September 4, 2009

Guitar Hero World Tour: PC / Mac Version

Now that Guitar Hero 5 has been released to very positive reviews, and it (mostly) imports the World Tour songs, I’d love to declare Guitar Hero: World Tour utterly obsolete.

But I can’t.

Guitar Hero: World Tour may indeed be old and busted on consoles, but it is by far the best version of the series on the PC! There have been three Guitar Hero computer releases to date:

  1. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock PC / Mac
  2. Guitar Hero Aerosmith PC / Mac
  3. Guitar Hero World Tour PC / Mac

Unfortunately, GH3 and GH:A were all but unplayable on the PC due to terrible, embarrassing performance. Even on a high end gaming rig, these games had extreme video and audio lag, which made getting a decent score or enjoying the game pretty much impossible. I owned both, and believe me, I tried everything — turning all the detail to minimum, resolution to the lowest possible setting, and exiting all background tasks before starting the game. Nothing worked! Barely playable. From everything I could tell, it was a fundamental problem with the way the games were ported from console PC. That’s … kind of a crippling flaw.

So when I booted up the PC version of Guitar Hero: World Tour I steeled myself for even more disappointment. Imagine my surprise when this game plays every bit as well as the Xbox 360 version! It’s almost indistinguishable, well, except for the near-instantaneous load times that only a PC can offer. :)


I tested the game extensively on guitar, playing through the entire campaign as a solo guitarist. I even trotted out my drums and handy-dandy Mad Catz M.I.C. for vocals.

The feel was so accurate and solid on vox, drums, and guitar that most of the time I forgot which version I was playing! That’s definitely a first for any PC version of Guitar Hero.

By the way, I highly recommend the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver — it lets me use all my wireless Xbox peripherals on my PC, no problem! (It should also work with the Mac since it’s basic USB.) I used this nifty little device to test the game with a variety of guitars and the World Tour wireless drums.


No drivers required, just plug and play. Press the sync button on both devices and as they say, “it just works”.

One small problem I ran into with vocals: the game didn’t want to recognize any of my microphones. After some research, I found that the PC version of Guitar Hero: World Tour is hard-coded to look for a “Logitech USB Microphone” — literally. You’d expect it to accept whatever sound recording devices you have on your PC, but no. To get around that, I simply renamed my Mad Catz M.I.C. to “Logitech USB Microphone” in the sound device, recording tab, properties dialog, as pictured:


Goofy, but it works. Once I did that, I re-launched the game and I was able to start a vocalist career without the dreaded “please connect a microphone” alert.

I realize that any PC / Mac version of Guitar Hero is something of an oddity at best. It’s still fun and convenient for a quick jam session, though:

  • I’m always in front of my PC
  • the PC version of the game loads in no time at all
  • with a no-cd patch, it loads even faster
  • I have so many fake plastic guitars now, I just keep an extra one by my desk

… the PC version of the game ends up being the fastest possible way to jump in and practice a song when I have a few extra minutes. Or if you’re travelling with your laptop, in a pinch, you could even play a few songs with the keyboard. Heck, just because you can. Why not? Fake plastic rock knows no boundaries!

Being a PC release, there’s also the possibility of user-created mods: hacked songs, now with a full band, and actually playable this time around. The GHWT PC mod scene is still fairly new, but I expect in time you’ll be able to, uh, “import” every song from every Guitar Hero game ever made into this version.

Anyway, World Tour is the first respectable version of any Guitar Hero on the PC to date. Kudos to Aspyr for finally getting this right, and here’s hoping that the much better Guitar Hero 5 will eventually be ported to PC as well.

My only real problems with GH World Tour is I think there’s a slight delay on the microphone and – the only real very stupid flaw on Aspyr’s part – the inability to actually share your songs from GHTunes. Which kinda seems to defeat the point of even having the GH Tunes feature.

September 6, 2009 at 11:52 am

I’ve tried that “Logitech USB Microphone” trick and it does work with me. Although when returning in game vocals are working but keyboard isn’t. So I have to choose between them. Now i’m not the greatest singer in the word but I was trying to get into band-mode. I don’t have a little plastic guitar or drum set and i’m not planning to purchase one of those (For the most part because i’m broke). So how in the world can I create a band when the controllers don’t work? I have two keyboards but the game doesn’t recognize the second one. Is there a “Logitech USB Keyboard” trick? Haven’t tried it yet… Have anyone of you succeeded in rocking in a band? And if so, please tell me how you did it. Thanks!

December 25, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I can’t find out how to purchase this game on PC. The Amazon links in this article point to not available items. searching for world tour for pc on amazon gives me this:

For release on Dec 31?? I thought it was already out. Gamespot lists this as an Oct 26 08 release date, and there are user reviews complaining about the Aspyr port:;title;4

the worst part is that on Aspyr’s site I can fine ZERO mention of World Tour for PC…

If this game is actually available, where can I get it?

December 25, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Gyrth, I’m having the same problem. I’m currently looking for a way to change the name of the keyboard fooling the game that you have a guitar controller connected… But I still can’t find a way to edit it.

Post here if you have any leads.


January 3, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Hi, I’m trying to play drums with my e-drums kit (alesis dm6) connected via usb but the game doesn’t recognize it. Is there a way to solve this, maybe like the mic issue.


April 29, 2010 at 7:13 am

I cant get my guitar hero: World Tour guitar to work in GH3. Does anyone know how to solve the problem. Thanks

May 21, 2010 at 4:02 am

There is a solution to the sync problem of video and audio : I decreased my computer’s sound quality from 24 bit 192000 Hz to 24 bit 48000 Hz and this absolutely worked..

September 11, 2010 at 6:39 am

Can I ask after your research on the PC version. Does the World Tour Guitar (Genericaster) work on the Aerosmith version. I can’t seem to get it to work and on playing the game through keyboard and mouse

March 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Lee, I wouldn’t expect it to, as GH Aerosmith (June 2008) was released before World Tour and it was based on the GH3 engine. I know there were some “we are trying to be incompatible with other fake plastic guitars” shenanigans going on at that time, so anything is possible.

Jeff Atwood
March 18, 2012 at 12:42 am

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