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Posted by David Collins on December 15, 2009
Holiday Gift Guide – Music Games

Holiday Gift Guide – Music Games

By far the ultimate in-person social experience, the music gaming genre has grown over the years from a nitch novelty to a full blown category. Credit Guitar Hero for taking it to the next level. Now, we have so many different titles that it can be tough to decide which one to get. Hopefully this guide will help resolve that for you. Keep in mind that this guide will be focused on the stand-alone software only. So if the gamer on your list doesn’t have the instrument controllers, be sure to look for the various package out there that will provide the both the instruments & the games. One note: To really get the most out of these titles, it takes more than one person. Don’t be afraid to jump in there & play right along side your loved one!

DJ Hero DJ Heroicon

Developer: FreeStyleGames

Publisher: Activision

MSRP: $119.99

Release Date: 10/20/2009

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Playstation 2

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Not content to remain focused on rock, Activision decided to branch out & take on the club world with DJ Hero. Sporting an all new music peripheral, DJ Hero allows would-be mixers to mash-up some of the most popular artists in the club scene. From Eminem to Jay-Z to Daft Punk, the set list is certainly not lacking for talent. As this is the first game to launch for the turntable controller, you’ll have no choice but to grab the whole bundle. But don’t let the MSRP fool you: Many retailers are selling DJ Hero for much less (in fact, the link below will take take you to Amazon where it’s only $88 as of this writing). This one’s perfect for the gamer who has the other music games or someone who’d rather listen to more urban styled music instead of the rock heavy Guitar Hero/Rock Band franchises.

Official Site

the_beatles_rock_band_box_art The Beatles: Rock Bandicon

Developer: Harmonix

Publisher: MTV Games

MSRP: $59.99

Release Date: 09/09/2009

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii

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In my opinion, the Rock Band franchise is probably the most improved since their pre-2009 releases. Granted, we still don’t have Rock Band 3, but the changes they made starting with Beatles, both visually & in the gameplay, really was a huge step in comparison to Rock Band 2. With support for 3-piece vocal harmonies, adjustable difficulty on the fly, plus simply gorgeous visuals, The Beatles: Rock Band was an experience that no other music game release beat this year. My biggest knock against it as a game was that if you don’t like the music, then you won’t like this game. It’s all Beatles. No covers, no other artists, nothing. So I couldn’t recommend it to everyone (to see my full thoughts on it, check out the review). If you have a Beatles lover on your list, you won’t go wrong with The Beatles: Rock Band.

Official Site

My Review (Full Title)

My Review (Abby Road DLC)

lips-number-one-hits-box-artwork Lips: Number One Hitsicon

Developer: iNiS Corp

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studio

MSRP: $59.99

Release Date: 10/20/2009

Platform: Xbox 360

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Have an Xbox 360 gamer that would prefer to only sing? Then Lips: Number One Hits may be the number one gift to get. With a broad set list covering songs from the 80’s (Cutting Crew), 90’s (2PAC) & today (Fergie), there’s plenty of songs to please just about anyone. In addition to the 40 tracks that ship with it, it’s compatible with all the DLC from the Lips franchise. Plus, it’ll also play any DRM-free music from your personal library. It’s available as a stand-along software or as a bundle pack with 2 wireless, motion sensing microphones. It’s a ton of fun for just about any get-together.

Official Site

guitar-hero-5 Guitar Hero 5icon

Developer: Neversoft

Publisher: Activision

MSRP: $59.99

Release Date: 09/01/2009

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Playstation 2

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Even though music games were around before the Guitar Hero franchise, they didn’t really take off until the Guitar Hero franchise hit the shelves. Now on it’s fifth iteration (not including band-specific titles), it can still hold it’s own. I personally find it a wee bit more difficult than the Rock Band series. Anyway, as with all new entries in a franchise, there should be new features. Guitar Hero 5 doesn’t disappoint adding the ability to drop in/drop out at any time, the ability to have a band with any combination of instruments, the new Rockfest competitive mode and Avatar support (for the Xbox 360 version). With an 85 track set list, a ton of DLC plus the ability to import some songs from Guitar Hero World Tour & Guitar Hero Smash Hits, this one will keep players busy for a long time (or until Guitar Hero 6 comes out).

Official Site

Other honorable mentions:

Band Heroicon – $59.99 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Playstation 2, Nintendo DS)

Lego Rock Bandicon – $49.99 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS)

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