Following a link from Kotaku, Forbes writer Peter Beller, in an article about game publisher Activision, apparently called Rock Band a “shameless knockoff” of Guitar Hero, ignoring the fact that the same developer created both games, and both games are just a “shameless knockoff” of Guitar Freaks by Konami. Yesterday, amongst loud complaints, Beller, in talking to GameDaily, says he stands by his claim. We at the Fast Money Round will now translate his response to further understand his reasoning.
My terming Rock Band a “shameless knockoff” of Guitar Hero was based on the fact that it came out after Guitar Hero and sported very obvious similarities with Guitar Hero, including color-coded prompts moving onscreen along a fret board. It even accepted the same Guitar Hero guitar controller, I believe.
The last video game I played was Ms. Pac-Man in college. I don’t know what this Xcube or Wiibox mess is, but look, Rock Band looks like Guitar Hero. They have those note things that I can’t hit and they both use a guitar. Obviously, my editor doesn’t play video games or else he’d know that I was full of bullshit.
If you define knockoff as “a copy or imitation of someone or something popular” the way Merriam-Webster does, then I think Rock Band fits the bill nicely.
I know you gamerblog people aren’t as good as us high-brow financial magazine types, so I’m going to be condescending!
I was aware that Harmonix designed both but Redoctane, then Activision, actually owned the game. When Harmonix sold to MTV and produced Rock Band it appears likely they took their know-how from Guitar Hero to create Rock Band along a similar vein. Which is a better game? Not for me to decide.
That vein being “pressing buttons to music.” But of course, I’m going to totally ignore the fact that Rock Band was a natural progression of the musical genre which started with games like PaRappa the Rapper and Beatmania and still have the same fucking mechanic they’ve always used: hit a button along with the beat of the music.
The point I was trying to make was that just because Bobby Kotick spent $100M for Guitar Hero, or has a long-running skateboarding franchise, doesn’t mean he can churn out sequels without the threat of competition. More broadly, creative talent, on which the industry depends, is quick to migrate to where it feels most appreciated and remunerated.
Why’d you guys have to call me on my bullshit? I have stocks to check and coffee to sip.