It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 29 of the best known video game controls of all time, from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Nintendo Wii remote. We're going to review each and every one of them, and then give you a short haiku. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 29 Controls of Christmas!
That kid rocked his fucking sock off!
For years Harmonix had tried to convince everybody that their music games were the wave of the future. With cult classics like Frequency and Amplitude under their belt, this Massachusetts-based company was looking for the next big thing. They got their break when they teamed up with popular accessory maker, RedOctane. Together the two companies came up with Guitar Hero, a game that mixed the music gameplay of Frequency with a fake plastic guitar. It was this marriage of rock music and a simplistic guitar that would propel Harmonix to superstardom. These days the original Guitar Hero guitar looks downright quaint, but there was no doubt that this 3/4-scale reproduction of the Gibson SG guitar was a hot commodity. This was the guitar that made you feel like you were really playing these songs, even if deep down in your mind you realized that all you were doing was pushing colored notes when it asked you to. The game's rocking soundtrack didn't hurt any, especially when you were jumping all around shredding like a real rock star. I doubt that even Harmonix realized how successful their 2005 game would be, spawning countless sequels and spin-offs, as well as a new franchise called Rock Band. In the ensuing years we've seen a number of different variations on the guitar, but for many this Gibson SG model will always have a soft spot in their heart.
How can I make fun of the style of the Gibson SG? This thing is a classic, even if what you're playing is actually a fake plastic recreation. This original Guitar Hero guitar introduced a number of interesting innovations, including five colored fret buttons, a whammy bar that has an actual purpose in the game and the all important strum bar. This was hardly the first time somebody came up with a fake plastic guitar; Konami would argue that their
The worst thing about Guitar Hero are all the pictures of people posing like they are playing Guitar Hero!
Guitar Freaks paved the way for Harmonix. But even if it's not the first, it was definitely the best. Sadly this original Guitar Hero guitar is far from the best, but for those still playing the game on your PS2, this original guitar gets the job done in style.
What the 27 Year Old Me Would Say:
Hey look, it's a Fisher Price-made guitar. It's like, My First Guitar. This can go right next to My First Oven and My First Blow-Up Doll. Way to give me something I don't need. Look, I already play guitar, why would I want to play a fake plastic guitar that looks like a kid's toy? There's no way this thing is going to be popular; people would rather pick up a real guitar and be the next Hendrix. At least, I know I would.
What I Would Say Now:
Oh 27 year old me, how wrong you were. If you had told me that music games were about to overtake sports games, I would have laughed in your face. Then I would have ridiculed you, and then laughed a little more. But I would have been wrong, because this year the NPD announced that games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band were outselling Madden, Tiger Woods and the rest of the sports line-up. Not to take anything away from the sports games, but as far as I'm concerned this is a good thing. It's nice to see that so many people are getting into the music genre, especially when they are being introduced to so many new songs and artists. These days I don't fight against the music genre, I embrace it. Rock Band 2 is one of my favorite games this year and I've written more than a few articles proclaiming my love for guitar-based games. I guess you really can play guitar in real life and still enjoy the fake plastic guitar. Who would have thought?
The Guitar Hero Guitar Haiku:
Fake plastic guitar.
Why do I love you so much?
Gotta be the songs!