There's a point at which every fad overstays its welcome. Could it be that Guitar Hero is already just a sour note from being booed out of America's living room?
For evidence, look no further than the plethora of GH cash-in products hawked at this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the annual parade of cutting-edge stuff that nobody really needs. From knockoff guitars (think "Shredmaster!" — or don't) to customized controllers that substitute phony guitar playing with phony record scratching, all that's missing is Guitar Hero-brand cereal.
Following are some of the countless GH products displayed at CES, each of them a compelling sign that this Hero is ready for a fall. Watch for them soon at a Buy More chain near you:
Guitar Hero gadgetry
Guitar Hero "Air Guitar Rocker"
(Jada Toys, $30)
In a soul-crushing new video making the internet rounds, a grown man in a fright wig is seen demonstrating the officially licensed "Air Guitar Rocker" for a cluster of embarrassed reporters. It works like this: You wave a special guitar pick in front of a chintzy motion-sensor belt buckle, causing a tiny amplifier (strapped to your side) to play one of five metal songs in time with your air-guitar movements. It's perfect for those who find Guitar Hero itself not quite phony enough. "And we're gonna have an expansion pack . . . and a belt buckle that is genre-specific," says the stone-faced pitchman. Not included: a shower in which to sit and cry alone.
Art Guitar's AG RiffMaster
How far would you go to feel like a rock star, without devoting a single second to the craft of songwriting? For a mere $399, you too can be the proud owner of a real guitar that has been gutted, custom-painted with Kiss logos, and Frankensteined into a Guitar Hero controller. But wait, there's more: For the everyday low price of $1,999, you get one ex-guitar and a former Peavey amp that holds your choice of a PlayStation or Xbox (not included). Complete the look by hollowing out your own body and stuffing it with cream cheese.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
XFPS Mini Guitar (Farmer, $69)
Experts agree: There's no better time to learn fake guitar than at a young age. So it's a shame that Guitar Hero's controllers are way too big for the little ones' sausage-like fingers. But now there's the infant-sized XFPS Mini Guitar, an instrument so impossibly tiny it was test-marketed on hamsters. It can be yours for just $69, plus an additional $70 for an Xbox adapter. Consider it seed money for paving your child's path to a lifetime of cheap and easy shortcuts.
SoundTech Ediface Digital Guitar Interface (SoundTech, $299)
Revolutionary in that its primary use is for creating actual music on a computer, this device comes packaged with a nifty plug-and-play game that teaches guitar. Of course, the DGI has drawn attention not for this feature, but because it's 100 percent Guitar Hero compatible. That's right, kids: At last you can convert your old-school guitar notes into genuine fake ones that dance across your TV screen. Don't say those years of costly lessons didn't come in handy!