Bring the Noise

Just to prove my own point I fired up Audiosurf for a quick five minutes last night, and wound up playing through most of the Solaris soundtrack, which produced some amazing looping tracks. Oh, and then the Ying Tong Song.

While on a music game kick, there’s been a whole bunch o’ plastic instrument type news in the last few weeks. Still no sign of a UK release date for the Wii version of Rock Band; I’ll keep an eye on reviews when it’s out in the US in a few weeks, see how it measures up to the other consoles, but I suspect I’ll give it a miss thanks to a slew of rivals out there. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is out at the end of June, so I’ve stuck an order in for that to get an immediate fix of plastic guitaring. I don’t know much Aerosmith past their singles, but the song list looks like there’ll be enough to keep me going for a while at least. If nothing else it means I shouldn’t be so tempted to do something rash like get the Nintendo DS release, Guitar Hero: On Tour, though watching the promo video had already altered my interest level from “hmm, possibly intriguing” to “FLEE! FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!”

The biggest news, though, is Guitar Hero IV, or Guitar Hero: Roman Numerals Are So Passée And Colons Are In So It’s Not Guitar Hero IV But “Guitar Hero: World Tour” Just To Sound A Lot Like “Guitar Hero: On Tour” So You Can Get Them Confused A Lot, to give its full title. World Tour, perhaps inevitably, brings drums and vocals to the Guitar Hero series, as well as a few other new features like the ability to create custom songs. With the Wii version of Rock Band being somewhat cut-down compared to the PS3 and 360 versions, notably lacking Downloadable Content, it remains to be seen how many World Tour features will make it to the Nintendo system, but there are encouraging noises about downloadable functionality for the Wii. Scheduled for an October release in the US, with a bit of luck we might see it in the UK before the end of the year if the Guitar Hero III release dates were anything to go by, though if Rock Band is any precedent then the mid-23rd century may be more likely. In the past couple of days, word is also emerging of Guitar Hero: Metallica for early 2009.

Not content with the possibility of a mere two plastic drum kits cluttering up your living room, Konami have announced Rock Revolution, though I haven’t seen much about that apart from the drum set. There are murmurings of Rock Band 2 for this Autumn as well, so October/November may see a Plastic Instrument Battle Royale on a scale not seen since the Bakelite Beatles vs Rolling Polyethylene Terephthalate Stones duels of the 60s.

Based on the current situation, it seems unlikely that many, if any, of the instruments will be compatible between games, which is a shame. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said “to have one plastic guitar cluttering up the living room may be tolerated by an understanding wife, to have three plastic guitars, a bass or two, three drum sets and an assortment of USB mics is probably pushing it a bit”. We’ll have to see how UK pricing and release dates pan out, but it’s looking like interesting times in the world of pushing buttons and pretending to be a rock god.