Lawyers will battle it out over Kurt Cobain's 'Guitar Hero' cameo

Posted on Mon Sep 14 2009

Maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time, with even the Beatles becoming video game avatars, for Kurt Cobain to come back from the dead and digitally appear in Activision's Guitar Hero 5. So, his widow Courtney Love signed a licensing deal for Cobain to rock out to Nirvana's groundbreaking hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," as well as any number of frothy pop ditties. Only now, Love claims she never consented to the deal, and she's threatening via Twitter (celebrities' favorite mode of breaking their own news these days) to sue Activision. Meanwhile, former bandmates Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, who allowed the music to be used in the game but don't control Cobain's likeness, say they're "dismayed and very disappointed" with the outcome. They're asking Activision to lock up that avatar so he won't suffer the indignity of performing "You Give Love a Bad Name." Activision is sticking to its guns, saying it has a signed agreement in hand. Obviously, we've not heard the end of this. Love has suddenly protected her Twitter updates, which is probably for the best. (They made no sense anyway.) But I did understand this threat from Love to Activision: "Wait for my esq." Good day, sir!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Kurt Cobain is brought back to life for Activision's 'Guitar Hero 5'

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009


Kurt Cobain is making his first appearance in a video game. Clad in his trademark cardigan, the deceased rocker has been resurrected for Guitar Hero 5. Now, I was never alive to see Jimi Hendrix and some of the other rock gods who have passed on, so the idea of pretending to be them in a video game doesn't bother me that much. However, I did see Nirvana live and was one of the fans caught up in the whole grunge thing. Maybe that's why the creepy rendering of him that Activision sent me seems bizarre. For full disclosure, I haven't gotten hooked on Guitar Hero like some of my friends, so perhaps I'm missing the point. But really, the idea of emulating Cobain is absurd even if it just involves performing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (this is first time the song has been licensed, so Courtney Love must really need cash) or "Lithium" in a video game. I'm not sure why anyone would want their kids pretending to be someone who did a bunch of heroin and blasted himself in the face with a shotgun.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Seriously, can't someone just buy this kid a real Fender guitar?

Posted on Thu Feb 5 2009

At noon yesterday, Danny Johnson reclaimed the Guinness World Record for the highest score for a single song on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The astounded and adoring crowd (likely his parents, because he's 14), watched in amazement as he scored 973,954. (I can flip Atari Asteroids at will, so take that buddy.) He played "Through the Fire and Flames" by DragonForce. (Doesn't everyone have that on their iPod?) Johnson, who has 2.5 million views on his YouTube channel, accomplished the feat in conjunction with the launch of the Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition. (How many hours have been wasted trying to get into that tome boggles the mind.) Fortunately, the game's popularity has prompted some wannabe rock stars to pick a real six string, typically at a Guitar Center.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

For better or worse, 'Guitar Hero' players want real instruments

Posted on Tue Jan 20 2009

The thing we all love about video games is the fantasy element: You get to save the world, get the girl or just blow a bunch of crap up. Guitar Hero taps right into that, enabling people to indulge their inner rock star. Unlike other games, however, Guitar Hero seems to be encouraging some crossover from fantasy into reality.
  In a new poll by Guitar Center, two-thirds of people who play Rock Band or Guitar Hero said they are now likely to begin playing a real instrument within the next two years. Guitar Center has noticed. It reported a 26.9 percent spike in same-store sales for the first nine months of 2008. Among the most popular items: beginner-level electric guitars. (Maybe the fantasy is best left unrealized after all.)
  No word on how many people plan to take singing lessons so they can be like Seal and bag Heidi Klum, who is featured in the latest Guitar Hero ads.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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