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Activision Wants To Bring Guitar Hero To Arcades 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the shredding-in-public dept.
dlapikin writes "Activision is preparing a deal with Konami and Raw Thrills to bring Guitar Hero to arcades worldwide as soon as 2009. It looks to be a great fusion of their current Guitar Hero III axe and World Tour. 'Some features have been streamlined, however, like character customization. Raw Thrills doesn't want people obsessing over the hair color of their on-screen rock star. But one important feature that has remained is downloadable content. Raw Thrills has the ability to push new songs to "Guitar Hero Arcade" through the Internet. Owners of the machines can pick and choose which of the new songs to add to the cabinet.'"
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Activision Wants To Bring Guitar Hero To Arcades

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  • Already there (Score:3, Informative)

    by Haoie (1277294) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @11:52PM (#26070321) Homepage

    Look into the series GuitarFreaks, a Konami Bemani title. Popular in arcades in Asia, but can be found worldwide. The latest few titles also link with PercussionFreaks [also known as DrumMania]. GuitarFreaks doesn't have a home version though.

    Of course, when you compare songs between Freaks and Heroes, they're completely different. But the basic gameplay principle is the same.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Actually, I've seen Guitar Hero in one arcade I've been to not too long ago. It wasn't a real arcade version, (Just a 360 rigged with some timers hooked up to reset buttons and coin mechs) but it's still there. I've always wanted to try Guitar Freaks though. I saw it a really long time ago but the arcade I found that in has long since closed.

      Honestly, I'm not quite sure why they are bothering with an arcade version. Nowadays arcades are almost dead unless you're working over in Asia, and as you've said

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Cpt Redbeard (1403219)
        Some friends dragged me in to an arcade a few weeks back, and I can confidently say that at least one arcade in Sydney, Australia is booming. It stands to reason that there may be others. I think there is room for a Guitar Hero arcade version.
      • There's a beach resort I go to with an a few huge arcades. Walk families with kids past that thing all day long and it gets a lot of traffic.

        It's pretty hard to resist the urge to play if you're any good at all. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by somersault (912633)

        Just a 360 rigged with some timers hooked up to reset buttons and coin mechs

        It it a reputable establishment? That kind of thing sounds pretty illegal to me, unless they got Activision's permission.

        • Oh yeah, it's not quite as messy as it sounds. It actually have a pretty solid and professional look to it so I don't think they just whipped it up themselves. I've seen something similar though. This little... Frag Island kiosk or something. It was essentially a little arcade cabinet for 360 games. You put in some money, and it gives you X amount of minutes of play. I think they've gone out of business though, so maybe what they were doing was illegal too.

          Honestly I have no idea. Nice catch there. X

          • by Abreu (173023)

            There's a lot of people who do that in the third world... build a nice, professional-looking arcade cabinet around an XBox or a PS2

            Its a very illegal, but quite popular alternative to NeoGeo cabinets

            • The third world? ...Well I guess that makes sense that you would find it where I found it. I like to think of that place as the "Nightlife of the Amish." Strange location for such an awesome lasertag place.

    • by bugbeak (711163)
      GuitarFreaks doesn't have a home version though.

      Actually, there are home versions of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania. The first two mixes were released for the original PlayStation back in '99. The 3rd and 4th mixes were released together with DrumMania 2nd and 3rd respectively on the PS2, preceded by the first DrumMania. After a hiatus, Konami re-launched the home editions with V. (more info here [bemanistyle.com].

      As for songs, along the lines of Konami's other rhythm games and unlike Rock Band/Guitar Hero, a majority of
      • by CCFreak2K (930973)
        That pretty much goes for any Konami bemani game. Half are usually in-house as you say (anything by Naoki, for example), and the other half tend to be covers, although most if not all of the covers come from the Dancemania collection of albums (and there's a lot), and I'd say about 80% of THOSE in themselves are covers.
    • I would like to point out there are most definately home versions of both guitarfreaks and drummania. The home controllers are meh though. Unless you want to drop a couple hundred for the arcade style guitar or have a drum machine at around 1k (yamaha is the official ASC and is also used for the arcade cabinets.)

    • by Fozzyuw (950608)

      Sweet, now they can come out with "Guitar Hero Arcade" for the Wii, PS3, and 360! Oh wait...

  • What arcades??? Every one around here closed down years ago.

    • by jack2000 (1178961)
      There is a rather large arcade across twoblocks from here:) It's rather lively i must say.
  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @11:56PM (#26070371) Journal

    When I was growing up, I learned to play Street Fighter without the high-punch button. Why? Because every damn machine in the world has a broken high punch button.

    I don't see a thin plastic guitar boding any better.

    • by bugbeak (711163)
      If they follow Konami's example and build heavier, more durable controllers, breakdowns will be much less frequent.

      It's like comparing the plastic DDR pad you get in a home package with the 3-inch metal slabs at the arcades.
      • by retchdog (1319261)

        Half of the arcade machines I've used have at least one practically-useless arrow. I mean, it "works", but you have to stomp on the damned thing which of course ruins the game.

        I suspect that the working ones in fact break down just as often, and are (were) just maintained better... DDR at its peak must have been a big money-maker.

        • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @10:59AM (#26074843) Journal

          Maintaining a DDR dance pad is a time-consuming (but thankfully infrequent) thing. As dirt works its way into the mechanism, the dancer's actions pulverize it into a super fine dust that coats every surface of the device. It takes about 2 hours with a screwdriver and a shop vac to maintain the thing, but if it's done regularly problems almost never arise. I admit that I'm impressed with the robustness of the whole thing.

    • by Atario (673917)

      You'd be surprised. Arcades don't get nearly the traffic they did back then, and since everyone has plenty of gaming hardware firepower at home anyway, the only advantage arcade machines have left anymore is some input method so specialized or finicky that no one would be willing to buy one for their home machine even if it were available. Despite the fragile nature of some of these things, it doesn't seem to be too much trouble to keep them working.

      Kinda sad, really, says this old arcade rat.

      • yeah when i first read the story i thought "wow this would go over great at my local bar" then i realized that nothing ever gets fixed there.

        I, for one, miss the arcade.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      High punch? Sure you weren't thinking of Mortal Kombat? Street Fighter had 3 punch buttons: light, medium, and hard. MK had the "high" and "low" buttons.

    • When I was growing up, I learned to play Street Fighter without the high-punch button. Why? Because every damn machine in the world has a broken high punch button.

      The familiar Street Fighter six-button configuration was itself a design compromise made because of the abuse arcade cabinets suffer.

      The original release of Street Fighter 1 had two big pneumatic buttons, one for punch and one for kick, and the type of move executed would depend on the velocity with which the player mashed the button. Guess how l

  • by merreborn (853723) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @11:57PM (#26070375) Journal

    The game Guitar Hero was based on, GuitarFreaks [wikipedia.org] has been in arcades for 10 years now.

    It is pretty hard to find in American arcades, though. The only place I've seen it was in a Golf Land in San Jose -- but then again I haven't spent much time in arcades since childhood.

    At any rate, it is a bit surprising it took 'em so long to come around to building an arcade unit, given the success GuitarFreaks has had in Japan.

  • My original reaction to the headline was "Why? Doesn't everyone who cares own this?"

    But if the owners of the cabinet can download new songs... then Activision can get free advertising for new songs if people see/hear them in arcades at movie theaters and so forth.

    But for Activision, it's even better then free advertising: people will pay them to play it. Combined with the fact that the price to play a song will likely be far less then buying the song through DLC for the console versions, it is in that way

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by merreborn (853723)

      My original reaction to the headline was "Why? Doesn't everyone who cares own this?"

      No. A lot of people have no idea how much they'll enjoy it until they've tried it. And the start-up cost is high -- you've got to be willing to shell out at least $80 to get started. Right now, the only way for most semi-interested people to try the game out is to play with someone who already has a copy.

      You'd be amazed how viral these games are. Even my parents' generation (age 45-65), the most of them not really gamers

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There could be a lot of money to be made extending the "rock band" setup into a karaoke bar. I bet all-instrument karaoke would be wildly popular.
        • by Larryish (1215510)
          After reading your post, I don't know whether to laugh...

          or cry...

          Oh wow.
        • I brought the game to my reserve unit Christmas party... Nobody there, except for me and my wife, had played it before. Anyone who was on the fence about it is probably going end up getting it now. We would have ended up playing it all night, if we didn't have drill the next morning; and we would have played it at drill, if there wasn't a couple of stricter higher-ups.
        • by Nukenbar (215420)

          A number of bars in NYC already have Rock Band nights with the drums and the full set-up.

          Usually it is done in the middle of the week in a college bar that is otherwise pretty empty.

      • by Yeef (978352)

        No. A lot of people have no idea how much they'll enjoy it until they've tried it.

        Very, very true, but around here, though, most big box retailers have the demo setup for people to try for free. Additionally, it seems there are very few arcades these days in any place that isn't SoCal.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Have you ever been inside a Best Buy store? Despite the fact that I try to go there as little as possible, it's obvious to me that people love to go there and hog the demo machine for hours showcasing their 'mad skillz' in front of a random crowd. An arcade is the natural extrapolation of that.
  • You don't see many arcades around anymore but the hot spots now (AFAIK) are Family Entertainment Centers (i.e. Go-Carts, Put-Put-Golf, Water Parks). All FEC's have an inhouse repair technician because ALL peripheral devices (such as Guns, Rifles, etc...) get hammered on.... I don't see how the Guitar could possibly hold up... Can anyone say "Carbon Fiber"?
    • by j0nb0y (107699)

      The other successful arcade model is the Dave & Buster's [daveandbusters.com] model. Bar and arcade, cater to adults. Alcohol sales ftw. A friend of mine once called it the "barcade," which I always hoped would stick.

      • I don't know if I would trust any of their joysticks. If the bar gets really heavy use, I wouldn't be suprised if somebody's puked all over at least one or two of them, and I wouldn't want to do any quarter forward circles on those...

        • by j0nb0y (107699)

          While I'm certainly not an expert on bars, I have never seen anyone puke in a bar. That includes several Dave & Buster's, several other D&B type places, and several other non-arcade bars. That doesn't mean that no one ever pukes, but it's not the common occurrence that you are imagining. The vast majority of people who go to bars know their limit, at least to the extent that they aren't going to drink enough to make them puke.

          Also, if there is the occasional incident, I have never seen any eviden

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jackbird (721605)
            You, my friend, do not live anywhere near a college town.
            • Really the Dave and Buster's I went to near Ohio State University was nearly spotless
              • by Ogive17 (691899)
                It's not near enough to OSU campus for people to walk.. and D&Bs is a bit pricey to go and get trashed at anyway. I might have 1 beer when I go.. the rest of the money goes to playing games.

                Try the one near Cincy, I think it's better :)
  • south park did it (Score:3, Informative)

    by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @12:42AM (#26070765)
  • Hopefully Activision will pay their bill [gamasutra.com] from Harmonix before releasing anymore spin-offs of the Guitar Hero series.
  • by anlprb (130123) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @02:26AM (#26071447)

    You know, there are many ways to discuss the death of arcades; the speed of home consoles, the lack of socialization skill among the current generations, etc... I prefer to tell of the death of arcades in a more personal way.

    It was the summer of '69... or maybe it was more recent. Anyway, I wanted to play a game of Silent Scope. Now, unless you have been under an arcade rock, you know what this contraption is.

    It is the most wonderful piece of gaming which can never be replicated properly in a home console. You play as a sniper, taking out baddies at fairly long distances. The kick is the implementation of it. That is where the game really shines.

    The game gives you a replica of a generic sniper rifle. It has a scope on it, hence the name Silent Scope, inside this wonderful input device's scope is a second screen. On this second screen, you see a zoomed view of wherever you are pointing the rifle. This is about the closest I have come to seeing shooting replicated in an arcade.

    Needless to say, you keep one eye open to watch the large screen in front of you, while you use your other eye to peer through the scope to sight in on your target. The way you play is exactly like shooting a real rifle, except, instead of targets, you are shooting at 3d baddies.

    This machine ate gobs of quarters out of my pockets. I was grateful they were gone, it was a mutually beneficial arrangement. I got to play a game which I was addicted like a meth addict to, and the arcade got my money. I thought nothing could spoil my utopia.

    Then, one day, after a rousing game, coming off with the high of almost beating the game on hard, I was walking down the boardwalk. The sun was bright and the wind was blowing off the ocean. Something got caught in my nose.

    I went to wipe it off and got whiff of a horrid smell from somewhere. Now, this being the boardwalk, there are a ton of awful smells to go around. So, I went to scratch again, and realized it was coming from my hand. I took another whiff.

    Sure enough, someone stinkpalmed the darned Silent Scope rifle.

    I was shocked, horrified, felt a little violated. I ran to the nearest bathroom and washed off.

    To this day, I still can't bring myself to play that game of roulette. I just don't trust those dirty kids anymore.

    Too bad, I really loved Silent Scope. Maybe I will have to buy my own, so I don't have to worry about that. Maybe when I have enough money.

    That is my story of the last time I played an arcade game...

    I just can't imagine what the dirt balls would do with a guitar if they could do that to a Silent Scope rifle.

    • It is the most wonderful piece of gaming which can never be replicated properly in a home console. You play as a sniper, taking out baddies at fairly long distances. The kick is the implementation of it. That is where the game really shines.

      The game gives you a replica of a generic sniper rifle. It has a scope on it, hence the name Silent Scope, inside this wonderful input device's scope is a second screen. On this second screen, you see a zoomed view of wherever you are pointing the rifle. This is about the closest I have come to seeing shooting replicated in an arcade.

      Could it be approximated on something like a Nintendo DS, with the top screen showing the whole scene and the touch screen showing the zoomed-in view?

      • Could it be approximated on something like a Nintendo DS, with the top screen showing the whole scene and the touch screen showing the zoomed-in view?

        It wouldn't be the same. GP is spot on when he talks about how awesome this game is. It was one of the best ones I played on the arcades (together with House of the Dead 1, Dungeon & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, TMNT (the version for 4 people), Italian Football, Pong, Pacman, KoF 95, and a game I never remember the name where you played a car running from otehrs, trying to grab some fuel and flags on the maze, and burning fuel to release a cloud of dirty to stop them.

  • I've never seen one in 25 years of life. (minus the sort of stuff you see at places for little kids' birthday parties)
  • They should just let people plug in some form of memory card to load their own custom designed players. Neo Geo used to have card slots way back in the day. They could even let people bring controllers like some Tekken 5 machines I've seen. Though I guess you could make a custom cheat controller?
  • At large sponsored events like baseball games, I've seen a Guitar Hero 3 setup with two controllers and a PS3. There are plenty of crowds around it, but one of the guitars is invariably broken and unplayable. Microswitches do not have an infinite lifespan, especially if you are really thrashing on them - like, you know, a guitar.
    • by lwriemen (763666)

      Three buttons and a joystick mounted on the console. They've had this in arcades for years. >;->

  • That guitar would get destroyed in a week; just like other arcade controls are. That's one reason why arcades have declined so much in the States; the equipment can't handle the uncaring abuse of the average arcade-goer.
  • I went to some Arcade shops recently that had a mini-stage with Guitar Hero III playing. It was more expensive than most other games, but still great.

    The guitar were very heavy, clearly custom made for it with a case that was hard plastic covering what I think was wood, or made MDF. You could play 1 song for the price of one coin. I do think they hacked some ps2 with custom software to make it work correctly, but I do not know exactly.
  • by fzammett (255288) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:08PM (#26079997) Homepage

    I have zero problem with this idea, being a huge GH and RB fan. But, ARCADES?? Do they even still exist?

    I'm in my mid-30's, and I grew up in arcades... some of my favorites memories involve arcades. In fact, in my early 20's I was an arcade machine service tech, so I have a lot of experience in arcades.

    But, my kids barely know what an arcade is, and they certainly aren't begging me to take them to any. I can't imagine they are much different than most kids today who have all the games at home.

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