Guitar Hero and Rock Band are music games which can be played on PlayStation, Xbox 360 and other compatible platforms. Both the games simulate the experience of playing rock music live for an audience. They do not require virtuosity on guitar, drums or keyboard.
This game was first published in 2005 by Harmonix and Red Octane for the PlayStation 2.
The game controller was shaped like a guitar, and it enabled the player to simulate lead, rhythm or bass guitar on songs provided.
The controller had a number of coloured buttons on the fret board. These buttons corresponded with coloured notes which were scrolled on the screen, showing the player which buttons to press.
A virtual audience on the screen either cheered or booed the player, depending on how closely the player was able to follow the directions.
Players could imitate actual techniques (such as hammer ons and pull offs) used by guitarists. A virtual whammy bar was also provided.
Guitar Hero 1,2 and 3 came with a controller modelled on the SG Gibson guitar. The controller for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was modelled on a wireless Les Paul guitar. These features endeared Guitar Hero to aspiring guitarists, many of whom prefer Guitar Hero to Rock Band.
Guitar Hero was used mostly for a single player, but there were also multi player modes. Guitar Hero World Tour could accommodate four players including vocals and drums.
The first edition of Guitar Hero came with 30 popular rock songs, and some bonus songs. Later versions contained master recordings of various artists, supplied by arrangement with music companies. Free downloadable content was also made available.
At present, there have been eight major releases of Guitar Hero, with five expansions on gaming consoles.
There are spin-off versions for computers, compatible with both Windows and Mac. There are also versions specially made for arcade games.
Guitar Hero has been used as a learning and development tool in some medical settings.
Guitar Hero has won many awards and was hailed as the most influential game of the first decade of the new millennium.
From 2009, sales declined. The company stopped the free downloads in 2011.
In 2015, a new version, Guitar Hero Live was introduced. New features included six buttons on medium and hard mode. The player avatars were also more realistic.
Guitar Hero has sold more than 25 million units worldwide.
Rock Band, as the name suggests, was a game developed to simulate the experience of playing in a band. It was developed by Harmonix and was published by MTV Games and Electronic Arts. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions were released in 2007.
Rock Band was inspired by the success of Guitar Hero and sought to expand the user base.
Rock Band allows up to four players to use controllers which resemble lead and bass guitars, a drum kit and a USB microphone.
The players follow the notes which are scrolled on the screen by matching the colours with corresponding buttons on their controllers.
There are three separate tracks displayed on the screen for the instruments. The track for the vocals is displayed horizontally across the top of the screen. The vocalist has to match the pitch of the original singer.
In 2008, Rock Band acquired the rights to feature the songs of The Beatles. This was a major achievement, as aspiring band players all want to master the music of that legendary band.
Rock Band games contain between 40 and 80 songs. Downloadable content is also available.
Rock Band 3 has keyboard and harmony tracks and a Pro Mode feature.
Rock Band has sold about 4 million units worldwide.