“The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say.”
- Ace of Spades by Motorhead
A few weeks ago, I had the surreal pleasure of taking my 14 year old son to see one of my boyhood rock heroes perform on stage: Lemmy Kilmister. Lemmy and his band, Motorhead, have not changed much since I first saw them in 1980, and I’ve spend most of the intervening 28 years regarding my enthusiasm for loud, heavy rock as a secret, guilty pleasure.
However, thanks to those insightful people at Harmonix and Red Octane and their 2005 video game Guitar Hero, both I and my battered LP collection can come out of the metaphorical (and non-metaphorical) closet. I find myself once more at the leading edge of popular culture, and a “wow” at teenage parties. And that’s why we’ve had so much fun working with Red Octane on the new Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller for PLAYSTATION 3.
I’ve been playing guitar in rock bands since I was 15, so helping create a new guitar design has been a dream come true. Having grown up idolizing such axe wielders as Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, we had a crystal-clear inspiration for our design direction: a single-pick-up, no-nonsense “Superstrat” – the same influences that created the Ibanez RG-Series, the Jackson “Dinky” and the Kramer Baretta.
Although visual authenticity was extremely important, that was really secondary to building a better “playing” guitar controller. We wanted to keep the feel and relative spacing of the fret buttons and slider of the original Guitar Hero controller so that the hours invested in gaining proficiency aren’t wasted. That’s why our guitar has a slightly shorter neck length than a typical guitar – we chose the length that consistently gave us the best game scores.
And, by paying special attention to the buttons and the mechanism of the strum bar and trem, we’ve created a much quieter and higher-precision action that rewards a good player with higher scores in the game. In fact, it was most noticeable that our scores improved dramatically when we used using our prototype on the Rock Band game, which is generally less technically challenging than any of the Guitar Hero series (and comes with a standard guitar controller that is less accurately made – albeit attractive looking).
I hope you all have as much fun with the new Logitech Guitar controller as we did making it.
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