By Aaron Hillis
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By Stephanie Zacharek
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By Eric Hynes
Theres a point when every fad overstays its welcome. Could it be that Guitar Hero is already just a sour note from being booed out of Americas living room?
For evidence, look no further than the plethora of GH cash-in products hawked at this months Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the annual parade of cutting-edge stuff that nobody really needs. From knock-off guitars (think Shredmaster! or dont) to customized controllers that substitute phony guitar playing with phony record scratching, all thats missing is Guitar Hero-brand cereal.
Following are some of the countless GH products displayed at CES, each of them a compelling sign that this Hero is ready for a fall. Watch for them soon at a Buy More chain near you:
Guitar Hero Air Guitar Rocker (Jada Toys, $30).In a soul-crushing new video making the internet rounds, a grown man in a fright wig is seen demonstrating the officially licensed Air Guitar Rocker for a cluster of embarrassed reporters. It works like this: You wave a special guitar pick in front of a chintzy, motion-sensor belt buckle, causing a tiny amplifier (strapped to your side) to play one of five metal songs in time with your air-guitar movements. Its perfect for those who find Guitar Hero itself not quite phony enough. And were gonna have an expansion pack . . . and a belt buckle that is genre-specific, says the stone-faced pitchman. Not included: a shower in which to sit and cry alone.
Art Guitars AG RiffMaster (Artguitar.com, $399). How far would you go to feel like a rock star without devoting a single second to the craft of songwriting? For a mere $399, you too can be the proud owner of a real guitar that has been gutted, custom-painted with Kiss logos, and Frankensteined into a Guitar Hero controller. But wait, theres more: For the everyday low price of $1,999, you get one ex-guitar and a former Peavey amp that holds your choice of a PlayStation or Xbox (not included). Complete the look by hollowing out your own body and stuffing it with cream cheese.
XFPS Mini-Guitar (Farmer, $69). Experts agree: Theres no better time to learn fake guitar than at a young age. So its a shame that Guitar Heros controllers are way too big for the little ones sausage-like fingers. But now theres the infant-sized XFPS Mini-Guitar, an instrument so impossibly tiny it was test-marketed on hamsters. It can be yours for just $69, plus an additional $70 for an Xbox adaptor. Consider it seed money for paving your childs path to a lifetime of cheap and easy shortcuts.
SoundTech Ediface Digital Guitar Interface (SoundTech, $299). Revolutionary in that its primary use is for creating actual music on a computer, this device comes packaged with a nifty plug-and-play game that teaches guitar. Of course, the DGI has drawn attention not for this feature, but because its 100 percent Guitar Hero compatible. Thats right, kids: At last you can convert your old-school guitar notes into genuine fake ones that dance across your TV screen. Dont say those years of costly lessons didnt come in handy!
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