Activision has beer, and they're not afraid to use it. By the time I showed up for my hands on with Activision's Guitar Hero: World Tour yesterday afternoon I had already accidentally downed one beer, having mistaken a bottle with a grapefruit on front of it as fruit juice, instead of the grapefruit-flavoured beer that was actually hiding within the bottle. Sneaky beer. Then another was shared with Neversoft's project director Brian Bright upon arriving at Activision's booth for my appointment, which disappeared mysteriously without me remembering having imbibed it. Having an unnaturally low tolerance to alcohol for a man my size I was relatively tipsy by the time I got in to actually play the game, which should explain why I agreed to sing "Spiderwebs" by No Doubt.
I was a bit nervous at first, but glancing down during a vocal rest in the song I noticed a newly opened beer next to the mic controller. It was a ninja beer-delivery action, but I found it truly helped me unleash my inner Gwen Stefani.
The track listing on the build they were showing was relatively limited, but the group I was with managed to find a few favourites. We followed up "Spiderwebs" with an uneven rendition of the "What I've Done" by Linkin Park from the Transformers soundtrack, which in turn had me asking about the ultimate Transformer's song, "You've Got The Touch" from the original animated film.
"We're working on it", answered one of the reps, who had been on vocals when I came in.
Bastard, raising my hopes and crushing my dreams.
I sang those two songs and played guitar on another six more, including Michael Jackson's "Beat It", which I had forgotten contained one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. Luckily I was wimping out on medium and therefor handled it readily.
As for the experience itself, we might as well have been playing Rock Band, except for a few minor differences and one major one - Guitar Hero's guitar and drum notes feel more natural. They make more sense from a musical standpoint, and while I didn't play the drums myself for fear of exposing my newfound lack of rhythm, watching to Neversoft guy take on a song on expert difficulty looked as if he were really playing the drums. I almost felt like I could play along myself, but that could have simply been the beer.
Incidentally I spoke with the friendly Activision PR people today, who offered to let me come and play the game more sober. Then they offered me another beer.