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Rock Out with Rhythm Game History

| 27 Sep 2011 21:55
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Sex, drugs, and plastic guitars collide in a new book.

Did you know that music games can trace their lineage back to Milton Bradley's classic toy Simon, or that Dance Dance Revolution had a spiritual precursor on the NES? Tech guru Scott Steinberg does, and now he wants to share it with you. Guitar Hero may have brought musical rhythm games into the forefront of pop culture, but they were born decades ago - and, according to Steinberg, will endure even though the venerable series has strummed its last G chord. In a new book, Music Games Rock, Steinberg explores the tumultuous rise and decline of this unique genre.

Music Games Rock embraces breadth for most of its entries, and depth for a few crucial topics. The main narrative present in the book is about the history of the music game genre, told in bite-sized, digestible paragraphs and accompanied by colorful pictures. These snippets of gaming history range from KISS Pinball to The Beatles: Rock Band, and generally provide nuts-and-bolts information, along with a short critique or defense of the game and a humorous factoid. Some topics, like the rise of Rock Band or the ill-fated simulation Sex N' Drugs N' Rock N' Roll, merit their own in-depth analyses.

Most of the information in Steinberg's book is available freely elsewhere, and his opinion colors much of the writing, including the sure-to-be-controversial "Best Video Game Music Ever" section. However, the book is comprehensive and neatly written, making it both accessible and informative. Besides, you can download the book as a free PDF, so it's not like you have anything to lose by checking it out. If you want to buy the book in a dead tree or eBook format, Steinberg has you covered as well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, a certain Prince of Darkness has challenged me to play a Charlie Daniels song.

Source: Music Games Rock

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