Category Archives: Rhythm Action

#64: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Format: Xbox 360 Genre: Rhythm Action Released: 2007 Developer: Neversoft

I had a very embarrassing moment a few months ago. My girlfriend came home unexpectedly and caught me stood on top of the sofa, throwing rock poses and windmilling my ‘rock arm’ like there was no tomorrow as I powered through ‘Paranoid’ by Black Sabbath. Perhaps this would have been acceptable if I was playing a real guitar, but it’s definitely not cool if you’re playing a tiny plastic guitar with big multicoloured buttons. And if you’re wearing slippers.

Guitar Hero 3 box art Xbox 360

But hey, where’s the harm in indulging your rock fantasies every once in a while? Sure, a tiny part of your brain is telling you that you’re not really playing a face-melting solo to an audience of thousands, but a much larger, fun-loving part of your brain is screaming “OH MY GOD THIS IS AWESOME, YOU ROCK!!!” The same part of your brain might also prompt you stick out your tongue and waggle it like Gene Simmons or attempt to stage dive from the sofa.

All good clean fun I reckon – as long as no-one else is watching that is.

No prizes for guessing who this character is based on.

I’ve always preferred the Guitar Hero games to the Rock Band ones, probably because Rock Band takes itself a little too seriously in my opinion. As far as I’m concerned, the more ridiculous and over the top the Guitar Hero games get, the more I like them. Do I want to play as the Grim Reaper? Hell yeah! Do I want stage sets featuring fire-breathing dragons? You betcha! Do I want to go head to head with the devil in a guitar-solo battle for my very soul? Bring it on, Grandma!

Ahem, sorry, I seem to have come over a bit ‘gung-ho’ there all of a sudden… must be thinking about all this rock that’s doing it. I need a lie down and a cup of Earl Grey…

Judy 'Nine Inch' Nails.

[Sound of cup being replaced in saucer] OK I’m back. Now what was I saying? [Riffles through the index cards of memory while tapping a finger to his temple.] Lars Umlaut! That’s it! That’s what I wanted to talk about!

I’ll explain. There are a number of reasons why Guitar Hero III is considered the best in the series by many. One is the fantastic selection of tunes – one of the strongest line-ups across all five Guitar Hero games. Another is the excellent career mode, which gives you a real feeling of progression (something that was distinctly lacking in Guitar Hero: World Tour). But the thing that stands out for me is that Lars Umlaut is still defiantly fat.

Lars Umlaut - still defiantly fat.

For some reason, the designers stripped Lars of his belly in World Tour – something tantamount to criminal damage in my opinion. Where would rock be without fat guitarists? I mean, everyone loves a fat guitarist – almost as much as they love a fat drummer. Yet there’s poor old Lars in World Tour, shorn of his gut and pumped up with ridiculous arm muscles like some sort of Kiss He-Man. Where’s the justice? And to top it all, you can’t even make fat characters in World Tour. When did games get sizeist? There I was trying to create the ultimate custom drummer – Fat Phil – and the fattest I could make him was a little bit short of what I’d call ‘stocky’. Tch. I ask you, what is the world coming to?


(Screenshots from

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Filed under 2007, Neversoft, Rhythm Action, Xbox 360

Podcast 3: The Beatles: Rock Band (#45)

Format: Xbox 360 Genre: Rhythm Action Released: 2009 Developer: Harmonix

[The scene – Abbey Road Studios, June 1962…]

Paul: Mr Martin, Mr Martin, we’ve got a great idea for our band.

George: Yeah Mr Martin, its well gear.

George Martin: Now what’s all this about boys?

Pete: Well Mr Martin, The Beatles, the band I’m part of and, I guess, will always be part of, think it would be fab if there was some kind of game that allowed people to pretend to be us. They could sing our songs and play with pretend instruments and everything! Not that I would need to play it being, as I am, part of the Beatles. Ringo would like it though…

George Martin: Hmmmm, surely guitar based games are on their way out?

John: Of course not. Everyone wants to be part of a band, and the Beatles are going to be bigger than Jesus. And such a statement will just make us even more popular!

Paul: And maybe in 48 years or so two men will sit around and talk about the game and us, while stumbling over their words, trying not to laugh at their own jokes, and rambling about other stuff as well.

George Martin: Maybe you’re right boys. Though lets not do it now, do it in about 47 years or so. We’ve still got to record your first album.

George: And I want to learn how to play the sitar first.

Pete: Well I can wait that long. I mean, it’s not like I’m going anywhere!


Here’s the 3rd 101 Video Games podcast and, of course, it’s about The Beatles Rock Band. Listen as we talk about the Beatles, hymns, Lewis’ cousin Jake and whether John would have approved. Only 17 minutes this time, promise. And we don’t laugh at our own jokes as much:

Click above to listen directly through this site or click below to listen/download in your media player of choice:

Podcast 3 The Beatles Rock Band

Click below to see the very cool intro:

(You may have to skip through the E3 intro and bat away the pop-up ad – sorry, best vid we could find!)

Lewis and Ian

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Filed under 2009, Harmonix, Podcast, Rhythm Action, Xbox 360