Guitar Hero Van Halen Misses the Point

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 8, 2009 in Videogames |

Ah yes the trailer with the masses chanting “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” Now I’ll grant you that Eddie Van Halen is one of the most amazing living guitar players of our time (well sort of living if you look at that photo), but the real point of Van Halen is the dysfunctionality of the band itself! And a proper video game should reflect this discord as the central game play of the product. Frankly no one has fantasized about playing a Van Halen air guitar riff since the Reagan era, instead the real game should focus on what went on off stage: After all that’s what we’re really interested in. Heavy metal as a genre lends itself best to a This is Spinal Tap state, so why not give the people what they want instead of some juke box hero plot device that we’ve already seen a hundred times before?

Guitar Hero Van Halen

Now if I were to design the game the first thing you would get to do is to pick if you want to be David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar: This makes much more sense any way since most of us can’t hope to be as good as Eddie on the strings. In addition the lead singer of Van Halen always gets to prance around on stage, so the marketing angle during the music numbers would be sort of a Wii Fit concept with a Sweating to the Oldies Richard Simmons thing going on. The other thing is that since we know in advance that the lead singer of Van Halen is always replaceable it sets up that instant conflict before the game begins — the real goal is to see just how long you can stand to be in the band itself!

Guitar Hero Van Halen

I think once we make Eddie Van Halen the bad guy of the title the real fun would start in. Rather than trying to recreate some karaoke embarrassment this could be a real role playing game in the truest sense of the word. And unlike D&D all our weapons can be drawn from the drama that is low life world of the music industry, which always seems unfocused on the music itself. This is what people really want to see, it’s why we watched Behind the Music and why MTV is filled with bad reality TV shows.

So Guitar Hero Van Halen should zig while everyone zags — let the Beatles take the high road of this videogame rock genre, for my money Van Halen’s gig should be Runnin’ with the Devil:

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