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Sunday, February 25, 2024

I love rock 'n' roll.

I suck at playing the guitar.

So you can imagine how happy I was when Harmonix Music Systems came out with their guitar simulation game, Guitar Hero, in 2005. College dorms haven't been the same since.

A sequel and an expansion later, Guitar Hero is now one of the most played games on any university's campus, where everyone loves playing such classics as "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock will be released Sunday. This time, they have a new developer, Neversoft (the makers of the Tony Hawk series), and they're poised to retake the video game industry.

Unfortunately, they have considerable competition. Harmonix has teamed up with MTV to make Rock Band, a game they think will make Guitar Hero III look like a fourth-grade strings lesson.

Rock Band, which comes out Nov. 23, will include the guitar peripheral just like the previous renditions of Guitar Hero did and just like Guitar Hero III will. Here's the kicker: It also includes bass, vocals and even drums to make the rest of the band.

You and friends will form, name, dress, customize and play with a band that you create.

You'll then sweep the nation, playing songs and gathering fans on your way to rock glory. You can play any of the four instruments and have the computer play the rest, or you can get your friends to fill in with you.

While Guitar Hero III is touting a new battle mode, Rock Band promises to fulfill you and your musically challenged friends' dreams of making a band. The game will include the guitar, drum kit and microphone, which includes pitch recognition technology, peripherals in-box.

Of course, the song lineup is what really matters. Guitar Hero III has 73 confirmed titles to date, which allows it to have a few lesser-known tracks, while Rock Band relies on 40 mostly hit songs.

The real difference is more in the downloadable content. Upon release, Harmonix has guaranteed new content for Rock Band available online each week that will often include complete albums such as "Who's Next" by The Who and "Nevermind" by Nirvana, while Guitar Hero III only has plans for individual track releases.

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It seems that you won't be able to play through career mode with bandmates over the Internet in Rock Band yet, but both games will include online competition.

Rock Band has the potential to rock harder than Guitar Hero III. Downloadable full-length albums and an interesting career mode make Rock Band all the more interesting. On the other hand, Guitar Hero III is already wildly popular and is utilizing a proven formula. Which game will rock your socks more? Save it for the stage.

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