On Saturday, October 25th, Amoeba sponsored an event coinciding with the drop of the new version of Guitar Hero, entitled Guitar Hero: World Tour. As you may or may not have heard, Amoeba is featured in the game as a playable level which is unlocked as you play through the "Tour" career mode of the game. So naturally, to celebrate the release of Amoeba's first venture into the video game world, the folks of Amoeba Berkeley had a wee soiree down the street at Blake's On Telegraph. The event was held on the top two floors of the three floor bar, where patrons could not only be the first ones to purchase the new game, but could also demo a single guitar version for Xbox 360, or the full Rock Band version on the PS3.
This is the first time that a Guitar Hero title has been sold with the full Rock Band set up, including an updated guitar (now 25% bigger and with a sunburst finish), an updated drum set (similar to the Rock Band 2 drum set with 3 drum pads and 2 "cymbal" fan pads to better recreate the feel of a real drum kit), and my personal favorite, the microphone. Unfortunately for yours truly, my voice had been rendered useless by a cold, so I could not belt "Living On A Prayer" at the top of my lungs.
The set up of the event was pretty neat, with DJ Vinnie Esparza spinning a great mix of tunes varying from Latin soul breaks, to artists you would assume would be played at a Guitar Hero event: Sabbath, Maiden, Slayer, etc. Before entering the event I had wondered how we could have a DJ and multiple versions of the mainly musical game all going at the same time. Upon arriving, however, I saw that the game stations were equipped with nice headphones for each person, so they could hear the rock, while not interrupting the bar's other alcoholics.
I waited patiently by the side of the full Rock Band version of World Tour upstairs, talking with coworkers, watching people take their shot at the new game, and getting up my courage to take a shot at the game myself. Most folks barely got through a complete song, seeming like it was their very first time playing, and then HE put on the guitar. I swear to you this guy had probably been playing GH since it first came out, and he was awesome! Donning a Hawaiian shirt and glasses, this early-twenties maven blew the staff away in his button clicking skills. This guy was the reason we were having this event. This guy was Guitar Hero's poster boy. This guy doesn't play the actual guitar, he plays the Guitar Hero guitar, and plays it well.
After my confidence was thoroughly shot, I went downstairs for a drink and to check in with the folks at the Amoeba table. They were selling copies of each version of the game for all the different platforms (which are on sale at all Amoebas through the holidays), as well as giving people a chance to spin the Amoeba Prize Wheel! The wheel had Amoeba gift certificates, coupons, t-shirts, stickers, East Bay Express pint glasses, and gift certificates to local businesses like the Down At Lulu's Hair Salon.
Emily and Grace (the fine young ladies at the prize table) convinced me to go back upstairs and try the game out. As I climbed the stairs, I saw my competition leave and I was thoroughly relieved. I first tried out the guitar, playing "The Eye Of The Tiger," which was pretty fun. I have played previous versions of Guitar Hero, but would hardly call myself a master. So I did just fine on medium, only because I knew that song so well (how could you not?!?).
Next I tried out the drums, my first experience ever with the drum console. I had heard from friends that if you actually play drums or are a generally rhythmic person (I would put myself in the latter), that you should play the drum levels no lower than medium. Since my friend and I decided to try out Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell," another song I am VERY familiar with, I decided to try it on hard, just for kicks. Unbelievably, I got a 96% on the level and really enjoyed myself while playing! I thought it would b
e similar to the guitar console, where when you do a solo, it doesn't really match up with the music that you're hearing, but no. They really do match up the hi-hat to the yellow pads pretty well.
Unfortunately, all the consoles during the evening were loaded up with demo versions of the game, but at a few of the tables they had full track listings of the 85 brand new songs exclusive to the World Tour edition. Some favorites that I can't wait to play are At The Drive-In's "One Armed Scissor," Dinosaur Jr.'s "Feel The Pain," a GH exclusive version of the MC5's "Kick Out The Jams," and Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again." So when you come to any of the Amoebas and pick up your copy of Guitar Hero: World Tour, let me know and I can come over to your house and "help" you get to the Amoeba stage and beyond!