The U.S. has reached the saturation point with Guitar Hero, the video game franchise that makes teenagers and wanna-be heshers everywhere feel like rock stars by pushing buttons on a plastic guitar. The peak arrived last Spring/Summer as the past couple of years of Guitar Hero fervor climaxed with the near-simultaneous release of Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band. You couldn’t go to any store without seeing it, any news site without reading about it, or anyone’s house without playing it. Guitar Hero even invaded bars and entire events were organized around it — in short, it was a cultural phenomenon. Perhaps the peak was a Southpark lampoon, the ultimate stamp of pop-culture relevance.

Here we are in March 2008, and the backlash has begun. Plastic guitars sit in corners of my friends’ apartments rarely used. Occasionally the ‘Hero comes out for some drunken fun, but for the most part this trend seems to have passed; people have had their fill. And frankly, I have to agree that at this point Guitar Hero seems quite passé. But Activision / RedOctane / whoever is making these things these days doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo; they’ve announced a portable “On Tour” edition for the hand-held system Nintendo DS. Talk about overkill. I’d be way more satisfied with the below ad if at the end they actually threw the thing off the side of the building.

Is the Guitar Hero fad over or does it still have some steam left?


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