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Back a few years ago a game called Guitar Hero was released and thousands of music hipsters and video game nerds united to the sound of tiny plastic guitar buttons clicking away.

Since then, the company that created the game, Harmonix, has split away and invented Rock Band, which is the same, but with a whole band. Red Octane, the group Harmonix left, kept making Guitar Hero until they realize Harmonix was onto something and made their own band game, still called Guitar Hero which is a little unfair to everyone else but whatever.

I know this is the part where I tell a joke, but I think the joke speaks for itself. Guitar Hero was given the music and likeness of a load of famous and/or influential musicians for the game Guitar Hero 5 this year, including but not limited to Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, and Carlos Santana. Basically, you get to play as these people, or characters you invent. Or as your X-box “avatar” which is a huge-headed weird little cartoon guy. You can mix and match characters, instruments, and even play as the same character more than once (to create, for instance, an entire band of Johnny Cash).

Rock Band was given the rights to the music and likenesses of the Beatles. They made The Beatles Rock Band, a stand-alone game based entirely on the story of the Beatles. You play as the Beatles. You cannot mix and match their instruments, nor even their venues or costumes.

Here’s a fun video of Guitar Hero 5:

Guitar Hero says: you’re giving us the likeness of a load of famous and influential artists? let’s mix and match their songs and instruments and characters! Surely that’s not disrespectful enough to get their bands, fans, and loved ones incredibly angry with us.

But then…

Rock Band says: you’re giving us the likenesses and music of one of the most famous and influential bands? okay. We’re telling their story, with their music and instruments, their imagery, and with the total supervision of the band and their loved ones. And it’s going to be amazing.

…and it’s totally amazing. I just find it highly entertaining when two titans meet this way, having taken such different paths to get to this point, and seeing what kind of mentality toward art proves the most effective.

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