How have I not heard of this until now?! It seems Guitarbots has been online for a while but it took a link to a video of Mika Tyyska playing along to his track ‘Awaki Waki’ for me to jump on to the site and give it a go myself.
If you have played Guitar Hero you will immediately understand how this game works, even if you haven’t it is very simple, you play the notes on the animated TAB in time and get scored on accuracy of notes and timing. The challenges begin with very simple open string tracks with very easy rhythms and progress to harder tracks using single notes, double notes, chords etc. and more complex rhythms. Don’t worry, there is plenty to get through before you are faced with Mr Fastfinger tracks!
So how does it work and how well? The first thing you need to do is to tune your guitar using the online tuner to make sure the software can analyse your guitar accurately. I tried first using a room mic and had no luck but when I switched to my mic’d cabinet it worked perfectly. You should be able to use a software amp such as Amplitube too as the app allows you to set which input to use for the game which would be even more accurate I imagine. The other thing I should mention is that the game uses the Unity 3D plugin which you are prompted to install so this won’t work on an iPad. Once tuned up you are ready to go. With a free account you are limited to 5 minutes play per day but the first time you play it lets you recharge a couple of times to get the feel of the game.
I have to say it is really fun and after the 2nd day I was gutted that I only had 5 minutes and really want to get to the Mr Fastfinger tracks so I am going to sign up for a monthly subscription for $9.99/month. I think this will encourage me to actually play more and the increasing difficulty will challenge me and improve my speed, accuracy and timing. For beginners I can see that you would rapidly progress using this as a teaching aid, each challenge allows you to use practice mode as much as you like until you are confident enough to play and have your score counted.
This is exactly the kind of thing I hoped would be developed when the original Guitar Hero came out, I didn’t expect that it would be a web based game and yet so accurate. This is one addictive and fun game for guitarists and the bonus is that it will improve playing as well as give you bragging rights as you share your achievements across the social networks.