Guitar Hero Co-Inventors Tackle Fitness Using Games

July 29, 2013 -

Guitar Hero co-inventors Kai and Charles Huang are working on a new project through their new company Blue Goji that will make active gaming a lot more interesting. Blue Goji hopes to make exercising a regular habit for more people by using fun games to distract them while they work out. The startup, which was quietly founded in late 2011, will start talking about its plans this week, but AllThingsD has the first details on what the duo have been working on.

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Axl Rose's Guitar Hero Lawsuit Moving Forward, Judge Dismisses One Claim

August 16, 2012 -

A hearing was held on Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom for the Axl Rose Guitar Hero lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. The Guns N' Roses lead singer was featured in Guitar Hero III alongside band member Slash, which agitated Rose to no end. The court hearing delivered mixed results for Rose as he tried to move forward with his $20 million lawsuit against the publisher of the game.

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Axl Rose Sues Activision Blizzard Over 3-Year-Old Game

November 23, 2010 -

According to a story at Reuters, Axl Rose has today filed a $20 million lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.  It seems the Guns N’ Roses frontman only agreed to allow the inclusion of “Welcome to the Jungle” in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as long as there was no reference to former GNR guitarist Saul Hudson (better known as Slash) or his subsequent band Velvet Revolver.

Rose apparently doesn’t like him very much.

As it turns out, Slash was featured prominently on the game’s cover and three Velvet Revolver songs were released as DLC the week following the game’s release.  Rose says he knew about the cover art and VR songs but was told their inclusion was just for the purposes of a trade show.

The complaint states:

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No Doubt Wins a Few Skirmishes in War with ATVI

April 16, 2010 -

The latest round in the battle between Activision and the band No Doubt, which centers on the depiction of the group in Band Hero, has gone to the Gwen Stefani-fronted quartet.

No Doubt originally sued the publisher for turning them into a “virtual karaoke circus act,” because of the game’s ability to use the likenesses of rockers while performing the music of other groups. Activision, for its part, countersued, claiming breach of contract and unjust enrichment by the band.

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ASCAP Seeks Licensing Fee from Guitar Hero Arcade Operator

December 15, 2009 -

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is targeting at least one operator of a commercial Guitar Hero arcade unit over what it says are unpaid licensing fees associated with operating the game.

The operator in question posted on the Arcade-Museum forums (thanks TechDirt) that ASCAP is demanding an $800 a year license to operate the unit legally. The operator added that, while his place of business does have live musical acts, they are relegated to performing original (i.e. their own) songs in order to circumvent just such a need to pay a royalty fee.

While there might be some confusion on either or both sides if a consumer version of Guitar Hero was being used, it’s rather clear that in this case a commercial arcade unit is at the center of the story, as the site operator indicated he told the ASCAP representative to contact Raw Thrills, a purveyor of arcade units, including Guitar Hero.  Also, the ASCAP rep told the operator that she viewed the Guitar Hero unit as a jukebox of sorts.

ASCAP’s licensing FAQ contains the question “I'm interested in playing music in my restaurant or other business. I know that I need permission for live performances. Do I need permission if I am using only CD's, records, tapes, radio or TV?”

The answer posted on the site:

Yes, you will need permission to play records or tapes in your establishment. Permission for radio and television transmissions in your business is not needed if the performance is by means of public communication of TV or radio transmissions by eating, drinking, retail or certain other establishments of a certain size which use a limited number of speakers or TVs, and if the reception is not further transmitted (for example, from one room to another) from the place in which it is received, and there is no admission charge.

We have a request for clarification into ASCAP and will update this story if a response or statement is issued.

Update: AN ASCAP spokesperson told GP, "ASCAP is currently in negotiations with the manufacturer for the commercial use of these machines."

37 comments

No Doubt About It: Band Sues Activision

November 5, 2009 -

Hot on the heals of the release of Activision's Band Hero, the group No Doubt has filed suit against the game publisher for turning them into a "virtual karaoke circus act."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the suit alleges No Doubt's contract with Activision only allowed the band's likeness to be used in three of its own songs, but in reality the band can be made to sing up to 62 different songs through the game's Character Manipulation feature.

According to the band's manager:

“The band [members] are bitterly disappointed that their name and likeness was taken and used without their permission,” manager Jim Guerinot said today. “They agreed to play three No Doubt songs as a band.... Activision then went and put them in 62 other songs and broke the band up [and] never even asked.”

To which Activision replied:

“Activision believes it is within its legal rights with respect to the use and portrayal of the band members in the game and that this lawsuit is without merit.”

The LAT article quotes a lot of back and forth between the band's manager and Activision's official statement. It will be interesting to see how the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, will pan out.

This isn't the first time Activision's "Hero" franchise of music games has faced controversy. In September, Courtney Love complained of the use of Kurt Cobain's likeness in Guitar Hero 5. While Activision said it had approval from Love to use Cobain's likeness, she later said she never approved the avatar.

42 comments

Guitar Games Inspire Kids to Try the Real Thing, Says Instructor

May 11, 2009 -

While some critics maintain that there is very little connection between playing a real guitar and tapping out note combos on Rock Band or Guitar Hero, a Pennsylvania music instructor would disagree.

The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat interviewed guitar teacher Bo Moore, who claims to have seen a 35% increase in new students over the last two years:

A lot of kids have been getting into [guitar lessons] because of games, especially ‘Guitar Hero. Kids who might never have become interested in learning to play the guitar are now coming to us... The game is a completely different concept from playing a real guitar, but it does help with dexterity in their fingers.

Kids are coming to me wanting to learn to play, which is wonderful... It’s nice that bands like Foghat, the Steve Miller Band and the Rolling Stones are cool again. Kids come here focused and with a game plan.

For guitar players, it’s all about songs like ‘Smoke on the Water’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama...’ And what’s great about some of those power chords – the garage rock songs – is that they’re relatively easy to play. If that inspires a kid to pick up an instrument, I think it’s great.

27 comments

North Dakota's 1st Lady Plays Guitar Hero... Legislators Fail at DDR

February 6, 2009 -

Bismarck's KYFR-5 reports that North Dakota's First Lady Mikey Hoeven (sporting the big hair at left) has played a bit of Guitar Hero. And the wife of Gov. John Hoeven (R) isn't bad at Dance Dance Revolution, either.

News of Mrs. Hoeven's gaming chops leaked during an American Heart Association event at the State Capitol. KYFR reports that legislators who gave DDR a try didn't fare nearly as well as the First Lady:

Sen. Dwight Cook knows a thing or two about North Dakota politics, but there was one thing going on at the capitol today that was over his head.

"It's not easy, it`s not easy at all," Cook says.

The response most legislators had after testing out Dance, Dance Revolution... Unfortunately, legislators weren`t so enthused about the high-tech workout.

"Most of them, I think, are a little shy or shy away from it because of the technology, I think they`re afraid like `Oh is this going to move too fast for me?` And `I can`t do this,`" says [gym teacher Tammi] Doppler...

First Lady Mikey Hoeven was among the top scoring in the political sector. But she admits, she had the upper hand as the concept of the game isn`t new because she`s played Guitar Hero.

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Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
Andrew EisenNo one's crossed a line but I just want to remind you all to keep discussions civil.09/20/2014 - 1:54pm
Craig R.tldr: I'm a gamer, and imo those who support GamerGate should feel free to take a flying leap off a cliff.09/20/2014 - 1:27pm
Craig R.Not only that, I'm pretty sure that if actual studies were done, you'd still deny them, Sleaker. After all, it's not what you'd want to hear to support your rose-colored view of GamerGate.09/20/2014 - 1:18pm
Craig R.There IS an issue. Nor do we need a study to show that if you deny it then you're part of the problem.09/20/2014 - 1:17pm
Sleakersimply oust people that do harass others.09/20/2014 - 11:34am
Sleaker@Conster - I can say the same thing if you think there's been more than a handful. Until there's an actual study on rates no one can claim to know how widespread the incidence of harassment is. Thus the best we can do is 'there might be an issue' and...09/20/2014 - 11:33am
ConsterSleaker: if you think there's only been "a handful of" incidents, you have your head stuck *somewhere* - I'm assuming it's sand.09/20/2014 - 5:38am
prh99Most of it's agitprop clickbait anyway.09/20/2014 - 5:27am
 

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