Power Gig: Rise of the Six String is taking Guitar Hero and Rock Band to a new level by teaching you actual guitar skills if you choose to move past what the tradition rhythm game has offered. The guitar peripheral is an actual six-string electric guitar, although we’re promised that the full band bundle of guitar, drums, and microphone will be priced competitively with other rhythm bundles on the market.
The notes come down the screen, connected by a pulsing ribbon, showing the player what button to hit on the guitar’s neck. Any number of strings hit will register as a correct hit. In this mode, you will be able to use your existing rhythm game guitars. The real meat of the game happens when you move to the higher difficulty levels, where the dots are replaced by numbers, showing you what strings to play. A green two means you’ll be pressing down on the second string down from the top of the neck, in the green section. Tutorials will show you how to hold your hands and fingers to create power chords.
PowerGig won’t be marketed as a learn-to-play guitar product. The idea is more that players will seamlessly move from the more video game sections of the title into modes that teach real guitar skills. A dampener is in place on the strings to keep them from vibrating and making noise while playing, but it can also be lowered to allow the strings to ring out fully; the guitar can then be plugged into an amplifier and played. After mastering some of the game modes you’ll know the basics to actually play many of the songs.
745 Studios was born out of First Act, a company that specialized in mass retail musical instruments; they know how to make a musical instrument on a budget. “On the hardware side of things, we’re uniquely qualified to bring this sort of product to market,” a company representative says.
745 Studios also claims its guitar is the most complex peripheral ever made. It can sense which strings are being hit, which ones are being strummed… the gameplay elements we’re seeing today are merely scratching the surface of what’s available. Downloadable lessons may be available when the game is released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The company hinted at big partnerships with musicians, although specifics will have to wait until PowerGig is released. The company is taling to artists who have shyed away from these games in the past, due to the fact that you’re pressing buttons.” With a real guitar being used as a gaming instrument, that barrier has been removed, and it seems that some bands and artists are intrigued by the idea.
“It’s no secret that the music genre has taken a hit, but there are two brands that became billion dollar brands overnight. Although it’s on the decline, there is still a significant installed base and audience,” the company said. Real instruments, with more complex gameplay at the higher levels, mixed with the ability to pick up an actual working guitar without the intimidation factor are the main selling points of this game. We’re also promised drum controls that are “just as revolutionary,” but again, we’re going to have to wait until the third quarter for release. (www.firstact.com)
Published on March 13, 2010