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A guitar controller is a video game controller designed to simulate the playing of the guitar, a string musical instrument. Guitar controllers are often used for music games such as UmJammer Lammy: NOW! , GuitarFreaks , Guitar Hero , and the Rock Band series. The controllers are played by holding down a colored fret button that matches a colored, on-screen note, while pressing the strum bar as the note passes through the target. The controllers also feature a whammy bar, which is used to bend notes and collect each game's equivalent of bonus energy. Different games and models of controllers have introduced additional features, such as effects switches, additional fret buttons, and fret touch pads. The fret buttons are colored usually in the order of (from lowest to highest pitch) green, red, yellow, blue, and orange.
A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.
A game controller is a device used with games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object or character in the game. Before the seventh generation of video game consoles, plugging in a controller into one of a console's controller ports were the primary means of using a game controller, although since then they have been replaced by wireless controllers, which do not require controller ports on the console but are battery-powered. USB game controllers could also be connected to a computer with a USB port. Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mouses, gamepads, joysticks, etc. Special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games, are also game controllers.
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.
The guitar design for Guitar Hero Live does not use the five colored frets, instead using two rows (one black and one white) with three buttons each.
Guitar Hero Live is a music video game developed by FreeStyleGames and published by Activision. It was released for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One in October 2015 and to iOS devices including Apple TV in November 2015. As with previous games in the series, the goal is to use a special guitar controller to match fret patterns displayed on a scrolling note pattern on screen in time with the music.
A guitar controller is almost always an adaption of existing controller technologies for a given console—all features of the guitar are implemented using features found on a standard game controller. Generally speaking, the following apply:
The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information announced later that month at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii competed with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others. As of the first quarter of 2016, the Wii led its generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales, with more than 101 million units sold; in December 2009, the console broke the sales record for a single month in the United States.
The Wii Remote, also known colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary controller for Nintendo's Wii console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via gesture recognition and pointing, using accelerometer and optical sensor technology. It is expandable by adding attachments. The attachment bundled with the Wii console is the Nunchuk, which complements the Wii Remote by providing functions similar to those in gamepad controllers. Some other attachments include the Classic Controller, Wii Zapper, and the Wii Wheel, originally used for the Mario Kart Wii racing video game.
Other, vendor-specific features can be implemented using standard controls, or combinations of them- for example, the solo bar on a Rock band guitar controller is implemented using the same controller buttons as the main fret buttons, plus an additional modifier key, whereas the Slide Bar from recent versions of Guitar Hero is simply another axis.
The "tilt" function is also usually mapped to an axis.
The Harmonix Guitar Hero Guitar Controller was a 3/4 scale replica of a Gibson SG. The controller has 5 buttons under the turning pegs, on the neck of the guitar. These buttons are as follows: green, red, yellow, blue, and orange. Then, at the bottom of the guitar are as follows: Start, Select, Back button, a Whammy Bar, and a Strum bar.
Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., doing business as Harmonix, is an American video game development company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, best known for its music video games.
The Gibson SG is a solid-body electric guitar model that was introduced in 1961 by Gibson, and remains in production today with many variations on the initial design available. The SG Standard is Gibson's best-selling model of all time.
The Harmonix Guitar Hero 2 Guitar Controller has two different variations. The first being for the PlayStation 2 which has the same layout as the previous model, but the guitar’s design is different. This guitar was based off a red Gibson SG.
Guitar Hero II is a music rhythm game developed by Harmonix, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It is the second installment in the Guitar Hero series and is the sequel to Guitar Hero. It was first released for the PlayStation 2 in November 2006, and then for the Xbox 360 in April 2007, with additional content not originally in the PlayStation 2 version.
Guitar Hero II was also released for Xbox 360 and had a separate design and layout. The design of the guitar resembles a Gibson X-Plorer with a layout of the head having the default 5 fret buttons, a Strum bar, and a Whammy Bar, but now a button with the Xbox 360 Guide with 4 lights surrounding it (which represents which player your controller is), a D-Pad, a Back button, and a Start button.
The Gibson Explorer is a type of electric guitar that made its debut in 1958. The Explorer offered a radical, "futuristic" body design, much like its siblings: the Flying V, which was released the same year, and the Moderne, which was designed in 1957 but not released until 1982. The Explorer was the final development of a prototype design that, years later, Gibson marketed under the name Futura.
A D-pad is a flat, usually thumb-operated four-way directional control with one button on each point, found on nearly all modern video game console gamepads, game controllers, on the remote control units of some television and DVD players, and smart phones. Like early video game joysticks, the vast majority of D-pads are digital; in other words, only the directions provided on the D-pad buttons can be used, with no intermediate values. However, combinations of two directions do provide diagonals and many modern D-pads can be used to provide eight-directional input if appropriate.
Guitar Hero III had 3 different types of guitars. 1 of them having 3 color designs. The first guitar was for the PlayStation 2. It resembled Gibson’s Kramer model and had the same layout as its predecessor.
The guitar for Windows and Mac OS X was the same guitar that came with the Xbox 360’s version of Guitar Hero II.
The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii all had the same design, that resembled a Gibson Les Paul. The difference between the three was the color. The Wii came with a white body and a black head. The Wii’s controller, unlike the other models, had a cut out for the Wii remote and would use the remote as it’s D-Pad, Start, Back, and Guide button.Although it still had a start and back button built into it. The Xbox 360’s controller had the same layout as its predecessor, but the design was a black Gibson Les Paul. The PlayStation 3’s controller had the same layout as the Xbox 360, but it was a slightly lighter black.
The Guitar for Guitar Hero World Tour was a new design that was the same across all consoles, expect Wii which had a cut out for the Wii Remote. The new guitar though had some new features and improvements. First off, the guitar was 25% larger, making it closer to the size of a real guitar. Secondly, the guitar now has a longer whammy bar and a new Star Power button. Third, under the standard fret buttons, a touchpad was implemented under the fret buttons letting players execute notes via tapping or also known as tap strumming. Connectivity issues were resolved. The design of the guitar was an original design created by the developers of Guitar Hero, but they took ideas from the Fender Stratocaster.
The Guitar for Guitar Hero 5 was an adaptation of the Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar. The only changes to this one was a rubberized strum bar, the nuts on the head of the guitar were replaced with chrome instead of the plastic design, and the “Solo section” of the neck had a different mold and was converted from its analog design to digital.
The guitar for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock was developed by Neversoft, the developers of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. It was a huge redesign for the series as it looked like an ax rather than the classic design of electric guitars. The “Solo section” on the guitar was removed. The d-pad and guide button were merged into one.
The guitar for Rock Band is used for the lead guitar and bass gameplay. The guitar resembles a Fender Stratocaster It is similar to the guitars from Guitar Hero as it pertains fret on the neck, a strum bar, and a whammy bar. Unlike its adversary, Guitar Hero, there were fret buttons at the bottom of the neck for tapping (A technique where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion).
The guitar for Rock Band 2 is nearly identical to its predecessor except for the fact that the coloring of the new guitar had a sunburst paint job. Minor improvements to the fret buttons (which made them quieter) and durability improvements to the strum bar. The Rock Band 2 guitar is backward compatible with Rock Band.
Rock Band 3 was the beginning of merging professional instruments and the classic guitar design for rhythm games. Harmonix developed a pro-styled guitar, a guitar bass, and Premium/Limited Edition replica 5-button fret guitars. As well as an improved version of their Stratocaster guitar.
The Pro-style guitar came in two different colors, black and red, and resembled a Fender Mustang. Instead of the original 5 fret button and strum bar setup that the previous models had. The Pro-style guitar would have 6 rows and 17 different frets, totaling in 102 buttons, and a string box, which had 6 stainless steel strings. The player would have to play this guitar as if it was a real one, requiring them to press a button and strum the correct string at the same time.
The bass guitar which was designed like a normal bass guitar, with a legacy design of having 5 fret buttons and a strum bar, had 2 strum bars since many bass guitar players would play with two fingers when they strum. Also, there is no whammy bar since bass players don’t use a whammy. The bass guitar would also be offered in 3 different colors. Those being a seafoam green, candy apple red, and white.
The Premium/Limited Edition guitars would still resemble a Fender Stratocaster, but would not be a scale replica of it with a Wooden design and the original design as well. The guitars also got a durability improvement to the fret buttons and strum bar.
As stated by Harmonix, they did not want to “reinvent the wheel”. The guitar for Rock Band 4 would still be the same original Fender Stratocaster design, but with improvements to the fret buttons and strum bar.
In 2016, Harmonix switched their hardware developers and since Harmonix was coming out with a new DLC for Rock Band 4, rivals, they made a new guitar controller. This one would resemble a Fender Jaguar. It also featured an optional rechargeable battery pack as well as a charging stand.
The Beatles: Rock Band would have the same layout as the guitar from Rock Band 2, but the design is different. Harmonix had developed three different guitars. Each console had the guitars. One of the guitars would resemble a Rickenbacker 325. Another would resemble a Gretsch Duo Jet. The last one would resemble a Höfner Bass.
Numerous attempts have been made to adapt Guitar Controllers for use as legitimate musical instruments. These attempts range from simple solutions that output a single note or sound for each button on the controller, to more complicated applications, such as MIDItar Hero and Armchair Guitarist that attempt to fully adapt the controller to use as an instrument, with a wide range of notes and playing styles.
Guitar controllers are not just used for playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Video game streamer, Benjamin "Bearzly" Gwin, used a Rock Band guitar to complete Dark Souls. Gwin stated on his Reddit Post "This was done on PC using x360ce to remap the guitar controller" and a picture was posted of how he converted his controls.
Guitar Hero is a music rhythm video game developed by Harmonix and published by RedOctane for the PlayStation 2 video game console. It is the first entry in the Guitar Hero series. Guitar Hero was released on November 8, 2005 in North America, April 7, 2006 in Europe and June 15, 2006 in Australia. The game's development was a result of collaboration between RedOctane and Harmonix to bring a Guitar Freaks-like game to America.
Frets on Fire (FoF) is a free, open-source Finnish music video game created by Unreal Voodoo. Players use the keyboard to play along with markers which appear on screen, with the aim to score points, achieve a high point multiplier, and complete a song. Frets on Fire was the winner of the Assembly 2006 game development competition.
A guitar synthesizer is any one of a number of musical instrument systems that allow a guitarist to access synthesizer capabilities.
Rock Band is a music video game developed by Harmonix, published by MTV Games and distributed by Electronic Arts. It is the first title in the Rock Band series. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions were released in North America on November 20, 2007, while the PlayStation 2 version was released on December 18, 2007 and the Wii version on June 22, 2008. Harmonix previously developed the first two games in the Guitar Hero series, which popularized gameplay of rock music with guitar-shaped controllers. After development of the series was shifted to Neversoft, Harmonix conceived Rock Band as a new title that would offer multi-instrument gameplay.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is a music rhythm game, the third main installment in the Guitar Hero series, and the fourth title overall. The game was published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It is the first game in the series to be developed by Neversoft after Activision's acquisition of RedOctane and MTV Games' purchase of Harmonix, the previous development studio for the series. The game was released worldwide for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 in October 2007, with Budcat Creations assisting Neversoft on developing the PlayStation 2 port and Vicarious Visions solely developing on the Wii port respectively. Aspyr Media published the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X versions of the game, releasing them later in 2007.
Guitar Hero World Tour is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It is the fourth main entry in the Guitar Hero series, the sixth on home consoles and the seventh overall. The game was launched in North America in October 2008 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles, and a month later for Europe and Australia. A version of World Tour for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh was later released.
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It was released on the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 consoles, with Budcat Creations solely developing the PlayStation 2 port, Vicarious Visions solely developing the Wii port, and Aspyr Media solely publishing the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X ports. The game was released on June 26, 2008 in Europe, on June 29, 2008 in North America, August 6, 2008 in Australia and October 9, 2008 in Japan. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith sold as both a bundle with a specially designed guitar controller as well as a game-only package.
The Nyko Frontman is a guitar controller produced by Nyko for several game systems to be used with the video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Depending on the version, its appearance is very similar to the Fender Telecaster (Wii) or the Gibson Explorer (PS2/PS3).
Rock Revolution is a music video game developed by Zoë Mode and HB Studios and published by Konami. It was revealed on May 15, 2008, and released on October 15, 2008 for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360. As with similar titles, the game uses various controllers to simulate the performance of rock music, primarily using guitar and drum controllers on its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.
Rock Band 2 is a 2008 music video game developed by Harmonix. It is the sequel to Rock Band and is the second title in the series. The game allows up to four players to simulate the performance of popular songs by playing with controllers modeled after musical instruments. Players can play the lead guitar, bass guitar, and drums parts to songs with "instrument controllers", as well as sing through a USB microphone. Players are scored on their ability to match scrolling musical "notes" while playing instruments, or by their ability to match the singer's pitch on vocals.
Rock Band is a series of music video games developed by Harmonix and MTV Games, and distributed by Electronic Arts for the Nintendo DS, iOS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PSP, Wii, Xbox One and Xbox 360 game systems. The series, inspired by Harmonix's previous efforts on the Guitar Hero series, allows up to four players to simulate the performance of popular rock music songs by playing with controllers modeled after musical instruments. Players can play the lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and drums parts to songs, as well as sing into a USB microphone. Players are scored on their ability to match scrolling musical notes while playing instruments, and by their ability to match the singer's pitch on vocals.
Publishers Activision and RedOctane released the RedOctane X-Plorer Controller bundled with Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360, some bundles of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, or available separately. This same controller was also bundled with Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for the personal computer (PC) and Macintosh. The Xbox 360 controller works with the PC using a driver with Windows. The case for the game disc and manual of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for the PC called the controller the Guitar Hero 3 Official PC Guitar Controller.
Miditar hero is a program made in Max/MSP to allow a Guitar controller to be used as a midi controller. Miditar hero is compatible with Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X.
Rock Band 3 is a 2010 music video game developed by Harmonix. The game was initially published and distributed by MTV Games and Electronic Arts, respectively, in late October 2010. Mad Catz took over both roles and re-released the title on November 23, 2011. It is the third main game in the Rock Band series. As with the previous titles, Rock Band 3 allows players to simulate the playing of rock music and many other subgenres using special instrument controllers mimicking lead and bass guitar, keyboard, drums, and vocals. Rock Band 3 expands upon previous games by including three-part vocal harmonies — previously used in The Beatles: Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band — plus support for MIDI-compatible keyboards, electronic drumkits, and even use of a real guitar in "Pro" mode.
Rock of the Dead is a music video game. It was developed by Epicenter Studios and distributed by Conspiracy Entertainment and UFO Interactive Games. The game was released on October 19, 2010 on PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a music video game developed by Neversoft and published by Activision. It was the sixth main entry in the Guitar Hero series and fifteenth overall, and was released in September 2010 for PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. Similar to previous entries in the franchise, it is geared towards playing in a four-person band experience, including lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals. The game is available as a standalone title, allowing players to use existing compatible instrument controllers, and as a bundle that provides these controllers.
Rhythm game accessories are often required to play rhythm games available for various consoles, such as the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. These include dance pads, guitar controllers, drum controllers, microphones and turntable controllers. With the exception of microphones, these controllers can generally be used to control any game, but have limited inputs, making them impractical for most games.
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