Guitars & Gaming – on sale now

I was really slammed with deadlines and special projects a few weeks ago, and now the source of those deadlines is on newsstands.

The folks at Guitar World approached me to ask if I’d be interested in working on a special issue for newsstands that brought together the current trend in guitar-based gaming with the real deal. I’d write the game stuff, they’d take care of the real guitar stuff. I couldn’t say no!

I would up writing a lot for it: The history of the Guitar Hero & Rock Band franchises, interviews with most of the session guitarists who created all the cover tracks for GH and RB, a visit to and feature on WaveGroup, the Fremont studio where it all happens, a look at the guitar games that came before GH, a gear section that covers both camps, all the cheat codes for all the games, and fresh previews of both Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour. All that original content is in addition to a few bits we picked up from OXM, including my guitar lessons on how to play fake guitar better, a strategy guide on how to beat Lou in GHIII (which only ran in another newsstand special, amusingly enough), and a feature on how Harmonix takes a master track and turns it into a playable song in the games.

Guitar World then piled on interviews with Slash, Joe Perry, and Marcus Henderson, plus some excellent info for newbies who want to buy their first real guitar and don’t know where to start.

It’s a lot of stuff for $6.

I am really proud of the WaveGroup feature and the session guitarist interviews, as well as one tiny little thing that nobody will notice. I didn’t just cut and paste the codes for all the games; I tried them all out and took fresh screenshots. And as I was doing that, I found that one of the GHII codes for 360 — “guitarist’s head on fire” — was incorrect in all the lists on the internet; since most of those sites just cannibalize from each other (or at least the users do), the false information spread to everywhere. I figured out the real code all by myself (the button combination was different) and put it in the magazine. I shared it with GamesRadar, so they’re the only site that has it right on the whole internets. Of course, the cheeky bastards had to poke fun anyway.

So what I’m saying is, please go buy this thing when you see it on the newsstand. Thank you.

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