Today, July 13, we have a rockin’ reason to celebrate, because it’s International Rock ‘n’ Roll Day in my home country of Brazil! On this day in 1985, the dual-venue Live Aid concert brought together some of the world’s most famous musicians to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. In celebration of that momentous event, here’s a list of the top three rock ‘n’ roll video games that let the soundtrack take center stage for those of you who love the best music genre of all time!
3rd Place – Guitar Hero
In terms of musical content, the Guitar Hero games appeal to fans of all rock variants: from indie to heavy metal. If you’re a true rock fan who enjoys playing video games, you must have at least tried one of these franchise entries. And yet, this is only placing 3rd on the list because its lack of identity with the controls, which for me was very annoying.
The original Guitar Hero allowed you to use a standard controller or the special guitar controller (which was brilliant), the next games dropped the use of standard controllers and introduced new types of guitars with different functions, followed by a drum controller to keep up with its main competitor, Rock Band. Finally, after a long hiatus, the franchise was rebooted in 2015 with an all-new guitar controller that waved goodbye to the previous guitars and drum controllers — as well as the money spent on those controllers!
The music featured in the Guitar Hero games is awesome, but the lack of consideration for the user drags it down on this list. Although, I must say that GH will be forever an awesome game for rock ‘n’ roll lovers as it has memorable original titles as well as licensed exclusives from Metallica, Aerosmith and Van Halen.
2nd Place – Rock Band
What originally started as a natural progression of the Guitar Hero formula soon changed the way people thought about using plastic accessories to play music. After striking out on their own and parting ways with publishers RedOctane and Activision, original Guitar Hero developer Harmonix started work on Rock Band, which eventually became the first music game to truly recreate the experience of playing in a real rock band (derp) for people who had no previous knowledge about musical instruments.
In terms of musical content, Rock Band is also a superb destination for all types of rock lovers; There are multiple Rock Band games with epic songs from awesome bands to please fans of all rock variants. Harmonix also has their own exclusive licensed titles with The Beatles and Green Day. Furthermore, they have an extensive catalog of DLC songs that span multiple genres to reach an even wider range of musical tastes.
One of the main reasons Rock Band is positioned above Guitar Hero on this list is the fact that the instruments have remained essentially the same since the first release, so that players who spent hours and hours playing those first games didn’t have to relearn the basic controls on newer versions.
It’s also worth adding that Harmonix released cool accessories for the instruments, such as the set of cymbals for the drum kit, which in my opinion enhances the experience quite a bit. Rock Band was even more user-friendly during the golden years of the franchise in the last console generation when it offered compatibility with Guitar Hero’s controllers and other third-party accessories. The sum of all these other functionalities gives it the edge over Guitar Hero for rock fans.
1st Place – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
OK, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater may not be a music game like the previous two entries, but it is just as deserving to appear on this list. For rock fans who want to play video games that explore their favorite music genre, it is almost impossible to find another game franchise in history with a better soundtrack than the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series.
No other franchise has a soundtrack in inextricably linked to the lifestyle the game is trying to portray. The Tony Hawk games managed to put together fantastic rock bands like Goldfinger, Millencolin, Papa Roach, Bad Religion, Zebrahead, among many others into a video game and provide an incredible synergy with the game itself. The game blended the sound of the best punk rock bands of the West Coast, the top pro skaters of the time, legendary skating locations, and outrageous skateboarding tricks many young skaters dreamed of performing. What more could a young skater ask for?
To go along with its many other problems, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 did not carry on the musical tradition of its forebearers, but even that small blemish on its record wasn’t enough to know the series off the top of this list!
Peace, and an awesome International Rock’n’Roll day to you all!!