In play

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

I hop on the drum set, my son Tyler gets out the guitar and my girlfriend Erin sets up on bass guitar, and we play for hours. Don't get me wrong, none of the three of us know how to play any of these musical instruments, but we sure can strum away at plastic guitar controllers with the best of 'em.

Confused yet? Let me explain. One of the biggest video game genres of today is rhythm-based music games, with Guitar Hero and Rock Band leading the pack. With both series, you assume the role of a rock and roller, strumming away on a plastic guitar controller, or banging away on a big plastic drum set. Both titles let you fulfill your inner rocker dreams and have full songs to play along with song tracks from the 1960s to today.

With upcoming releases for both series coming out soon, I want to talk about the features of both games. The price point for both Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour is significantly larger than your usual game, so let me explain to you why that is, and why you should pick one of them up.

Rock Band 2: (PS3, 360, Wii) release date:10/20/08

ESRB Rated: T for Teen

Rock Band is, in my opinion, the leader in band games. Rock Band 2 sports a whopping 84-count song list and you can import any songs already downloaded from Xbox Live or the Playstation Network. The game by itself sells for $60 (if you already have the instruments from Rock Band 1), or $190 for the whole kit, which includes a guitar controller, a drum set and a microphone. RB2 sports an amazing character creation system with in-house or online band creation.

Guitar Hero: World Tour: (PS3, 360, Wii) 10/27/08

ESRB Rated: T for Teen

Guitar Hero has been the pioneer in the music game industry for a very long time, boasting five major game titles in the last few years. Now they're taking it one step further by jumping into the band game scene with Guitar Hero World Tour. GH:WT includes a guitar controller, a microphone, and a 6-piece drum set (as opposed to Rock Band's 4-piece) for a package price of $190, or you can purchase the game for $60. GH:WT is including a new song creation tool where you can supposedly record your own new songs and share them online with friends or the entire Xbox Live and Playstation Network.

Honestly, neither game will be better than the other, just contain different song lists. But if you already have the Rock Band components, you may want to choose Rock Band 2.

Lastly, for some guitar shredding on the go, check out Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS ( a new snap-in controller that fits in the GBA slot on your Nintendo DS, you can rock out anywhere and also challenge friends over Nintendo WiFi!

Until next time, keep on rocking!