Ok, no one had any recommendations on a thread, so I'll just create this, and the mods can do as they will.
I was going to call this "Learning Guitar", but it seemed too limiting. So I figure we can have equipment, accessories, all things related to playing guitar here.
My first contribution is my initial review of Rocksmith. This doesn't really fit under "game", as it seems like more of a learning tool. I plan on updating this review, as necessary. See below for more.
First, the way this is written really bugs me, but I'm too lazy to rewrite it, and many probably will not even notice what irks me. It would be more fun to translate it into "Toki Wartooth". And as much text as it is, I actually edited the shit out of it to make it shorter.
Background - I've been playing guitar for a while. I would not consider myself good, but I can play thrash pretty well. I'm just not a lead guitar player. Wish I was. I was far better when I practiced 10 hours a day in high school, but for many years, I just kinda played whenever I felt like it, which was pretty rare. I can still play a lot of things, but I've lost a lot of knowledge, speed, and general ability. Like anything, you lose it when you don't use it.
How I've been playing it - Okay, so I've actually just been going through the game using "Rocksmith Recommends", so I've been playing a song, playing the technique challenges, playing the events, etc. You have to play a song (rehearse) and score well enough to qualify for an event. Once you qualify one song, you go to the next one. (Or you can continue to play the same song.) Once you have scored well enough on all the songs in a setlist, then you open up an Event, where you play all those songs, and if you perform well enough, you may get to do an encore, which is a new song. The first event is 2-3 songs, the next is 3-4 songs, etc.
So, I've learned HOW to play, and played, a bunch of songs, but I haven't LEARNED any of the songs yet. The reason I've been playing this way, kind of gets into the next section.
Tones/Presets/Boxes - So generally you start with a default tone that fits the song. While you do have (I think 3) "tone banks" where you can setup your own tone, it follows a game "formula" where you have to unlock the amps, cabinets, and boxes. So I've basically just been running through everything as quickly as possible to unlock as much as possible. However, you can spend $5 and get the "Tone Designer Time Saver Pack" DLC that gives you all of it. (Probably worth it, especially if you have a tone in mind.) I haven't really designed a tone yet, but I think you map them to buttons on your controller, so that you can choose the tone bank you want to use during a song. (I should read the in-game manual. I'm a hacker by nature, so I haven't bothered.)
It's interesting that they seem to ask you to hook up through analog connections rather than HDMI. I'm not running my sound through HDMI, but Optical, and there seems to be a very slight delay, which throws some of my playing off. (Seems to make more of a difference during Technique Challenges, rather than during songs and events.) I'll let you know how it works with headphones soon. (Waiting on them to be delivered.) I also need to see if I can change the volumes, since sometimes I can only hear what I'm playing, and not the drums, so I get off-beat. Other times, I can't hear if I'm hitting the right notes. However, these have been really rare and minor situations. I think the headphones will really help, since I'll be able to jack up the volume enough to hear everything without shaking the neighborhood.
The Technique Challenges are really interesting. Each challenge has a different accompaniment associated with it that fits with what you're playing. So it's not just "play slides", but it fits into the stucture of a "song", so it's a little more intuitive and instructive on their uses. You play for Points (Leaderboards), Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals, which unlock additional rewards (boxes). The Challenges are Sustains, Shifting, Hammer-ons & Pull-offs, Slides, Bends, Harmonics, Palm Mute, Tremolo, Chord, Double Stop, Power Chord, and Barre Chord. You can access them at any time, but "Rocksmith Recommends" also let's you know when it's a good time to learn the technique.
The Guitarcade is a bunch of "games" to help learn different things. Ducks/Super Ducks is basically like Space Invaders or Plants vs. Zombies. Hit the right note to shoot the ducks before they reach the end. Slider/SuperSlider is a "Tetris"-type game where you move blocks by sliding the note to where you want to put it. Big Swing Baseball where you have to hit the right note at the right time to hit the ball, added difficulty are bends. (I guess they represent curve balls?) The games I haven't unlocked are Scale Runner (play the right note to power your runner through the scale tunnel), Quick Pick Dash (pick the strings as fast as you can to make the Space Ostrich sprint down the track, switching strings to avoid obstacles), Dawn of the Chordead (play the right chord or join the ranks of the Dead), Harmonically Challenged (use harmonics to defuse bombs).
Speaking of chords, I've run into some in the middle of songs, but don't know where to begin because it's too much for me to handle visually, and physically, fast enough. However, I noticed that many of these will have their names next to them. So maybe I'll actually learn the name of chords, their positions on the fretboard, etc. (Dawn of the Chordead will probably really help.) I've never bothered to learn any of that. I just play what sounds good. I can read music (easier for me on piano), but it takes me a long time to translate it to guitar. So this could work well for teaching me more. (Just don't try to teach me theory.)
There are additional DLC songs. I'll probably end up getting the Megadeth pack (Hangar 18, Symphony of Destruction, Public Enemy #1), but it's probably a bit advanced for me at the moment. I'll wait until I can recognize the string colors. However, they also just had a free DLC of xmas songs, which are pretty cool. One is a very Gary Hoey tubular bells kinda thing. Another is a really cool, bluesy thing. Shit I can't remember. I just remember thinking that it would be really cool to be able to play them. They were cool arrangements, and I could immediately think of how I'd like to take things differently once I'd learned them, with a live band.
You can just free-play (Amp mode) using the tone banks you've created, and you can make you own setlists. You can also choose songs to play, where you can choose a single note arrangement, chord arrangement, or combo. You can rehearse, perform, or do Riff Repeater, which is a practice mode for "mastering individual sections of songs".
I haven't really played the songs more than in the events. (So once or twice each.) However, I've gotten to the point where I'll unlock a "phrase upgrade" that makes the riff harder, and I'm at a loss because it's going too fast, or the shift in frets and strings just throws me for a loop. I'm really solid on the top 2 strings (I'm a rhythm player), but I really haven't learned the colors of the other strings yet (I would have chosen different colors and placement.), so when they get incorporated, I have to look at the fretboard and strings to figure out where to go, miss a bunch of notes, etc. I imagine the Guitarcade really helps with this. So to truly learn the song, some rehearsal and practice (riff repeater) is definitely necessary. For example, one specific riff, I couldn't figure out. I could nail the first part of it, but then I couldn't figure out what the next part of it was. So I'd fumble my way through it, or play it similar to the first part, which was wrong, so I'll have to go to Riff Repeater to figure out what I'm actually supposed to be doing there.
I'm really impressed so far at its ability to properly recognize what you're playing, if it's correct, and actually provide helpful visual indicators on how to correct it, if it's not. And I adapted to this far quicker than I did as a guitar player trying to figure out how to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band.
So it really does seem to help people learn to play guitar. It does really help you learn the songs. (A Master event is playing setlists without any visual cues.) And I'm looking forward to my experiment with a brand new player. I think the pace would allow for learning the strings at an easier pace, whereas for me, as a poor player, I can jam out on the rhythms, but when it comes to the other parts of the songs, I'm just not sure what string to play.
Another really nice thing, is that because I'm watching the screen to see what's coming up, and I don't know the songs, I can't look at the fretboard. So it's forcing me to concentrate on the "feel" of the guitar to figure out where I am, how to shift, etc. I always stare at my hands, and I've always wanted to play without looking more, so this should really help with that. I love when I can jam out without opening my eyes, when you're just in tune with the song, the groove, the feel of playing it. I rarely get that because I'm not good enough to not look at what I'm "trying" to do, instead of just doing what I "want" to do.
I would have made some different choices in the game I wanted to design in 2007, but they seem to have done really well with the note recognition. That's probably where all the technology had to be poured in the last 4 years since I did my HLD/FR. (To get a little industry-specific, I think EA/Harmonix shit the bed here, and let Ubisoft leap-frog them. They came out with a quality product first. It's going to be hard to unseat, what seems to me to be, a high-quality product.) However, I understand why they made some of their decisions.
I think I'll have to give periodic reviews, to see how I'm progressing, as I unlock new features, get exposed to solos, etc.
And holy hell my guitar is heavy. 3 songs with it hanging on my shoulder and I was done. How did I ever carry this fucking thing onstage?
take anything I say seriously.
Am I Evil? I am Dan. Yes, I am!
Do NOT buy a record based on my recommendation.