Popular Tech Toy's Launch Marred by Hardware Issues

Dennis Faas's picture

Some early buyers of the brand new and much-anticipated Guitar Hero: World Tour (which effectively rivals Rock Band by offering drums and a microphone) have complained that the "instruments" don't work as they should.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. After a year in Rock Band's shadow, the original franchise that started this whole rock 'n roll video game thing, Guitar Hero, was supposed to reclaim its throne.

If you haven't seen or played either Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you're missing out on one of the best party fads to ever hit the video game market. Players "strum" by flicking keys at the neck and base of a life-like (though plastic) guitar. Guitar Hero originally started the craze several years ago on the PlayStation 2, and since that time two new versions have been released on next-gen consoles. However, Guitar Hero III, released last year, was more than overshadowed by MTV's Rock Band, which included a knock-off drum kit that closely emulated the real thing.

This year the makers of Guitar Hero, RedOctane and Activision, set their sights on Rock Band with an upgraded drum kit (this one has faux symbols) and a whole new playlist of popular tunes. Guitar Hero was always a bit more challenging than Rock Band, a factor that does appeal to a number of gamers who quickly conquered MTV's game.

Unfortunately, World Tour has stumbled right where it needed to take a major leap. Its drums, touted because of those half-moon but oh-so-cool symbols, have been breaking down under the onslaught of gamer pounding. According to Gamespot, not only are gamers ticked off over shoddy kick pedals, but both the red drum pad and yellow cymbal are experiencing worrying failure rates. In many cases, it seems, these peripherals work briefly and then quit altogether. (Source: gamespot.com)

The problems aren't even limited to the new drum sets. The game's guitar peripheral, the cornerstone of the Guitar Hero franchise, is also experiencing problems. Some gamers complain that the strum bars aren't working effectively, if at all.

RedOctane has failed to respond to posters on their message boards. However, some gamers have found that the wires were simply poorly installed, and have tried fixing them from home. That's not recommended, however, since this voids Activision's 90 day warranty.

Thus, parents looking for Christmas presents may want to hold off on this one for a little while. The game is popular enough that we can expect a fix (or at least a company comment) sooner than later. One hopes.

Of course, the alternative is the competitor: Rock Band 2 has been available for some time, and received impressive reviews with few of the hardware headaches. (Source: ign.com)

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