In case the heated debate between music games being viewed as a teaching tool or as a hindrance wasn't convoluted enough, a new guitar related peripheral is attempting to make its way into the already crowded and slightly confusing market. Meet Seven 45 Studios' Power Gig: Rise of the Six String, which comes with a real(ish) looking guitar.
If the new device looks suspiciously like something your grandma purchased at RadioShack one birthday thinking it was "that rock hero thing you wanted," there's good reason. It's made by First Act, the company semi-famous for their cheap-ass electric guitars often sold at retailers like, well, Radioshack and Wal-Mart.
The game itself is set to function similar to the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises -- except that it has six real strings to play. This alone should quiet naysayers as it could actually teach people how to play guitar. The developers are even claiming they've secured songs from groups that have avidly denied the inclusion of their work in other rhythm music games.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, the controller acts just like it looks when it isn't plugged in, too, making it a perfectly usable -- albeit likely consistently out of tune -- guitar as well.
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While a First Act guitar might not be the most appealing thing to veterans, the games not really made for them. It's made for youngsters looking to learn, and by utilizing the idea of a game, and teaching slowly it may pave the way for parents everywhere to finally ditch the weird poney-tailed guitar teacher. Or not.
You're treading on dangerous ground anytime you look to replace a human teacher, and it's rarely successful on the first attempt, but perhaps it could offer a cheap alternative to weekly lessons. In the end, it reminds us a bit of Synthesia, which is built on the same concept of using colored tiles moving down a screen to teach piano.
Either way, it's something we'll be keeping an eye on in the coming months as the game is set for release this fall. It's release will not likely quash the debate between real and digital rock gods. If nothing else, though, perhaps the complaints might change slightly.