Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Vans Warped Tour in Pomona, CA where Ubisoft partnered with Gibson guitars and Ernie Ball. Ernie Ball manufactures premier electric guitar strings, bass strings, acoustic guitar strings, and various guitar accessories including picks and straps. As the music industry evolves and inspires people around the world to play more music, Ubisoft wants to make the experience a seamless transition from playing a video game learning how to play a guitar and learning how to play a real guitar at the same time.
How the game works as it was explained to me is that when buying the game, either just as the standalone game or as a bundle that will come with a guitar to use with the game and a specially designed usb cable with one end plugging into the guitar and the other end plugging into the console. The guitar will use the television as an amp so when playing there will not be a filter or adjustment to what sounds the guitar is making, if you mess up on a cord it would just play the cords as you played it. With this being designed in the game the player will not have any failing sounds when missing notes or hitting the wrong cords when learning how to play which can be somewhat discouraging. I was impressed with the design of how the on screen notes will come towards you, similar to othergames, but will have players getting a quicker understand as it is displayed vertically on the screen so if the top cord needs to be strummed the note will be on the top side of the screen and the other notes going down from there in a stacking fashion.
The extent of me playing real musical instruments comes from my experience of watching my friends play, hitting some drum sticks to make sounds at the local guitar shop in the mall and growing up on the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series. So what did I learn from playing with Rocksmith? I learned that about after ten minutes with the help of the mini game similar to duck hunt where a little digital duck would fly up the screen and I was tasked into shooting it by hitting the right cords and finger position to help associate finger placement with the visual of a games. I was surprised to find that I was actually getting muscle memory developed to where my hand needed to be on the frets of the guitar and also knowing which cord to strum to accomplish shooting the duck.
Learning to play a musical instrument isn’t the easiest thing in the world to accomplish and the initial cost of learning to play with buying equipment, books to learn finger placement, how to read musical notes, instructional videos, and maybe private lessons that can’t promise results adds up quickly. I believe with Ubisoft’s Rocksmith that with the tools that they have created in the presentation of playing a video game consumers can walk away playing a guitar in no time. So when playing the game, you are not only playing the game, but you are learning how to play a guitar without knowing it. Enjoy the game for what it is and learning will come with it and in no time players can take their simple skills and depending on the amount of time invested might be able to play full master tracks from their favorite artists.