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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PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/special-report-retail-revolt-over-pc-code-strippers/013614007/31/2014 - 8:27am
ZippyDSMleeWouldn't they be able to afford and get done in a timely manner a general gba emluator for the 3DS? It seems to me if they want to make money off sales they need to do it.07/31/2014 - 7:25am
Sora-ChanAmbassador program, that's what I was looking for. Anyway the other games that have been made no longer exclusive to the early adopters got updates in their software. It'll only be a matter of time more than likely for the GBA to get the same treatment.07/31/2014 - 5:35am
Sora-ChanI might be naming it incorrectly when I say "founder" i mean the program for earlier adopters.07/31/2014 - 5:34am
Sora-Chanthe 3DS's GBA emulator was a rush job due to the founder program. No other GBA titles have been released on the 3DS yet. If/When they do get around to it, they'll more than likely update the emulation software.07/31/2014 - 5:32am
Zenemulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
ZenMatthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOnce again, the 3DS already HAS a GBA emulator, it just can't run at the same time as the 3DS OS.07/30/2014 - 4:54pm
Matthew Wilsonyou cant street pass in ds mode ether, and if moders can make a gba emulator that runs very well on the psp as I understand it. you are telling me that Nintendo devs are not as good as moders?07/30/2014 - 4:49pm
Zenperformance. Halo 1 and 2 worked great because they actually did custom work on each of them...just like Nintendo does now lol07/30/2014 - 4:08pm
Zenexisting hardware while the GBA has to be emulated completely. Same reason the 360 couldn't run most Original Xbox games correctly, or had issues because they just did "blanket approach" for their emulation which led to game killing bugs or horrible07/30/2014 - 4:07pm
ZenSora/Matthew: It's not just Miiverse, but the whole idea of streetpass and things like that would be affected if the OS is not running. And just because a 3DS game can be downloaded and run does not mean that GBA can as easily. Those 3DS games use the07/30/2014 - 4:06pm
 

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