’t work on a particularly troubling part. It’s like having a backing track you can’t pause, stop, rewind, or loop. Second, the game throws more difficult playing instructions at you as you do well in a song. So if you just barely eeked out a difficult part, the next time around a similar part comes in the song, the game will give you an even more difficult phrase (that is more like the original). I see pros and cons to both of these criticisms. If you get something right, you get more stuff to learn. If you mess up, you get easier parts until you get them right.
I also haven’t explored the game very much. I’m still at an amateur setting and only four songs in. So maybe there is the ability to practice on specific phrases. However, if I had never touched a guitar before, I’m not sure this would be a good way to learn. The potential for an interactive series of lessons with this technology is very cool, but the game doesn’t really seem to be set up for that.
Even with those criticisms, I really had fun playing the game. I want to play it more. I do like the fact that I play without looking at my hands and play standing up. These are things I do normally that I am trying to overcome. Normally, I’m sitting down with a guitar in my lap and looking at my hands while I try to play something. With this game I’m standing in front of the tv (I could sit, but my couch is just a bit too far for the included cable) and I’m too busy looking at the screen to look at my hands.
Finally, my wife loves it that I am hooked on a video game. She is the gamer in the family. She is the one who will lose track of hours while playing a game. I don’t play video games…until now!