Guitar Hero was the best time I ever had with games. Music, friends, house parties, feeling cool in spite of/because of holding actual toys. Guitar Hero on PC? Obviously a terrible idea. (But it was great news for me).
Sure, there were ways and means of connecting a PC to a TV back in 2007, cumbersome in execution and ugly in result, but the reality was that anyone buying the PC version of Guitar Hero III, the latest in a string of rhythm-action music games that briefly made a ton of money for Activision, was doing so to play it on their own, in front of a wee small monitor. Good times could be had, but Guitar Hero was first and foremost a social game. It didn’t make sense, other than as a source of additional revenue from those felt left out of the party.
I appreciate that we PC types got it, even if GH3: Legends of Rock seemed to lack the vintage floor-fillers of its console-only predecessors (in what I now recognise was probably rockism on my part). I doubly appreciated that, as a games journalist with a specialism in PC, I could make a bit of cash from something I’d poured dozens of hours into (and suffered dozens of hangovers from).
I wish the PC version could have been more trend-setting, as the first couple of games were on console. Really push the online thing, unshackled from the hoops and handcuffs of Xbox Live and PSN. Bands banding together across the world. A wider spread of instruments and input devices. Hell, exploring places beyond the rock ghetto.
But, as everyone kept telling us, PC gaming was dead in 2007. It’s a miracle we got any Guitar Hero.
I wish Guitar Hero, the concept, on any platform, had lived. It blossomed into EA’s Rock Band, which was great, but then it seemed to lose its impetus, snared up in increasingly specific music packs and hardcore-pleasing additional complexity, no longer working to further its original triumph: as a great leveller, a burst of raw, human joy and simulated music-creation for almost anyone.