May 23, 2009

Mobile Guitar Hero: On Tour

I previously talked about Harmonix’ upcoming portable iteration of Rock Band, Rock Band Unplugged for the PSP. But Guitar Hero went portable first, with Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS.

I am now required by law to show you what may be the cheesiest promo video for a game of all time. It’s so painfully bad, it’s almost good.

If you haven’t seen this, watch it all the way through at least once. Trust me. It’s an … experience.

Anyway, the claim to fame for On Tour is the innovative guitar grip accessory, to give a comparable experience to a real fake plastic guitar in portable form.


The entire game is played sideways, with your hand on the guitar grip and the stylus “pick” strumming the notes.

If it looks awkward, that might be because it is. Some reviews claim that the game is quite uncomfortable to play, due to the way you have to hold the Nintendo DS with the grip attachment.

According to the game’s developer, it took more than 20 prototypes to get On Tour’s unique controller attachment right. Unfortunately, whether or not they got it right is a point of contention. The unit at first seems to fit snuggly into the GBA slot, but it’s possible for it to work itself out in midsong. This brings up an error screen that tells you that you’re rocking too hard. Unfortunately, you can’t just push the unit back in and continue; you’ve got to turn the system off and start the song over. Playing for any length of time can be extremely uncomfortable, and don’t be surprised if you experience lingering pain in your wrist or elbow after the shortest of play sessions. Even playing a single song can be enough to cause discomfort. While the size of your hands is certainly a consideration, the attachment is functional at best. Given that the game actually begins with two screens that instruct you to keep your wrist straight, take frequent breaks to avoid cramping, try different play styles to find one that’s comfortable, and even visit the game’s Web site “for more play comfort suggestions,” it’s apparent that someone was aware that the game could present physical problems for people. It would have been nice to be able to play the game with some sort of alternate control scheme, but such an option isn’t available.

Also, the brand new Nintendo DSi is incompatible with On Tour, as it lacks the GBA cartridge slot that the grip accessory plugs into. So the future of the franchise seems a bit sketchy.

Of course, the DSi is almost fully compatible with every Nintendo DS game ever made, the exception being titles that utilize the secondary slot on the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo DS Lite for add-ons. Games such as Guitar Hero: On Tour, Tony Hawk’s Motion and My Weight Loss Coach will not work on the Nintendo DSi because the new system lacks the slot needed to utilize the peripherals required to play the software.

The games have been hugely successful, though, and there are already two releases, and a third expected within a few weeks.

Guitar Hero: On Tour setlist (all covers)

  • “All Star” – Smash Mouth
  • “All the Small Things” – Blink-182
  • “Anna Molly” – Incubus
  • “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” – Jet
  • “Black Magic Woman” – Santana
  • “Breed” – Nirvana
  • “China Grove” – Doobie Brothers
  • “Do What You Want” – OK Go
  • “Heaven” – Los Lonely Boys
  • “Hellacopter” – Bloc Party
  • “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” – Pat Benatar
  • “I Don’t Wanna Stop” – Ozzy Osbourne
  • “I Am Not Your Gameboy” – Freezepop
  • “I Know a Little” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
  • “Jet Airliner” – Steve Miller Band
  • “Knock Me Down” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “La Grange” – ZZ Top
  • “Pride and Joy” – Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • “Rock and Roll All Nite” – Kiss
  • “Spiderwebs” – No Doubt
  • “Stray Cat Strut” – Stray Cats
  • “This Love” – Maroon 5
  • “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister
  • “What I Want” – Daughtry
  • “Youth Gone Wild” – Skid Row
Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades setlist

  • “All Right Now” – Free
  • “Any Way You Want It” – Journey
  • “Are You Gonna Go My Way” – Lenny Kravitz
  • “Buddy Holly” – Weezer
  • “Can’t Stop” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Crushcrushcrush” – Paramore
  • “Dirty Little Secret” – The All-American Rejects
  • “Down” – Stone Temple Pilots
  • “Free Ride” – Edgar Winter Group
  • “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” – The Darkness
  • “I Can’t Drive 55” – Sammy Hagar
  • “La Bamba” – Los Lobos
  • “The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World
  • “No Rain” – Blind Melon
  • “One Step Closer” – Linkin Park
  • “The One I Love” – R.E.M.
  • “One Way or Another” – Blondie
  • “The Pretender” – Foo Fighters
  • “Remedy” – Seether
  • “Rock and Roll Band” – Boston
  • “Satch Boogie” – Joe Satriani
  • “Smooth Criminal” – Alien Ant Farm
  • “Some Might Say” – Oasis
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “Tarantula” – Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Take Over, The Break’s Over” – Fall Out Boy
  • “Volcano Girls” – Veruca Salt
  • “We Are The Champions” – Queen
  • “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi

Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits setlist:

  • “Adrenaline” – 12 Stones
  • “All My Life” – Foo Fighters
  • “Always Where I Need to Be” – The Kooks
  • “Call to Arms” – Angels & Airwaves
  • “Chelsea Dagger” – The Fratellis
  • “Dashboard” – Modest Mouse
  • “Dimension” – Wolfmother
  • “Do the Panic” – Phantom Planet
  • “Everybody Get Dangerous” – Weezer
  • “The Fallen” – Franz Ferdinand
  • “Falling Down” – Atreyu
  • “Half-Truism” – The Offspring
  • “I Wanna Be Your Man” – Endeverafter
  • “Lassoo” – The Duke Spirit
  • “Lights and Sounds” – Yellowcard
  • “The Metal” – Tenacious D
  • “Miss Murder” – AFI
  • “Paralyzer” – Finger Eleven
  • “Reptilia” – The Strokes
  • “Ruby” – Kaiser Chiefs
  • “Shockwave” – Black Tide
  • “Still Waiting” – Sum 41
  • “Sweet Sacrifice” – Evanescence
  • “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” – Fall Out Boy
  • “Unconditional” – The Bravery
  • “Violet Hill” – Coldplay
  • “What Do I Have to Do” – The Donnas
  • “Where Are We Runnin’?” – Lenny Kravitz

Even if you have no interest in the On Tour franchise, the setlist surely presages some of these songs being released as full-blown Guitar Hero: World Tour or Rock Band DLC — I hope! I know I’d love to get “Youth Gone Wild”, “Jet Airliner”, “I Can’t Drive 55”, “China Grove”, and many others from the On Tour setlist in full-size form!

GHOT is less “awkward” to play and more “physically impossible” to play. The slightest pull (or push!) on that skimpy, unsafe connector would make the peripheral be no longer recognized by the DS. No “reconnect controller”, either; the game just requires a complete reboot because of how the DS handles peripherals.

The gap shown in the pic up there, for example, would be far far far more than required for the game to crash – and I stress: even *clenching it too much* is enough to make the game crash.

Oh, and the strumming is so inaccurate, even if the game didn’t crash about four seconds into any attempts to play Expert, it’d still be unplayable due to misstrums galore.

I just can’t understand how a product with such catastrophic defects wasn’t subjected to a class action lawsuit and mass recalled.

May 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Yeah, I’m afraid to say I’m not a fan of the On Tour series. It’s actually painful for me to play for long periods, and the grip just continually slides out no matter what I try – and I certainly don’t have the biggest hands, just freakishly long fingers which serves me well on the bigger brothers, but the opposite on OT. The only half solution I found was to not use the strap altogether as it was too constricting, but this created a new problem as the weight of the DS managed to make my hand tired before I’d finished one song.

I had no regrets getting my DSi, OT is not something I’m missing – I’m much preferring Rythnm Paradise for my DS music game needs.

May 26, 2009 at 6:46 am

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