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EDITORIAL: Unlocking Content [UPDATE]

Locked up tight[UPDATE: Apparently, Joystiq's Justin McElroy completely misunderstood this article, stating I said unlockable content is against the law. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion; maybe he was trying to get hits for that site, but in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law. Read the article to see what was actually said.]

Advertised on the box of Guitar Hero II, the game brags you can play various songs, such as “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”, “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”, “Carry On My Wayward Son”, “The Beast and the Harlot” and “YYZ”. Ah, but there’s a catch: they’re not freely available. In fact, only 6 songs are available right from the get-go, and playing through the entire Easy chart only nets you 37 of the 70 songs. That’s right, barely more than half. In order to get the others, you must earn them – and some are difficult to get.


Why must one have to unlock songs? The consumer just paid $90 for your product, and deserves immediate access to the products that are paid for. One should not have to jump through hoops to access what was advertised on your box. You want to make the consumer jump through hoops? That’s what Achievements are for. That’s the entire raison d’etre of Achievements (aside from tracking your progress through a game for all to see.) Getting through Easy gave Achievements, for example. However, getting through Easy doesn’t even unlock songs.

Can you imagine other industries doing this sort of thing?

“Well, Mr. Smith, here’s your cable access. Now, in order to watch HBO and Showtime, we require that you successfully watch NBC, CBS and ABC for a month.”

“Well, I understand your frustration, Mr. Jones, but please understand that your DVD player will not play movies from Universal until you’ve watched 10 films from Fox, 10 films from DreamWorks and 10 films from Miramax.”

“Well, we know you want to have the Car in Monopoly, but you must first win 10 games as the Shoe, then 10 games as the Iron, then 10 Games as the Poochie.”

This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”. Had Red Octane been honest, it should have said right on the box: “To access this song, you must do so-and-so before you can play it.” It should have at least allowed every song to be available in practice mode. What’s next – downloadable content is unavailable unless you complete every song at every difficulty with a 5 star rating?

Put another way, if Rock Band features every song available right from the get-go and is reasonably fun, Electronic Arts gets my cash. After all, I’d rather have a product that caters to its audience and doesn’t treat it like bad children who have to prove themselves before they can play.

Cool Kids Are into Social Media, AMIRITE

    232 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Unlocking Content [UPDATE]”

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    1. Derrick Schommer Says:

      Dude, this is how you take a game that really has no levels and give it “levels.”

      By that logic I should have returned New Super Mario Brothers on my DS because I didn’t have access to world eight until I “unlocked” it by beating worlds 1 through 7?

      How about racing games, where you unlock courses, tracks, and such?

      It’s not false advertising, the stuff is there. It’s a game – you have to get to it.

    2. Jason Says:

      It’s a game. Whenever you buy other games, do you demand that every level be accessable from the beginning? No, once you beat level 1 you get to play level 2. That’s what makes games challenging and entertaining.

    3. jonahfalcon Says:

      You missed the part where I said that they were dishonest and implied the song was not immediately available. Had they been honest, they would have said right on the box “Must be unlocked”. etc.

    4. Devin Grimes Says:

      Wait…why exactly is this a problem? Games have been doing this for decades! Racing games will advertise X number of tracks right on the box cover…and is it really that hard to unlock them. The answer is no…if you’re having trouble unlocking the songs on the easiest difficulty setting, maybe you just need to practice a little more, but to accuse this of being illegal is completely false. Games are an active form of media where you get rewarded for your actions…and where would we get that rewarding feeling if everything were just given to us?

      Sure, the parallels between Guitar Hero and what you get out of the box from a CD or DVD are easy to establish, but the developers aren’t just going to give you everything right out of the box…that’s why it’s a game, not a passive form of entertainment such as strictly music or movies.

    5. cliffski Says:

      i agree with the article. Not all games need to have levels or be competitive in this way. Some games should be just like toys. Unlocks are for competitive kids, and thats not all gamers.

    6. jonahfalcon Says:

      17 songs are advertised on the box. 10 of them are not available without having to do some difficult unlocking. That’s misleading advertising. People will buy the game JUST to play “Sweet Child O’Mine” or “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock Ya Tonight”.

      And it’s been done for decades on consoles, not on PCs. Unlocking in PCs was considered lame. Why? Unlocking is for kiddies.

      Consoles can grow up, or they can remain toys. Like I said – you know what my unlock code is? The $90 I paid.

      Oh, and the argument “It’s been going on for decades” is not an argument. So what? Ever heard the song “That’s Just The Way It Is”? I can name several institutions which have been going on for decades. Doesn’t mean it’s right.

      Anyway, money talks and bullshit walks. If “Rock Band” allows every song (backed by MTV, by the way) available, they’re getting my money, and screw GH3.

      If there’s a cheat code to unlock every song in GH2, I’m using it. Why? I want to play the songs *I* want to play.

    7. jonahfalcon Says:

      “but the developers aren’t just going to give you everything right out of the box…”

      Why not?

      Dance Dance Revolution is a good example – you do unlock songs in it, but when there’s 60 available songs, only 5 or so are locked… and those 5 songs are just remixes of the available songs!

      DDR gives you EVERYTHING, basically.

    8. Drocket Says:

      *You missed the part where I said that they were dishonest and implied the song was not immediately available. Had they been honest, they would have said right on the box “Must be unlocked”. etc.*

      I still don’t see a difference. My New Super Mario Bros. box says that the game has 8 worlds – but it doesn’t. It has one. Sure, more become ‘unlocked’, but I only have one at the beginning. I bought LostMagic for the DS a couple of days ago which proudly boasts “over 400 spells!” right on the box, but I’ve played for several hours now and only have a whopping 6. Should we accuse Pokemon of deceptive advertising because they advertise that hundreds of creatures are available in their games, but you only start out with one?

    9. Derrick Schommer Says:

      To me it sounds like a poor implementation of a design that’s been around for ages and works well in most cases.

      I just don’t see the big deal if you progress through the game to unlock songs. I do see a big deal with the good songs being “hard” to unlock (super awesome gameplay, etc). That ruin’s the casual nature of it.

      A game, by nature, has a set of goals, objectives and challenges. As a reward you are given new goals with typically more challenge.

      The unfortunate part is, what are the “good” songs you get and which are the “sucky” ones – it’s all relative. Maybe they should let you choose the five or ten you get up front (based on your taste) and then unlock others as you go.

      Just seems to me that it could have been done “right.” Unless, of course, you’re as upset about unlocking as you are and don’t want to tolerate it ever. I just don’t see that perspective.

    10. jonahfalcon Says:

      That’s not an argument. (laugh) For one, don’t compare levels to songs. They’re completely different. People have different tastes in music – they’ll buy Guitar Hero II for one song alone – can you imagine anyone buying Halo for the Swamp Level alone? Songs are independent entities – all the levels in a game are made by the same devs. You don’t “unlock” levels any more than you “unlock” new Ms. Pac-Man boards. They’re part of a progression.

      Dance Dance Revolution is a MUCH more comparable game.

    11. Mike B Says:

      If you want songs… go buy the CDs… nothing locked on there, you can slide it into your player, skip ahead to the track you really want, and you’re all set…
      but if you want to play a game… then play the game the way the author/designer designed it, or keep your money…

    12. Devin Grimes Says:

      $90 for one song? I think what we’re forgetting here is that it’s the gameplay we are buying Guitar Hero for, not just because we get to “play” a cover of one our favorite band’s songs.

      Games give us a rewarding feeling of progression that is hard to achieve when you get everything handed to you. Ever work hard for some money? Ever just been handed the some money? It’s a completely different feeling, and heightens your sense of enjoyment in the game.

      And still, your argument is that this is illegal, right? Harmonix was lying to us? Hardly so, gamers know what they are getting themselves into when purchasing a game and what to expect. And the fact that this shocks you is just as puzzling to me.

      One of the first retail games ever to come out: Pong advertised 2 player support, but you don’t get a second player packed in with the game, do you? No, it’s a feature packed into the game just like GH’s tracks are.

      I could completely see if they are advertising something that we can never get, but the unlockable songs are anything but hard to achieve. You can unlock each and every song by playing through the easy campaign mode, and you know what? You can then replay them anytime you want, on any difficulty setting.

      Sure, it’s not appealing to someone who has never picked up a game before, who shells out $90 for a game just to play “Sweet Child O Mine” over and over again, but that’s not Guitar Hero’s core demographic.

    13. llama Says:

      DDR is an arcade game. Unlocks don’t work in arcade games.

    14. S Holmes Says:

      I think this is a reasonable argument (and a good topic), but I disagree with Jonah.

      I think the level analogy is good. The box will advertise 15 levels on a game, but if you’re not good enough to get past level 1, you’ll never experience 2-15. People have different tastes in levels just as much as music. I would love to skip every water level of Super Mario Bros., but I can’t.

      It’s about the advertised content, and if you don’t have on-demand access to all the content up front, then I think Jonah’s argument suggests that it is misleading. What makes music games similar to non-music games is that the developers design the game they way they want to.

      In Guitar Hero, they have chosen to make the songs part of a “progression.” If you want to eliminate the unlocking, you change the intent of the developers and the way the game is played. It’s not up to the gamer to decide how to progress through the game. The developers have decided to make you earn certain songs – end of story. If you don’t like it, show them by not supporting it.

      However, there is a valid concern over whether it is advertised in a misleading way. Without going too in depth, courts make a decision on the misleading nature of an advertisement usually after hearing from market analysts and other experts who give their opinion whether it is misleading. These opinions are usually based on consumer surveys and research into the specific market the product is targeted to. So, I guess it really depends on whether you think the video game consumers would feel misled by the advertisement.

      My opinion is that the advertisements for Guitar Hero would likely not be found misleading because of the nature of video games. You’re not buying 70 individual music tracks. You’re buying A GAME that FEATURES 70 individual music tracks.

      But, as I’ve said before, you never know what will happen when you get into court.

    15. lynch Says:

      well ssid


    16. Royal Says:

      Why is this even an issue today and not something that was brought up in November when the PS2 version came out? I guess some people don’t understand that it’s a game and that some of those songs are a rewards for playing well.

    17. Broken Clipboard Says:

      I agree with S Holmes. In addition I’d like to add that through GH and GH2 I’ve found some new bands/songs that I like that I did not know about before.

      The progression of the game allows you to get better and learn new things you have to do (chords, 3 button chords, etc). If you just jumped to Sweet Child Of Mine on Easy what is the fun in that, I can play it with the lefty mode nearly perfectly while I play the game using my right hand.

      And quite frankly the reward of earning those songs and playing them for the first time is awesome. It took me a week or so to get to Freebird once I got to group 8(on expert, which is where I started from the start). If I just attempted to play Freebird from the start what have I earned?

      Complain about the box label sure. But take off the pampers and play the game or do not buy it.

    18. sevon Says:

      So here’s what I’m curious about. I don’t have my GH2 box here in front of me, so I apologize if I’m way out in left field here, but why should they have to specify you have to earn some of those songs? Just because they are included in the game does not mean that they are available from the word “go”.

      Personally, I prefer having to work through the songs. If I could have tackled Free Bird as my first song, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much; by the time you get to the end of the game, you really feel you EARNED that song, and when you finally annhialate it, your sense of accomplishment is far greater than if it had just been a gimme.

      I can see where someone might not like that the songs aren’t all available from the beginning, but to call it illegal? If it SAID they were available from the beginning and weren’t, then you might have a case for false advertising. As it stands, the box simply says the songs are in the game…which they are. There’s no falsehood to that. yes, you may have to do a little work to access them, but they ARE there. They ARE available.

    19. Dog_Welder Says:

      Jonah, you might be more convincing if your rebuttals didn’t consist of “that’s not an argument.” The “songs” of Guitar Hero ARE the “levels” of Guitar Hero. It’s a perfectly equivalent analogy. But I guess that “isn’t an argument” so it isn’t valid, right? I suppose you also invalidate arguments by sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling, “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU,” too.

      And anyone shelling out $90 to play only “Sweet Child of Mine” over and over and over and over again is an idiot. There, I said it.

      Guitar Hero works because of the progression in the game play. As your skill increases, you unlock the next level of songs. If you really only want one song, play until you’re good enough to advance to that level.

      If this practice is “illegal,” then I await your impending lawsuits against the video game industry.

    20. pence Says:

      jonahfalcon, your argument hinges on the idea that Guitar Hero is not a single game, but a series of smaller games, or songs. Your argument may very well apply to some games; Warioware, Mario Party, etc.

      However, if you were to step back and look at the larger picture, I’m sure you’d realize that there’s a logical progression of difficulty throughout the game, and Harmonix probably knew what they were doing when they didn’t let you play Freebird as soon as you opened the box.

      The fundamentals you learn in Shout at the Devil are directly applicable to the finale in Freebird. The progression in Guitar Hero is not put in place to constrain you, the player, but to facilitate your enjoyment of the game.

    21. HaunchesMcGee Says:

      I think if you took this argument to court, the judge would laugh at you, as I’m pretty sure even he/she could get through the game on medium. It isn’t that hard…

    22. Tim Says:

      If the first six songs are too difficult to complete, what makes you think you’ll have any more luck with the rest of the songs?

      Also, this argument is kind of a stretch. I think you had nothing to write about and were desperate to generate some discussion.

      And also, who would pay $90 for GHII and only play on Easy? You should have bought a nice ironing board or a fancy apron instead.

    23. pence Says:

      jonahfalcon, your argument hinges on the idea that guitar hero is not a single game, but a collection of small, 5 minute games or songs. A collection of short stories, rather than a novel, which you should be allowed to read in any order you choose.

      A far-from-perfect analogy, because the songs in GH build on one another in a very logical way. The fundamentals you learn in Shout at the Devil are directly applicable to Freebird, and I’m pretty sure Harmonix knew what they were doing when they didn’t let you play Freebird as soon as you opened the box. The progression of the game is not in place to constrain you, the player, but to facilitate your enjoyment of the game.

      There are hundreds of examples of games with unnecessary unlockables, but Guitar Hero is not one of them.

    24. Robert Says:

      Great, just what we need. More disclaimers. This is easily the first I’ve ever heard of anyone feeling hoodwinked at not being able to access every singular aspect of the game right from the start.

      In the GH scenario, songs are levels, just as someone else pointed out. I understand your “Swamp Level” theory, but it’s ultimately flawed. Now, would I buy, say for example, a Lamb of God CD? Nope. Can’t stand the song. But do I enjoy playing it in GH? You betcha. GH is an interactive experience after all, not one simply focused on “listening”. I can’t possibly be the only doesn’t mind putting up with a song I might not otherwise listen to in order to enjoy a wonderful game play experience. That’s because it’s about the game, not the music. The songs are simply a MacGuffin for the gameplay. I enjoy the challenge of unlocking new songs or progressing to new levels. By this same token, any game that advertises features that aren’t immediately available upon launch should provide a disclaimer. This is patently ridiculous and a horrible precedent. Where do we draw the line? Do we need a disclaimer in the GTA manual telling us that having sex with hookers may lead to the acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases?

    25. dark54555 Says:

      A legal response:

    26. Sirona Says:

      Haha…oh wow. The amazing stupidity in the very idea of this article is making me giggle. I should thank you for giving me some nice fodder for my own new blog, at the very least.

      Funny though, I mentioned you’re probably one of those people that downloads a save to unlock everything in a game -before- I saw you come right out and say you’d use a cheat to unlock content.

      Pathetic, really. The whole point of GH is the gameplay, and I envy you if you really have the kind of money you’d blow $90 to play a cover of one song and expect that others would even consider doing the same.

    27. soggymuppet Says:

      “In order to get the others, you must earn them – and some are difficult to get.


      Why must one have to unlock songs? The consumer just paid $90 for your product, and deserves immediate access to the products that are paid for.”

      Sounds like someone isn’t very good at Guitar Hero

    28. LegalEagle Says:

      I’m really sympathetic to the Guitar Hero 2 thing–I like to play all the songs for fun and my amusement, but I suck. Fortunately for me, my friend played through and unlocked everything.

      That said, please don’t make legal statements without a legal background or some kind of IANAL (I am not a lawyer) disclaimer. The argument just comes off as petty and ridiculous.

    29. Granite Says:

      First of all, if there is indeed someone who purchases Guitar Hero II for a single song, then they are being absolutely foolish. Who would pay $100 to hear (and play) a mediocre cover of one song that they enjoy? If they are willing to throw money around like that, then they are the victims of foolish spending in general, and not some illegal action on the part of Harmonix or Red Octane.

      As for your opinion jonahfalcon, perhaps the most appropriate analogy is this.

      Mr. Smith, deciding that watching television was no longer for him given its strict limitations, walks into his local music shop to purchase an acoustic guitar. He also signs up for lessons.

      Mr. Smith shows up for lessons and is told by his instructor that they are going to begin with theory, instead of actually playing the guitar. It is – after all – important to understand the fundamentals before you dive right in.

      “This is ludicrous,” says Mr. Smith, “My favourite song is Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. I want to start off playing that.”

      “I’m sorry Mr. Smith. With your experience, I doubt you would be able to handle that kind of song,” says the instructor.

      “Well, damn. This is so illegal. I bought this guitar and signed up for these lessons under the impression that I would be able to play Jimi Hendrix, and now you’re telling me that I can’t? I will see you in court.”

      Now there is a good analogy. The reason you have to “unlock” songs in medium in Guitar Hero II is because the game is teaching you how to play. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd is extremely difficult compared to Surrender by Cheap Trick. It is a learning curve. And after playing through medium, you are easily able to unlock all of the songs.

      It is hardly illegal. It is logical. Welcome to real life.

    30. H8 Bit Says:

      If anyone is dumb enough to buy GH2, knowing full well that the game might require *some* kind of skill in order to play, and proceeds complain about unlocking songs, doesn’t deserve the game or the $90.

    31. Joe Says:

      Everyone seems to not know there’s an Unlock All code.


    32. Steven Says:

      I don’t understand your point of view. On the back of the box all it says is “Over 55 rockin tracks, included.” then has a list of some of the songs. I see no deception seeing how every song listed is included in the game. I suppose advertisement is very subjective in nature, After all i have been upset when picking up a bag of chips that are labeled “Now with extreme nacho flavor” and not tasting the extreme flavor with the first bite.

    33. S Holmes Says:

      [This is the post I made in response to Dark54555's "Legal Response" above]:


      Thanks for posting the full version of what I had summarized in the comments to the Game Stooge article. Nobody wants to read something that long in a comments section, but it helps to know exactly what the law is.

      That said, though, who is the “reasonable consumer?” Is it an 8 year old? 16 year old? 28 year old? or 50 year old? The argument in the Game Stooge article could very likely be valid for very young and very old (relatively) consumers of video games.

      I checked the game box and I didn’t see one reference to unlocking game content. That certainly doesn’t mislead me, but I have no doubt it would mislead many non-gamers who are consumers of the game within the definition of the FTC.

      Also, you can’t dispose of the argument by saying simply that even if the box is misleading, it’s not material because all it takes is a few hours of play to unlock it.

      1) That assumes everyone has the requisite skill level necessary to unlock the content; 2) You never know what a judge will think (especially one who is not familiar with games) when faced with the fact that the box reads “over 70 jaw dropping tracks” but only 30 or so are playable immediately. Don’t think for a second that there aren’t a thousand judges out there who will look at this no differently than they do the CDs they buy.

      My personal opinion is that the arguments in the Game Stooge article would lose in court (and I certainly don’t agree with them from a gamer’s perspective and would be mad as hell if someone actually filed a lawsuit). But I don’t think this is nearly as lop-sided a legal argument as some are making it out to be. Cases like this survive (and win) in court all the time.

    34. charles Says:

      I’m often annoyed because I can’t get stuff unlocked, yet I still think this is a really dumb post. It’s a game, you’re not buying a CD. What would be reasonable would be to just say, “don’t list games on the box players can’t access without great difficulty.”

    35. Granite Says:

      Actually, Dark54555′s ‘Legal Response’ was right on the money. There is reason why this would be illegal. Any ruling to the contrary would be appealed immediately and vehemently.

    36. Granite Says:

      Actually, Dark54555’s ‘Legal Response’ was right on the money. There is no reason why this would be illegal. Any ruling to the contrary would be appealed immediately and vehemently.

    37. Exavier126 Says:

      This is sick, is our society so lazy that we need everything in the game unlocked? Where’s the fun in that?!?

    38. S Holmes Says:


      I’m not trying to be rude, but you gotta give some actual content to go along with your comment. What about Dark54555′s post was “right on the money”? Myself and one other person have both posted counter-arguments to what he wrote. Do you disagree with what we wrote? If so, tell us.

      Even Dark54555 didn’t go so far as to say “there is no reason why this would be illegal.”

      Finally, every ruling is appealed and the vast majority do not succeed. So, the fact that it would be appealed doesn’t mean anything.

    39. Shini Says:

      Joystiq’s Justin McElroy misunderstood the part when you said that Red Octane’s inclusion of unlockable content without the specification that the content is unlockable is false advertising and by that, illegal? He must not have that good a grasp of sarcasm.

      It’s a game. You play through a game from the beginning to the end like the developers intended. That is the entire point of a game. Just because you need a special controller does not change the fact that it’s a game.

      I would now like to trot out the slippery slope argument. If we remove the level demarcation, what makes it a game? It would be just like DDR, which is only kind of a game. You pick your song and play it until you get it. You do not experience any rise to stardom.

      How long will it take you to decry the tyranny of having to hit specific notes? Would this type of game be better off where you just mash buttons and strum wildly and it tells you that you rock? I somehow think not.

      As a side note, I concur with Dog_Welder. Anyone that blows 90 bucks for a single song is an idiot.

    40. bbobb Says:

      “Apparently, Joystiq’s Justin McElroy completely misunderstood this article, stating I said unlockable content is against the law. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion; maybe he was trying to get hits for that site, but in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law.”

      Hrrrrmmmm Where might he have gotten that idea.

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”.”

      Oh what do ya know.

    41. Master of 7s Says:

      I must go on record as saying that this is the single, dumbest thing I have read in quite a long time.

      If you suck at the game then quit whining and develop the necessary skill to play competently.

    42. Mike Says:

      All I’d like to know is why jonah hasn’t responded yet

    43. Ian Tomlinx Says:

      Man this article is stupid, I just got Guitar Hero 2 on my Xbox and I love the fact I have to earn the tracks just makes me more determined! Nice one whoever wrote this, what a moron. I felt cheated that when I got Gran Turismo 4 I had to unlock all of the cars it said it had, omg i’ve been deceived, sue them!

    44. tailfly Says:

      there is no merit in the argument that it is illegal. (i am a lawyer… albeit an english one). “reasonable consumer” is not an 8 year old, or a 50 year old. that would be an exceptional consumer. ANY argument relating to them should be completely disgarded.

    45. tomemos Says:

      First of all, I’m amazed only one other person pointed out that there is a cheat code for Guitar Hero that lets you get all of the game’s content right away. No, they don’t package the code with the box, but find me one gamer who owns GH and doesn’t know about GameFAQS.

      But I, knowing about the cheat code, have never used it. The satisfaction at finally nailing “Carry Me Home” and thus getting access to new songs is far greater than it would be if you were just playing it for the challenge alone (for instance, some of the unlockable songs are hard, but I don’t care about playing them because they don’t give any reward). The thrill of getting a new guitar or whatever (the “achievements” you mentioned) doesn’t match it, because you can get stuck on a song and thus gain the satisfaction of finally breaking through. Red Octane chose to cater to those customers who preferred the delayed gratification of having to earn content, rather than those who wanted it all right away. Judging by the game’s rave reviews and monster sales, it seems like they chose the right demographic.

    46. Conor Says:

      The article does bring up a good argument, but an ultimately pointless one, as far as I’m concerned. I play the game because I love playing guitar, and I love playing video games. Combining the two is like a digital orgasm. Complaining that they didn’t remove all the fun by making every song available is silly. It almost seems as though the author is grasping at straws trying to find something about the game to complain about. And being so defensive about it as to belittle the readers is very sad.

    47. Hankosha Says:

      Argh. I look at this topic, and I shake my head. I can see both sides of the coin, both sides of the argument, and yet I can’t help but think that there should be some better way to resolve this.

      As Many people have stated previously, Guitar Hero 2 has tiers of difficulty. By beating enough songs, and by proving yourself adept at those songs, you are granted access to higher tiers and harder songs – It’s like being taught to swim – You don’t toss a child into the deep end and expect them to swim like an Olympic competitor, do you?

      Then again, there are people who have beaten Guitar Hero prior to purchasing Guitar Hero 2, who do not wish to wade back into the water – The see the game as a continuation of the first, an extension of sorts, and they have the experience and want to play it differently.

      So why not cater to both parties?

      Consider – If there was an option for the PS2 version to check for Guitar Hero data and unlock stuff according to how you did in the previous game, would it have changed anything? You’d still have to work to unlock more songs, and more guitars. Guitar Hero 2 was designed the way it was for a reason. You can never truly complete the game – There’s always more to unlock, the challenge of getting 100% on every song.

    48. TreacleMiner Says:

      Why would he think you called it illegal? Hmm I’m not sure. Let’s have a look at- oh wait! I found it:

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”.”

      Maybe you were being facetious – but that’s kind of hard to interpret when you are not face-to-face with the author :/

    49. Chris Canfield Says:

      Other posters have more eloquently said than I could why we went with the system that we did on GH2, so I’ll skip over that for the moment.

      I just wanted to say that we knew a specific subset of players strongly holds this view about gaming. We put in the unlock-all code specifically with the hope of satisfying them. It was the best compromise solution we could find. We also frontloaded as much good stuff as we could, and generally tried to ensure that they had a lot of good options at their fingertips without being overloaded. So while you may still be upset about the progression structure, you can hopefully take some solice in the fact that we were taking you into account in some way while making this game. We always try to do something for this group of players, albeit sometimes more successfully than others.

      BYOROYBYBYBYBYBY – Pal Unlock All

      And if you have any design ideas about how we can further satisfy the needs of this group while retaining a difficulty curve and rewards structure, feel free to e-mail them to me at gamestooge[at] Or start up a thread on, which we more or less all read.

      I’ll check back on this thread when I can, though unfortunately I won’t be able to do that very often.

      - Chris Canfield, Designer, GH2

      P.S. I’m sorry if this gets triple-posted. Something seems wonky with comments today.

    50. BigBoss Says:

      So, should Counter Strike have to advertise that the M4 assault rifle has to be BOUGHT with virtual cash earned in-game, and can’t always be gotten at the beginning?

      No, and here’s why: It’s frickin’ implied. If you got everything at the beginning of a game, it would be boring.

      With no incentive, why would you want to play the game.

      It’s not false advertising, all they said is that is IS CONTAINED ON THE DISK. Not that it’s available immediately. That’s like saying, “This new Mario game features Bowser! (some restrictions apply, see instruction booklet for more details)”.

    51. Delcoro Says:

      “UPDATE: Apparently, Joystiq’s Justin McElroy completely misunderstood this article, stating I said unlockable content is against the law. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion; maybe he was trying to get hits for that site, but in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law. Read the article to see what was actually said.”

      Maybe he came to that conclusion when you said it was illegal.

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal…”


    52. JT Says:

      “[UPDATE: Apparently, Joystiq’s Justin McElroy completely misunderstood this article, stating I said unlockable content is against the law. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion; maybe he was trying to get hits for that site, but in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law. Read the article to see what was actually said.]”

      Here’s your update, where you lie, utterly and completely boldfaced.

      Here’s where you said it was illegal, as a form of deceptive advertising:

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”. Had Red Octane been honest, it should have said right on the box: “To access this song, you must do so-and-so before you can play it.” It should have at least allowed every song to be available in practice mode. What’s next – downloadable content is unavailable unless you complete every song at every difficulty with a 5 star rating?”

      How about, the next time you accuse someone of misunderstanding what you wrote, you make sure you remember exactly what you wrote? Otherwise, shut up. Games have had unlockable content forever. Every platformer in the world operates on that principle, trashing Red Octane for having linear gameplay is nothing new to this industry.

      @Anybody defending this troll, go reread his article. Cripes, you don’t even need to do that; I’ve laid it all out, clear as day. There’s absolutely nothing to be misunderstood, the author called Red Octane out for illegal business practice. Joystiq picked up on it, and brought it to light. End of story.

    53. JH Says:

      Many of these posts hurt my head. (“Having to unlock stuff is dumb.” “No, you’re dumb, it’s just like levels!”) Let’s just skip the analogies and say what it really is.

      One of the greatest parts about Guitar Hero is the multiplayer, in my opinion. Imagine buying it (and an extra controller), taking it home, and starting it up. You and your friend immediately want to start playing together (or against each other). But the list of songs is severely limitted. The game FORCES you to play through the career mode to get to some of the songs it has advertised. But, even worse in my view, is that you can’t get the songs just by playing on the easy difficulty level, even though the songs you will unlock later can all be played on easy.

      Now, I completely understand the analogy that has been laid out comparing this to platformers and their levels. But I don’t think the analogy holds as well as some are trying to make it. Usually, there is some kind of story in a platformer (however weak that story may be). So it makes perfect sense that you need to get through level 1 to get to level 2. The nearest thing GH has to this is the career mode: you play different setlists at different venues. Fine. So, to play the second setlist in your career, you need to survive your first gig. That makes sense.

      However, I fail to see why someone playing multiplayer (or maybe even quickplay, though to a lesser extent) would need to to complete a career, on medium even, to be able to get all the songs. (Most of the songs are missing to begin with. The author said he was limited to 6. That’s just sad.) Even still, completing the career, even with 5-stars (or even perfects) on everything might not be enough for the player to access every song unless he carefully watched how he spent his money (i.e., avoiding extra characters, outfits, guitars, and finishes).

      If you pick up just about any game with INTERNET multiplayer, you’ll find that most (or all) of the maps/levels/whatever are accessible RIGHT AWAY on multiplayer. It’s sad to think that the only reason for this is because it would be difficult to find another player online to play on that map that is the last to unlock. It really is disappointing that the game developers seem to be actively looking to punish (or in other words, withhold content from) the player, even in quick pick-up games and multiplayer.

      I understand that unlockables are a de facto requirement in games today. It really does encourage people to try harder, to compete for bragging rights. But I fail to see why so little content is available for multiplayer from the get-go.

    54. S. Phillips Says:

      People are getting too hung up on GH2-specific aspects of this…
      This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Most of the console gaming I do is with friends when we’re at each others’ houses. When we open a new game, 90% of the characters (fighting) or cars (racing) are locked. We just want to get to the goodness of fighting/racing each other, but we’ve gotta burn a bunch of time going through the single-player missions *that we don’t actually want to play*. Leaving aside from whether it’s unfair or deceptive, it’s a practice that is rude to players who are focused on multiplayer action.

    55. Darby Crash Says:

      You are a moron. This article is completly retarded.

      That is why this game is so fun. The first time you get an Encore you are totally hooked. I wish they wouldn’t show you the next song until you beat the one prior. It makes you try.

      This is exactly the problem I was expecting to Nintendo’s bring everybody into gaming approach. You get these “casual” gamers making idiotic statements because they think they know how games should be made.

    56. kodi Says:

      I still don’t understand why you’d say “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal” if you were going to whine when someone accused you of describing conduct as “breaking the law.” I thought those two kind of went hand in hand. Beyond that, I’d have to say that the Joystiq summary of your claim: “advertising more features than are immediately available is actually illegal” is much closer to what you actually said than your summary of their article: “unlockable content is against the law.” They don’t say that you said that. Did they edit their article after you started whining?

    57. The Dane Says:

      S Holmes:
      I know you think it would be a bad case, so I’m not arguing with you, but you bring up the possibility that a judge could look at “over 70 jaw dropping tracks” and believe it to be misleading (as there’s no verbiage regarding unlockable content). This is probably true, as people without familiarity in a given realm will often make mistaken assumptions about the outlying geography of that realm. But it shouldn’t be that hard to simply compare “over 70 jaw dropping tracks” with the potential “over 70 jaw dropping levels” – as Red Octane clearly views song progression in GH as level progression (i.e., the songs at the beginning are much harder than the songs at the end).

      In fact, most games do this sort of advertising, tantalizing players with potential gameplay. World of Warcraft suggests combat with the Dragon of Blackrock Spire and the undead of Stratholme – tasks that will take far longer for the gamer to get to experience than any of GH’s unlockable content. Half-Life 2 touts “new weapons” – weapons that aren’t unlockable until several hours into gameplay, as they are level specific. Also, if you take into consideration the fact that game boxes, by and large, present screen caps of latter-game content (as, often, end game material is more dynamic than low-level material), there’s a pretty good case that the entire industry operates in a given fashion (operating on the promise of potential rather than the promise of actual availability) and that the gaming consumer, generally, prefers it that way.

      It seems unnecessarily curmudgeonly to read that a game offers 240 songs or 438 levels and presume that a player can experience any of these from the word “Go.” Not that I’m saying you were saying that, but that seems to be the case of the article’s author.

    58. Klopfer Says:

      I understand the point of this post. It’s really annoying for me that I have to drive a small Renault in a racing game when I just want to drive the Porsche which is on the cover. I’m not a lazy pupil who has that much free time to practice, and I can certainly understand that it sucks to play through the easy setting only to realize that you got just half of the content.

    59. BrendantheJedi Says:

      Come on! This redicoulous. You know what, I don’t care if I have to play through like 20 others songs to get at one or two.

      And seriously? Comparing a video game to watching the cable you bought? Jezz, again this is a video game. For there to be challange and you know, fun, you have to have progression. Again I’m agreeing with the guy who said said the New Super Mario Bros comment.

      And about the DVD’s? You know you can’t play some DVD’s because of region encoding. So I guess in a way if you want to import anime from Japan, you need to “sucessfully buy a region free DVD player”

    60. XArchangelX Says:

      Guitar Hero is a particular type of game. I am not building a character, telling a story, or following a linear progression through a game world. What makes this game fun, what this game is about, is Rocking Out to specific songs. They build levels and gameplay into it via the difficulty settings, or have particular Character unlockable, not by restricting access to the fundamental element of the game, the music.

      That being said, I would not describe the box as “Deceptive” or illegal. The content is there, and you can get to it. I disagree with the manner in which they designed the game, but that is my opinion, and, unfortunately, there are no legal consequences for that.

    61. Loki_d20 Says:

      Re: dishonesty and illegality

      No, unfortunately, they were not dishonest nor illegal in their advertisement of the game. You *can* play those songs. Like all forms of advertisement, though, they are not required to tell you on the box how you can play them – in this situation after unlocking them. But, this does not mean that you ‘cannot’ play those songs.

      What you’re asking is for exactness/requirements to each advertised element of the game. This just doesn’t happen – nor is it required – and never will.

      You may not like the concept of unlocking content, that’s fine. But if you could play everything right out of the box, skip right to your favorite songs in this case, how much time would you spend playing the game rather than working to get the stuff you really like? What type of accomplishment would there be for you in this regard?

      This issue is the exact same, but on an extremely minimalistic level, as those faced in MMOs where many people just want to be given the earned items of the game without the effort. CGs in general are based on the concept of advancing, whether it’s going from one level to another, gaining new items, or even unlocking new abilities/characters/options. I have not played a single CG that doesn’t have a level of advancement in it and I don’t see why I would play one considering I wouldn’t feel like I had accomplished anything in the process.

    62. focker Says:

      Here’s something to ponder: Wasn’t it EA that was charging people for “unlockable” stuff in the Need for Speed games if they didn’t want to unlock the extras on their own. And they are handling Rock Band so I’m sure this sort of thing will happen in that game too. EA knows how to get them duckets

    63. oh geez Says:

      whiner. Have you ever played a video game before? I dont know of a single game that says how many levels there are and lets you pick which one to play from the start. Every game has levels you have to beat before you get to other levels. get over it, move on, and stop whining or stop playing video games becuase you obviously lack the understanding of them.

      Do I whish I could play some of the unlocked songs earlier? Heck yeah. Am I gonna cry about it? no, Im gonna play the game and enjoy earning everything I accomplish. You want full credit for beating the game handed to you on a silver platter just for buying the game. Sorry kid, some things in life you have to earn.

    64. Priam Says:

      Unlocking IS full of crap. You know what I have to do every time I get a game that I can see has decent multiplayer potential? I go through the ENTIRE game myself, learning a million different nuances in order to best the requisite tasks, and unlock everything (thankfully, I have the patience and skills to do this, usually)–at which point, ONLY THEN, everybody is free to finally play the game that has been owned for a week at that point. And it’s not even a fair competition, then: I have a week’s head start. But unless I did that, the multiplayer function would be crippled and boring and stupid.

      You can’t bring a level-based game to this discussion. The argument isn’t that all worlds of a single player game should be immediately accessible. Quite the contrary–it’s GOOD that there’s a single player progression, because that means the game gets progressively harder, and so builds up your skill in a way that the designers have deemed useful and reasonable. But not having fully-functionable multiplayer out-of-box is absurd.

      To bring a very odd set of examples to the table, let’s consider fighters. Soul Calibur II came out on three consoles, and my local fighting group burned like crazy through the edge master modes to unlock everything on the Xbox version. Did my GC version later care that we had put in all that time and effort? Not in the least.

      On the other hand, let’s look at something like DBGT: Final Bout for the PSX. Old and kind of a shoddy game, I know, but the notable part to this discussion is that with a single code inputtable from the title screen, everything in the game was unlocked. Everything. You didn’t have to keep a save file on your memory card specifically for it, you didn’t have to work through it again if you’d done it sometime in the past, and you didn’t have to trudge through the process if a friend had done it elsewhere.

      What happened to passwords, anyway? When did they stop being a good idea?

    65. Devin Di Nardo Says:

      While the advertising on the box isn’t the big issues to myself, since the songs are available in the game and no where on the box does it say they are available right off the bat, I do think that there is very little beginning content.

      Hell, both Guitar Hero games have too much unlockable content. I know for a fact there will be songs I will never be able to play because I won’t be able to unlock the songs in the Hard and Expert levels, and because of that, I won’t be able to purchase all the songs in the stores.

      When it comes down to it, I think RedOctane’s intentions with the unlockable songs was noble, but they went overboard, hardcore, with it.

    66. Steve Bank Says:

      I think there is a key part that alot of people above me are missing.

      I for one, dont have an issue with unlockable content, but i DO have an issue when the advertising doesn’t say it’s unlockable.

      Take GH2 for example. it says that X number of tracks are availible to me to play include A, B and C.

      Except thats not true. I slap in the game and it says, sorry only 7 or the 70 tracks we told you about on the back are availible. You have tom complete the game to get them.

      See, thats called false advertising.

      So, i bought GH2 for the easer weekend when i’m having a few old uni mates round to mine. we’re going to pretend to relive our youth and i really fancied us having a go on these tunes. So i have sat for the last 3 days getting good at the game and today i completed it on easy mode, JUST so me and my buds can play this weekend. Only to find out that i still dont have half the songs we’re looking forward to playing!

      I mean, seriously, the advertising said that these songs were availible to me, which means from a legal stand point, availible from the time of purchasing.

      The problem here isn’t “casual” gamers, or first timers; or even us old folks who’ve only been playing games for 20 years (atari 2600 btw). it’s the fact that the back of the box said something that wasn’t exactly true. We can argue that we know what it means, but thats not the type of thing thats going to wash with alot of people.

      Frankly, if the game had said “70 songs availible (7 from start, 37 from completeing easy mode, the rest from harder modes)” then I wouldn’t have bought it. I bought teh game because it said “70 song availible including… and then listed songs”.

      Did GH2 lie to me? no, of course not. But neither was it very exact. And in advertising, missing out key elements is just as illegal as lying.

      Frankly, it’s very deceitful.

    67. Captain Obvious! Says:

      “…in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law.”

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”.”

      Gee, I wonder…

    68. Space Bear Unleashed Says:

      With all respect to your point I think this is the dumbest idea ever.

      If every game let you just skip to the last level whenever you wanted, without any effort- the game would be pointless. The whole foundation games are based on- practicing, getting better, and being rewarded for good gameplay is what playing games is all about.

      People have to stop complaining about GH2, I think I unlocked every song in the game by the third day of owning it. And I have a little cousin (who is not an expert) who loves that game because she keeps unlocking new songs, and loves to replay old ones.

      I could go on, but I’m gonna stop ranting now, just to be polite.

    69. Thad Says:

      There’s a reasonable argument here — the notion that a party game should be easier to pick up and dive right into without a bunch of sitting around unlocking content first — but it’s buried beneath some of the stupidest claims possible.

      The stupidest by far, of course, being the claim that if a company advertises content without noting that it must be unlocked, that’s illegal false advertising.

      Apparently that claim is so completely ludicrous that even you had to add a disclaimer saying you never said it…to the article where you said it.

      But a really hilarious part of your disclaimer that I think the other posters have overlooked was your comment, “Maybe he was trying to get hits for that site.”

      Here’s a link for you, Jonah. It will show you a handy graph which will hopefully illustrate how badly Joystiq needs traffic from GameStooge:

    70. Jesse Says:

      I’m a gamer; it is a hobby I enjoy greatly. I spend a great deal of time and a fair amount of money pursuing my hobby and I do enjoy the unlocking various aspects of games most of the time, but…

      I totally agree with Mr. Falcon on this issue regarding Guitar Hero. It was really weird to get home w/ the game on Tuesday and have my roommates huddle around the TV to see that I could play only five songs to start. This was not really the way I expected the game to start.

      I think a large part of the disappointment that Mr. Falcon and I experienced with this game stems from the fact that Guitar Hero is a different kind of game. GH is a game you grab your friends to fiddle around with and watch you, its a party game. Consequently, I am disappointed by the amount of focus the game places on the single player career aspect. It should be unnecessary to play what is basically a series of single player levels to unlock the core content of the game if the game is designed to be enjoyed by everyone in the room. I have similar gripes with fighting games. I mean why did I have to put myself through that hellish single player mode in Soul Cailibur II to unlock characters so I can fight with my friends?

      Plus, as Mr. Falcon points out, some of the things you need to do are really hard. Medium difficulty is really hard; I dread having to move up to expert level to unlock the last songs. I don’t think I should have to torture myself to play along with Guns and Roses (that’s painful enough as it is).

      I’m not about to say that unlockable content is totally out of place in games like Guitar Hero, but I do think that most of the content should be accessable from the start. The store in Guitar Hero is a great example of what unlockable content should be in this game: you can work for the silly stuff you want (like Trogdor, for example), and if you’re really into the game and a real bad ass guitarist, then you can get the new costumes and other cosmetics. But having to play for hours before stepping in with Ozzy and Black Sabbath in a game called Guitar Hero? No, that’s not really the way I want to play.

      Overall though, I like Guitar Hero a lot. A whole lot. It is a amazing, but the derth of songs to start is a turn off.

      And please note that I don’t have a general problem with levels or unlockables, I just think that most game content should be accessable to all players. For example, in Burnout Revenge, a decent player can get through the whole career fairly easily, but the elite cars unlocked by completing the different map goals can be very tricky to unlock. Now, the typical player can enjoy most of the game, but the hardcore player gets the cool little bragging rights with the elite cars. That seems fair, as does allowing savants able to collect hundreds of dollars in Guitar Hero to unlock new skins, but when you crack open a game that is marketed as being an enjoyable experience for non-gamers, then more of the content should be readily accessable.



    71. Chris Simmons Says:

      Uh… To get those songs in CAREER mode, you need to unlock them.

      If you just want to quickplay, they’re already there.

    72. jonahfalcon Says:

      The reason I haven’t responded yet is:

      1. Getting through all the comments is like reading War & Peace

      2. I’m in the middle of reviewing both Guitar Hero II and OOTP 2007

      3. I’m planning on writing an article following up

      4. Too many of these responses seem to have been written by kiddies who think the article is about Guitar Hero II. It’s about unlockable content.

      5. Oh, and about cheat codes? Why not print the cheat codes right on the box or the manual?

      6. People also seem to think the devs are the ones who do advertising and box design (wrong).

      7. I prefer Dance Dance Revolutions’ mode – every song is available, save a few which are basically remixes of existing available songs.

      That’s it – that’s my last comment here. You all go talk amongst yourselves. :p

    73. William Says:

      For those saying games with internet multiplayer and such, you’ll notice a lot of those games (namely the MMO types) actually do have content locked. Those contents are locked unless you do the game’s progression, both levels and quests. Yes the areas are there, but they are locked out of your reach if you just started.
      It doesn’t mean games with multiplayer capabilities should automatically allow you to have access to everything. Even if not taking MMOs as example, in FPS multiplayer Battlefield 2 for example, you start with the basic weapons etc, and you unlock more weapons which you otherwise might not be able to use normally (picking up from enemies is another matter really).

      Depending on the game types, different rules apply sometimes for multiplayer. For some games, content lock is used as a way to allow players to learn and improve to a certain degree. Imagine going onto a multiplayer game as a new player in a RTS game, you don’t last very long even though you do have access to everything, an experienced player would most likely overwhelm you.

    74. jonahfalcon Says:

      “Uh… To get those songs in CAREER mode, you need to unlock them.

      If you just want to quickplay, they’re already there.”


    75. Jonzor Says:

      I’m still on the fence about some of this article, but one this is for sure… I’m so sick of hearing people ask, “Where is the fun in having access to everything right off the bat?”

      Are you serious? I mean, I enjoy a challenge just as much as the next guy and I’ll DO the insanely stupid stuff even if I just get a little star next to my name and nothing actually USEABLE.

      But in cases like THIS, the fun is in the reward. Remember Goldeneye? Busting your hump for weeks trying to unlock the invincibility code? We didn’t do it because “the fun” was in the unlocking of the cheat, we did it because “the fun” was BEING INVINCIBLE.

      Sometimes, people, the rewards ARE “the fun”. Asking “Where is the fun in that?” is idiotic at best.

      Or maybe I’m just nuts, maybe everyone only enjoys playing the same song over and over until they can do it in their sleep. Maybe you all don’t enjoy actually having a new song. I’m assuming you people asking “Where is the fun in that?” don’t play the new songs when you’ve unlocked them, because for you “the fun” is found in repetition of that one song over and over again.

    76. Video Game News » Blog Archive » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? Says:

      [...] only playable if you unlock them. Though, this may be obvious and even acceptable to some, over at Game Stooge they’ve openly expressed their distaste with this unlocking method. Ultimately they feel [...]

    77. Ian Greer Says:

      So…what you want is yet another idiot proof, lowest common denominator curtailed explanation on the back of the box? Does no one do any research about the products they buy anymore? The song has over 70 songs, the box says it has over 70 songs. It’s your fault that you couldn’t comprehend the fact that the songs may need to be unlocked. DDR is an arcade port, you can’t have tons of unlockable content in an arcade game.

      Speaking of fighting games (someone mentioned it above), anyone remember Tekken? And how you could unlock a new character for beating the game with a corresponding character? HALF of the characters were hidden in that game. And oh jeebus, the character on the front of the box wasn’t even playable unless you beat the game with no continues. The outrage!

      But back to GH2.

      Starting off with so few songs did suck a little, but it was only a little. 20 minutes later I was off to the next tier. Some songs I didn’t like, and didn’t want to play, but I did anyway. Just the same as there are some levels in games I don’t like, but play to get to the ones I do. As far as cheat codes go…you’re not much of a gamer are you? It’s an unwritten gamer rule that you play through a game the way it was intended the first time through, especially one as fun as this. Cheat codes aren’t blaringly in your face because most gamers don’t want knowledge of them unless we go looking for him. Is it too much for you to type to get those ultimate unlock codes for all the games you are too lazy to get through? It’s much more productive to rant about something which is your fault anyway.

    78. Etho Says:

      I’d like to see a game that comes with locked stuff, that you can unlock through play. And I would also like that game to have a simply option in the menu that would allow me to instantly unlock said content. That way, if I wanted too (I wouldn’t, but someone out there probably would) I could unlock the content simply by playing through the game and facing the various challenges. Or, I could just unlock the stuff and simply play the game for the sake of having fun. I know, I’m one of those strange people who play a game for the fun rather than for the challenge. But if you would rather unlock it via gameplay, you can go right ahead. But you just don’t have to, in case you are like me.

    79. Stinking Kevin Says:

      Such great anger; such passionate rebuttal; such poor reading comprehension skills.

      The article never says that unlockable content is illegal. The article contends that listing unlockable songs as featured in GH without noting that they are initially locked could be taken as deceptive advertising, and that deceptive advertising is illegal.

      I am not necessarily saying I agree that listing unlockable songs as “featured” is deceptive advertising, but I certainly agree that deceptive advertising is illegal. I’d hope that even all the many haters here could agree with that.

      The analogy to conventional games with unlockable content is valid to an extent, and I don’t think anyone would consider it deceptive advertising to mention featured content from higher levels on a game’s packaging. However, higher levels in a conventional game exist only as part of that game.

      The songs that GH2 advertises on its packaging exist beyond the GH2 game and are familiar to non-GH-fans and non-gamers. The are recognized by many people who don’t necessarily recognize the GH franchise itself. You don’t have to have any prior experience with or knowledge of GH whatsoever to know and enjoy the famous songs listed on the GH box.

      Ultimately, the primary purpose of GH is letting players pretend to play guitar to their favorite, familiar songs. And that’s why those songs are all listed on the packaging, right? The fact that the songs exist independently from the game is what makes them a different sort of feature than a higher level in a platform game or an unlockable character in a fighting game.

      All this said, I still don’t quite agree with the author’s conclusions, but I’m glad to consider myself in the small minority of posters who actually may have understood them.

    80. Xbox cheat x box cheats 360 xbox360 » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? Says:

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    81. XBox360 Cabinet » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? Says:

      [...] only playable if you unlock them. Though, this may be obvious and even acceptable to some, over at Game Stooge they’ve openly expressed their distaste with this unlocking method. Ultimately they feel [...]

    82. Aaron Collom Says:

      Not only that, but guitar hero’s two scheme of unlocking allows a newbie to graduate from simpler songs to more complex songs, making it easier for them to grasp the game. If you stuck a person with Free bird as the first song they would fail miserably and be frustrated, the levels ensures a person becomes more comfortable with songs without being overwhelmed, I have seen noobs with a fully unlocked chart, it isn’t pretty. They just jump around think the difficulty is the same and give up on the game.

    83. Granite Says:

      jonahfalcon, I think the reason most people are focusing on Guitar Hero is because this is the example that you provided to spring board into your unlockable content argument. Also, you’ve pretty much refuted any other games (RPGs, platformers, etc) that unlock features as a matter of progression as “not counting as an argument”, leaving us with Guitar Hero II and Dance Dance Revolution.

      You are limiting the validity of people’s responses for no reason at all, and insulting them as well.

      Not a very courteous host.

    84. Jeff Says:

      I’m thinking there’s some miscommunication going on here. The vast majority of people leaving comments are discussing the idea of unlockable content in a game – where “game” is defined as a holistic collection of experiences, challenges, etc. designed to be enjoyed from start to finish. Jonah, I think, is miffed because he doesn’t feel that that definition applies to Guitar Hero and similar games – it’s a different sort of beast altogether. He keeps bringing up DDR, which is another game that fits into this type; we could also throw in such crowd favorites as the Mario Party, Mario Kart, and Smash Brothers games – which is to say, games that are played in small chunks by multiple people, and in which there is no storyline to advance. And in that arena, you know, okay, fine – it certainly irritates me to have to unlock the good characters when I play Smash Brothers without a memory card handy. But applied to any other sort of game, the argument very much falls flat.

      By the way, Jonah, stop switching your position back and forth – either have your cake or eat it. You article must be about one of two things:
      1. Unlockable content in games in general
      2. Unlockable content in a small subset of games, represented in this context by the examples of Guitar Hero and DDR
      If you’re talking about unlockable content in games in general, then stop ignoring arguments that draw on unlockable content in games in general – if the point you’re making is that broad, then certainly Mario and Halo are fair game. On the other hand, if you want to deny those arguments, the only reasonable way to do so is to admit that you’re limiting your universe of discourse to only a small chunk of the games that exist.

    85. gzat Says:

      Do you mean to tell me that in order to advance in a game, I have to actually PLAY it? Preposterous!

    86. K. Signal Eingang Says:

      I think the way you put forth your argument is kind of insane, but I agree with the sentiment behind it. I think developers of these kind of games should consider making all the unlockable songs/dances/racetracks/whatever available in a non-scoring practice mode, for example. This isn’t appropriate for every type of game, but Guitar Hero? Absolutely. If they had to, they could still keep a half-dozen top-secret songs you have to acquire through skill, but 37/70 for beating the game on Easy is *nuts* for what’s supposed to be a fun, party-oriented game.

      For those on the other side of the argument, consider another gaming cliché everybody used to take for granted – limited lives. From Super Mario up through the Playstation era, it was taken for granted that you had to beat the game in, say, 3 lives, plus any extras you earned along the way. And this was before most games allowed you to save your progress!

      A trend developed to allow unlimited continues, or make it easier to get extra lives – even a mediocre player could easily pick up 30 or so extra lives over the course of a game of Sonic the Hedgehog. Eventually, though, it dawned on gamemakers that limited lives were an obsolete relic of the arcade era, and the whole paradigm was pretty much abandoned. Nowadays a game that limits the number of times you can die and continue is a rarity.

      You see some of the same kind of movement happening on the unlockable front, now. Some games allow you to get unlockables through skill, but also by simply playing the game a certain number of hours — Smash Bros Melee, for example. Some let you buy unlockables online (not a practice I support, but it’s happening). Some, like Burnout 3, just shower the player with unlockables for practically every button press, and make all but a handful trivially easy to get.

      Unlockables won’t go away any time soon (especially now that companies can charge for them), and are still fully appropriate for some kind of games, but the author is right in pointing out that the practice deserves a rethink.

    87. Jesse Says:

      Going back to unlockable content in a more abstract manner…

      Does anyone else think having a high level of unlockable content (whether that is new skins, jerseys, bonus levels etc) is more valid in a game that is more intended for a single player experience, such as Ninja Gaiden or God of War, when contrasted with games intended for the enjoyment of multiple people in the same room, such as Smash Brothers or Guitar Hero?

      It seems to me that unlockable content should play a greater role in these single-player focused games because in these games, the unlockable content serves as a primary motivator to continue playing. In a game more focused on having mutiple people involved at once, I think having content unlocked by the classic single-player mode is less necessary.

      One solution is to have content unlocked through multiplayer games. I think Soul Calibur III did this; every once in a while you’d unlock an extra weapon or costume or something while beating on your body.

      I think that Guitar Hero is a special case because the unlockable content in question is basically the game. It is not the sort of skin and costume unlocks that prevade most games. If the unlockables in Guitar Hero were just costumes, this thread wouldn’t exist, even if the publisher put “30 unlockable costumes” on the box because the costumes do not affect game play.

      Consequently, I’m feeling more and more that this issue is pretty limited to just Guitar Hero.

      I think one resolution the developers could implement for this sort of issue with Guitar Hero is having, say 10-20 songs initially unlocked and having more unlocked as a certain precentage of the intial ones are completed. This would allow for a sense of achievement as you unlock progressively more difficult songs but also allow for a broader array of starter tunes. I would also make all song unlockable on the Easy mode and would probably count the free play songs as well as songs completed for career mode for this purpose.


    88. RootyB Says:

      Read your article, and you sure do say that it’s illegal:

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”.”

      If you didn’t intend to say that GH was breaking the law, then um… re-word. Otherwise, you did exactly what Joystiq said.

    89. Tearon Says:

      To say that it is wrong to make players “work” to unlock materials advertised on a game’s box would be an excellent argument if you didn’t know what a video game is. Video games are based on the simple idea of getting from point A to point B.

      You don’t, for example, start playing Metal Gear Solid and then throw down the controller in disgust saying “Why am I killing these stupid terrorists, I want to fight Metal Gear! it says ‘Metal Gear’ right on the box so I should be able to fight giant robots from the get-go!”

      It’s the same essential idea. Games are meant to be progressive in nature, and if you really can’t stand the idea of progress then you can get yourself a gameshark.

      If you, for some bizzare reason, purchased GHII (as Falcon’s example speculated) on the basis of a single track which must be unlocked, then perhaps having to bear the wretched cross of playing the game that you have purchased will make the accomplishment that much sweeter.

      Actually, though, if you’re the kind of person who might actually say “Oh wow! This game has Sweet Child O’Mine on it! I’m just gonna play that one track over and over and over! That’s totally worth $90!” then your problems probabaly range well beyond the realm of unlockable content in videogames.

    90. atom Says:

      The guy writing this article is the type of guy that would sue microsoft or red octane because he gets really good at guitar hero and gets the achievement “Start a band already award” then spends his life savings buying band equipment then gets booed off the stage and beaten up because he sucks at music IRL.

      Get a life and please dont call yourself a gamer. FYI, DDR usually comes with around 60-70 songs but 30-40 are locked on average.

    91. Video Game News » Blog Archive » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? [update 1] Says:

      [...] only playable if you unlock them. Though, this may be obvious and even acceptable to some, over at Game Stooge they’ve openly expressed their distaste with this unlocking method. Ultimately they feel [...]

    92. Xbox cheat x box cheats 360 xbox360 » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? [update 1] Says:

      [...] only playable if you unlock them. Though, this may be obvious and even acceptable to some, over at Game Stooge they’ve openly expressed their distaste with this unlocking method. Ultimately they feel [...]

    93. Josh Says:

      Wow, you really are a stooge.

    94. Apa Says:

      I have to agree with Jonah. If you must include unlockables, keep the ratio of unlocked to locked in favor of the unlocked songs. “Unlockables” should be a bonus, not a requirement to enjoy the game. If I pay $40 for my Karaoke Revolution, and only get 10 out of 50 songs, I’m not getting my money’s worth. If I get 25 out of 50, that is more reasonable. The Super Mario analogy doesn’t really work, either, since to get to level 2 from level 1, you just need to get from one side of the board to the other. You don’t have to get to the other side, then go back and kill six additional koopas and activate the secret block and do it all in under two minutes with a high score of 6 million. If I had to do all that, I would expect something a little cooler than level 2.

    95. Hank Says:

      Hey Jonah, do you complain about racing games that advertise what cars and tracks you can play, but you can’t play them until you unlock them? You never have and it’s the same damn thing. You have to earn your way to the top.

    96. jack Says:

      How do you not see the part in your article where you call witheld gameplay illegal?

      You know, seriously, as a gamer of average talent, I partially agree with you. As a gamer, it sometimes cheeses me off that I can’t get at parts of the game that my friends can, but I’ve been experience that since Super Mario 3. Nearly every old NES game required you to progress level by level, world by world. They didn’t even call it “unlocking” things. It was just how you progressed through the game.
      Furthermore, I’ve found that if I have a friend get me through a certain part of the game, or use a cheat to progress, the game is usually too hard for me, or not fun anymore.

      But the little nuances of your article aren’t what bothers me. What bothers me is that you have to insult a person at Joystiq for writing a really fair response to your article. If someone disagrees with you, be a man and take it.

    97. Savvydoc Says:


      The most avid GH fans will play the whole game as the designers intended.

      If your a ‘casual’ player and want all the songs. THEN USE THE CHEAT CODE

      End of story.

    98. Jonzor Says:

      Now… while I’m not writing this in defense of the article, I do have to say one thing.

      To all you people asking “Where is the fun in being given everything right off the bat?”

      Um… could the answer BE any more obvious? Do any of you remember playing Goldeneye and trying to unlock the invincibility cheat? Ask yourselves, was “the fun” in doing the Facility dozens of times to unlock the cheat, or was “the fun” in using it? Personally, I HATED trying to unlock that cheat. Continued repetition of the same thing is only fun for so long.

      The question is idiotic. “The fun” lies in having all the different songs to play.

      Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all you people asking this ridiculous question unlock a song but don’t play it because “the fun” is unlocking it, not using it. Maybe you all keep playing that same song you had to master to unlock the next one.

      Because that’s what you’re saying when you ask such a stupid question. “Where’s the fun in having access to all the songs right at the start?” You’re saying you enjoy unlocking them MORE than you enjoy PLAYING the songs you’ve unlocked.

      Now, I should add that I’ve never played Guitar Hero. Maybe unlocking songs isn’t that hard, I dunno. I just wanted to nip any “Quit complaining just because you suck” comments. I do suck at Guitar Hero, I’ve never played it. That doesn’t change the point.

      Quit being stupid just so you can further disagree with him. Like I said before, I’m not really defending him, but you all are just being morons and someone needed to say something.

    99. Dezmon Says:

      but in no way, shape or form did I state unlockable content is against the law.

      This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising” -Article

      …WHAT? YOU CLEARLY SAID IT’S ILLEGAL! Don’t chicken out and change what you’re trying to say when people stop agreeing with you.

    100. Joe Says:

      So the fun is not in the unlocking of songs, but where is the accomplishment? Do you go through life every single day and have everything handed to you on a silver platter? ‘Cause if that’s the case I’m glad I’m not you. I like feeling like I’ve accomplished something by unlocking every song on the list, it means I earned it and I can feel good about that, but that’s just me. Apparently you’re the type of person who would rather jump all the way to the final boss in Final Fantasy XII instead of fighting your way through every dungeon to earn that ending. Which, in my opinion, makes the game empty and pointless. But then again you don’t like working to earn rewards, do you? So, that’s right up your alley, isn’t it? Have fun impressing your friends with all the content that was just “handed” to you…

    101. Pryde Says:

      This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”. – Jonah

      You are so full of it. To argue whether or not game content should be available at the start is one thing, but to blatantly imply that game developers are maliciously trying to deceive you is just asinine.

    102. cktk Says:

      Hey Dezmon, that’s funny, because if you knew what you were talking about you’d learn that he never said unlockable content was illegal; he implied that stating that you’ll get “all of the levels” or “all of the weapons” when in reality, it’s there, but you have to unlock it to use it in the first place. That is deceptive advertising.

    103. cktk Says:


      The most avid GH fans will play the whole game as the designers intended.

      If your a ‘casual’ player and want all the songs. THEN USE THE CHEAT CODE

      End of story.”

      Because ALL games that have unlockable features always have cheat codes. Jesus, you people are beyond retarded.

    104. » Blog Archive » Unlocka-ballz! Says:

      [...] new comic and post over at Penny-Arcade and came across a link to an article on something called Game Stooge wherein a passably literate writer spelled out his position on unlockable content in Guitar Hero 2 [...]

    105. Cory Says:

      Dezmon, he never said it was illegal. He said the practice of stating that you’ll get something promised, only to have it be an unlockable feature is illegal. And it is. Promising something that you have to unlock is illegal unless stated otherwise.

    106. Darth Meatloaf Says:

      I understand that the basis of the argument is unlockable content, but I just wanted to add my two cents about GH2 and its premise.

      For those of you who actually played Frequency and/or Amplitude, I apologize if this seems overbearing. For those of you who have not played either of those games:

      Guitar Hero 1 and 2 are music games. Yes, they are fun to play with others around and yes, GH2 does have a multiplayer mode. No, GH is not a party game. Multiplayer was added to broaden the audience, but the game is a music game at its heart. Anyone who has ever played any instrument at all understands that you have to start with mind-numbingly easy pieces of music and slowly work your way up to more difficult ones. The first day I picked up an instrument I would have embarassed myself by trying to play something that I considered easy years later.

      You progressivly unlock songs in GH once you have exibited the minimum skill level necessary to play the more complex songs that you are unlocking.

      I see no problem with having everything available at the start (though that is not my personal preference) as long as a clearly defined skill rating system were in place on the songs. That way, if you popped in the game for the first time and chose a “Superstar” level song when you are at a “Roadie” skill level, you’ll have no on to cry to but mom.

      On the subject of “false advertising”…

      I’m sick of hearing people claim false advertising when something is no the way they think it should be or when it is not working out in their favor. I had to stand and wait for a cashier at my local EB Games for 30 minutes because of this woman yelling at them about false advertising because of a sale shown in the Sunday ads being over because they were out of stock – she kept screaming about false advertising even though the ad said “while supplies last”. Why must it be false advertising just because you were too slow to get there before they ran out, and why must it be false advertising when you have to put a little bit of effort into a game to make more stuff available.

      And don’t try to say that medium is hard. The only time medium difficulty on GH2 was hard for me was when I tried it before bothering with easy. Once I played easy, medium was, well, EASY.

      Because I had practiced and increased my skill at the game.

      And besides, when your friend brings their controller to your house to play, do you really want to embarass yourself by being incapable of playing “Killing in the Name” competently on Medium?

    107. Dante Says:

      Well, while I know he doesn’t actually believe its illegal, contrary to what the update says, it IS stated in the article. Looking at the sentances without any modifiers or whatever:

      [previously discusses Guitar Hero and unlocking songs...]

      “Can you imagine other industries doing THIS [refers to previously mentioned topic] sort of thing?…EXAMPLES…THIS [same THIS as before since nothing new was introduced] sort of thing is…[insert adjectives]…illegal.”

      Why did I bother breaking down a few sentences for a seemingly pointless argument? Just that if someone thought you said it was illegal (Joystiq), he had some reason to believe so.

      Good article though, on the whole.

      I’m tired. Oy. ;)

    108. Average Joe Says:

      While unlockable content isn’t a war crime, and makes for lively discussion (just based on all of you angry enough to whine about whining), I understand what Jonah is getting at. Before learning of the cheat code, he didn’t – as a fan of music, I suppose – like the way the game was described or designed.

      The tenor of most of the posts on here is puzzling. You think that Jonah’s desire to play a game the way he wants borders on heresy? Treason? Proof of bad upbringing?

      If it is childish and stupid to complain about something you don’t like, why are so many of you on here complaining about an article that cost you 5 minutes to read?

    109. Joe Says:

      “Hey Dezmon, that’s funny, because if you knew what you were talking about you’d learn that he never said unlockable content was illegal; he implied that stating that you’ll get “all of the levels” or “all of the weapons” when in reality, it’s there, but you have to unlock it to use it in the first place. That is deceptive advertising.”

      First off you’re right, they didn’t say the song had to be available, but they also didn’t say that the song would be available at the start of the game, either. All they said was that you’ll be able to play such songs as “Sweet Child O’ Mine” etc., which is true if you unlock it. That’s not deceptive at all.

    110. Joe Says:

      Had to be unlocked, I mean… Must proofread before I post.

    111. Paedin Says:

      For the record, you DID say it was illegal. Since you seem to be in the habit of repeating yourself so other people can understand you, I’ll take a page from your book;

      Quote: This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal…

      What practice are you talking about? The television show The Practice? My local physician’s practice down the road? No, you’re referring to the practice of… in your own words, “jump[ing] through hoops to access what was advertised on your box”.

      Now, I threw my Guitar Hero II box away… I didn’t know I was going to need it as exhibit A… but you claim it says “the game brags you can play various songs, such as “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”, “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”, “Carry On My Wayward Son”, “The Beast and the Harlot” and “YYZ”.” Again, you claim it brags, “you can play various songs”. Well, I contend that you CAN play those songs… in fact, maybe it’s a form of divine providence, but I just got done playing a 90 minute session of GHII in which I played, just as the box said I could, all the songs you mentioned.

      So let me get this straight; when a game box says I can do something, then I proceed to do it… that’s, how did you put it, “deceptive advertising.” So it’s deceptive to tell someone the truth? Weird, looks like I’ll have to edit my dictionary.

      Oh, and here’s two little nuggets pulled straight from your text that contradict each other;

      “…only 6 songs are available right from the get-go, and playing through the entire Easy chart only nets you 37 of the 70 songs.”

      “getting through Easy doesn’t even unlock songs.”

      Pretty good, eh? And I’m not even a detective.

    112. Pryde Says:

      “You missed the part where I said that they were dishonest and implied the song was not immediately available. Had they been honest, they would have said right on the box “Must be unlocked”. etc.” – Jonah

      People like you are the reason why coffee now has a warning label on it that says it’s hot…

    113. jonahfalcon Says:

      People like me are the reason you don’t get ripped off every day by companies who want to extract every penny they can out of your pocket. >:)

    114. Bryan "SpookyX" Danek Says:

      Guitar Hero is not a Karoke machine. It is a game. What about the guitars or videos that are locked? Are those yours to because you paid $90. People like you should not be playing games. Go get yourself a real guitar with your $90 and leave our games alone.

    115. Adam Says:

      How someone like this gets any sort of recognition as a game journalist, is beyond me, but to the point.

      The majority of people who play guitar hero don’t want to play just one song,(which is what you seem to claim) people who want to learn how to play their favorite songs go out and buy REAL guitars and play their songs the REAL way they are played, not pushing fake buttons in the wrong order on some $90 video game.

      If you are so obsessed with being able to play freebird RIGHT now without jumping through hoops, don’t be such a noob, go buy a real guitar and learn how to play it for real, like all the real artists out there.

      I suspect that this is all just a joke, it has to be. You seem to have picked out a random, highly acclaimed game to pick on. Stating your off the wall assumptions about what you are supposed to get for your $90, just to get traffic to your little site.

      “jonahfalcon Says:
      April 6th, 2007 at 10:17 pm

      People like me are the reason you don’t get ripped off every day by companies who want to extract every penny they can out of your pocket. >:)

      This confirms it is all just a joke, because no one in their right mind would take your advice on what games to buy.

    116. TheDeacon Says:

      People like me are the reason you don’t get ripped off every day by companies who want to extract every penny they can out of your pocket. >:)

      The BBB, Consumer Protection Agency, etc respects your contribution to the betterment of consumerkind and as such, would like to offer you honorary presidency of the Intarweb tubes to show their appreciation for the superiority of your exemplary fraud resolutionary…uhhh…talents…ings.

    117. Kyle Says:

      Most racing games say X “unlockable” cars and tracks and clearly state the starting cars
      Most games with levels say play through X levels.
      Most fighting games say fight with up to X fighters and usualy brag about the unlockable ones.
      But Guitar Hero makes it seem as though you can open up the box and play songs that less skilled players wont ever see
      and personaly after sitting though hours of this game that I hate just so that my little brother can play the songs he saved his money and bought it for. Im pretty pissed at them myself

    118. Matthias Says:

      No, people like you are the reason that corporations have to appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to avoid inane lawsuits.

      I can’t believe that people are still arguing about this.

      There is nothing illegal about “unlockable content.” It’s that simple. If there was, you can bet that someone would have filed a nice, juicy suit as soon as the first game with unlocks came out.

      “What? The box for Pong on my Atari says that I can play with different colored paddles, but all I can select right now is a stupid white paddle! I’m suing!”

      Instead of playing GH2, maybe you should play with something a bit more amusing. Like traffic.

    119. Jackdor Says:

      Unlocking is fun.

      There, I said it.

      It has a real sense of achivement to it, and can add more to the game.

      I remember about 5 years ago playing FFX and trying to unlock all the super-powerful weapons, or playing through Metal Gear Solid, and unlocking the stealth cameo, it was great fun.

      Fair enough this content was not advertised, but I’m willing to bet that any player of guitar hero can reach “Sweet Child O’ Mine” within 30-40 minutes, if you can’t, then, you won’t be good enough to play “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

    120. Outlander Says:

      The problem I see is that developers haven’t noticed that Halo and Guitar hero sell to different demographics. As a gamer for 15 years, I understand how a level works, that whatever is advertised on the back of the box needs to be unlocked and whatnot. In fact, its part of the attraction. I see games as a challenge, something for me work at and fight for without having to worry about the consequences of failure. However, a 45 year old accountant isn’t necessarily going to see things the same way. In his mind, he is purchasing a toy, and thereofre expects to use it however he wants. This type of confusion will only continue as non-traditional gamers are brought into the market for non-traditional games. We think that things should always be the way they were for our first games, hell I remember being pissed with games that infinite continues, but the truth is that the future of gaming is really no longer in our hands. We’re quickly becoming a minority. Granted, we started this party, but our time is fading, and the new kids, i.e. the rest of the population that WE introduced to gaming, are in control now.

    121. Pryde Says:

      Oh, so you’re doing this for me? Thanks but no thanks, I don’t need your charity. I prefer to have the feeling of accomplishment I get after I unlock every song. But if you like having everything handed to you on a silver platter then more power to you…

      And since when was paying a dollar amount for a video game that didn’t come with everything available to me right away ripping me off? It’s not like the content isn’t there, you jack ass. If you bought a game for a particular song that was advertised on the box and the song wasn’t there I could understand where you’re coming from, but the argument you’ve made thus far is just ridiculous. So game developers world wide have to specifically say on the box that all of their content must be unlocked just to appease you? Give me a frickin’ break…

    122. Stix&Stonz Says:

      I have not played GH2, but might. Thats irrelevant. I’m a gamer.

      I came across this page from a link, and thought the article was entertaining, despite its horrible flaws.

      But the REALLY entertaining part was Jonah’s responses. Way to really make yourself look like a child.

      I’m sorry if this is blunt, but you are an idiot. You avoid people’s arguments by simply calling them invalid, or just not responding to them at all. You posted… what… 4 times in the 45 mins after the first comment. And then, when the real holes in your argument appear, you dont show for two days?

      -no, reading these comments aren’t hard. You only really need to read about 10-20 before you see that you’ve lost the argument.

      -you call people ‘kiddies’ in your follow up (the one where you avoid all rebuttals), despite the fact that more than the majority of comments here have been actually very cohesive

      -you’re a goddamn sissy. It sure sounds like the game isnt hard, and lets take a moment to reflect on how many games, console or PC or… any form of digital game, does not have incremental, unlockable content. Which is always mentioned on the box in its full amount.

      **UPDATE. Jonah said that the consumer paid $90.00. The price on is NOT ONLY $89.99 (so obviously he lied), but it ALSO DOES NOT INCLUDE TAX. So now, we see a double lie on Jonah’s part, lets all sue him.

      : You would have been a far, far better man if you’d simply admitted your wrongs. Instead, you just grabbed the exact same shovel, and just kept doing what you obviously know best.

    123. Shift9 Says:

      I think that there’s a good reason why people are getting so up-in-arms about this article. As gamers, we feel a sense of pride at being able to master what others can’t. We get most of our sense of accomplishment from overcoming the goals set for us in a game. Therein, for most of the gamers I know, lies the true worth of the game. For most of us it’s not about how many songs you are allowed to play, it’s about how many songs you earn.

      When someone puts forth ideas that would obliterate this concept and take most of the fun out of our games, we will of course react opposingly.

      You’re talking about reducing a gaming experience to a mindless and mostly unrewarding toy.

      Specifically on the subject of Guitar Hero, another huge advantage of the unlock system is the very fact that it forces you to learn songs that you otherwise wouldn’t bother playing. I have learned to enjoy playing songs that I hate listening to. I probably wouldn’t have ever bothered playing Sweet Child O’ Mine or Freebird because I dislike both of them. However, due to the nature of the unlocking system, I have learned to really enjoy playing both.

      All in all, I think that unlocking brings a much greater sense of accomplishment, and I am in full support of the way that Harmonix has set things up.

    124. Pryde Says:

      “I understand that the basis of the argument is unlockable content, but I just wanted to add my two cents about GH2 and its premise.” – Darth Meatloaf

      I’m sorry, but the basis of the argument is not unlockable content, but the apparent deceptiveness of the ad on the back of the box. Unlockable content may be the subject, but the point the author is trying to make is that he feels he was mislead by the advertisements concerning the game in question. Any reasonable person purchasing a game is likely to understand that some content will not be available right away, but Jonah is clearly not a “reasonable” person. He attempts to draw a parallel to PC gaming where unlockable content isn’t as prevalent, but the flaw in his argument is that GH2 is exclusively a console game, which is an entirely different platform. Unlockable content has been a staple of console gaming for years, any idiot knows that. Show me a console game that has no unlockable content and maybe I’ll take you a just little bit more seriously.

    125. Matt Downie Says:

      He never said _unlockable_content_ was illegal, which is what he has been wrongly accused of. What he said was that advertising unlockable content as though it was readily available is deceptive and hence illegal, which is debatable but not completely ridiculous.
      I know a lot of you might get more pleasure from GH2 as it is, but consider the experience of Mr Causal.
      Mr Casual sees Guitar Hero at a friend’s party, and notices how everyone is having a great time playing it. So he buys a second hand PS2 and a copy of Guitar Hero 2, and sets it up just in time for his own party. He is very annoyed to find that half the advertised songs are not available for his guests to play. He’s never heard of a cheat code in his life.
      Whether he’s actually been ripped off is debatable, but his enjoyment of the game is being compromised in order to provide a more satisfying experience for hardcore solo players. This seems like bad game design. Any game that intends to be accessible should think of the various people who might want to play the game and try to ensure they are all able to get maximum satisfaction from it. (For example, an ‘unlock all songs’ cheat option right in the main menu would probably cover it in this case – hardcore people would have too much pride to use it.)
      It might be good to extend this philosophy to other types of game. Normal gamers might want a Mario game where they must struggle forwards against one obstacle after another. Non-competitive people might want to be able to travel about freely and do what they want. “Ooh, Snow Kingdom sounds fun – I think I’ll go there and play with the penguins.” With a bit of extra work and imagination, a game could offer both these types of experience.

    126. Tchief Says:

      If you are whining about unlockable content, that means you aren’t skilled enough to get it. Which means you aren’t a guitar hero. If you aren’t a guitar hero, don’t buy the game, as it states clearly on the box “GUITAR HERO.” Deceptive advertising my ass. Its hard because all of us who rocked GH1 with our eyes closed wanted some challenges. If you don’t like the game, return it. Even better, file a lawsuit, about how this “content” can’t be “unlocked immediately” (without practice and hard-work). You’d be laughed out of court, and with good reason.

    127. Granite Says:

      Pryde, I hope you are aware that he is going to cite Dance Dance Revolution as a game that has little to no unlockable content, since he has done that many times.

      So, to preempt that (since he has used the argument before) it is worth nothing that DDR is not native to consoles, but arcades, where it would be unreasonable to make people pop in billions of quarters to unlock all the game has to offer.

    128. extrapoint Says:

      Ok, now I only have the PS2 version, but all I can see on the box is “Over 55 rockin’ tracks, including…” No mention of what is/isn’t available at the beginning. (Maybe this has changed for the X-Box version, I don’t know) Does that constitute false advertising? Not in my opinion. This just sounds like Jonah having a preconceived idea of how the game would be, and expecting the developer to specifically tell him otherwise, which I don’t think they should have to. What if I bought the game expecting “Stairway to Heaven” to be one of the other available tracks, only to find that its not in the game? Should I be able to sue because they didn’t list every song in order on the box, so that then I would know Stairway wasn’t in it? No, it just means I made an assumption, and was wrong. Where would it end?

      The issue of unlockable content isn’t a new concept to video games. Its almost a given in games these days. It gives you some replay value, because let’s face it, most serious game players would get bored quickly if they could play through with the rocket launcher/invincibility cheat/Ferrari/favorite song available from the start. Granted, there will always be some people who don’t appreciate the challenge, and want everything handed to them right away. Maybe the answer is to start marketing two versions of games: the original version, and the “light” version, which comes with all features unlocked, all spoilers listed, and a strategy guide included to follow along with just to make sure you never get “stuck”. Haha.

      If you aren’t sure what you’re going to get when you buy something, and you don’t like surprises, you could always be an informed consumer, and do some research before you buy it.

    129. Lord of the Rats Says:

      Dude… Okay, I understand you party game people. It’s true. Guitar Hero’s a party game, and having to unlock everything before playing is a pain. But there’s one thing everyone keeps forgetting… THERE IS AN UNLOCK CODE! To the people arguing about the sense of accomplishment, that’s an argument I agree with; but in the context of the argument, it’s irrelevant. There’s an unlock code, for you lazy dudes… note, I’m COPYING this from a previous post…

      BYOROYBYBYBYBYBY – Pal Unlock All

      BAM! SHUT UP! This is already retarded.

    130. Jack Says:

      This editorial makes no sense. Part of the fun and joy of this game is getting better and better until you can unlock those great songs. If you had everything right away, you’d be overwhelmed and the songs would lose their flavor. It’s like that cheat in Doom that gave you every weapon and power. The game lost its flavor. You have everything already, why play?

    131. Derrick Schommer Says:


      Although I enjoy most of the responses, all responses go into a queue for approval. If all you want to say is a one word expletive or throw curses with no actual rebuttals it will be deleted.

      Not everyone will agree with Jonah, that’s fine, but “you’re a ______head” or “you ____ ____bag you’re a _____ ____head so ____off” just isn’t going to cut the definition of an intelligent rebuttle :)

      Sorry. If you want to tell someone you disagree, do it in a mature manner.

    132. jonahfalcon Says:

      Let me put this simply:

      Yes, Guitar Hero II is a GAME. A *game*. Which means, I *play*. I do not *work*. I want to *enjoy* myself. I want to do what *I* want to do.

      You see, most kiddies under 23 don’t seem to understand that people play games to have fun. Fun is subjective. However, I have a limited time to play games, so I wantto get maximum enjoyment out of my gameplaying.

      Kiddies treat these games like jobs. They don’t actually HAVE jobs yet.

      Dance Dance Revolution allows you to play nearly every song you desire, regardless of difficulty. Does that mean people will just want to play every song at Easy? Of course not.

      There is a career mode. That’s nice. I’ll do the career mode. I enjoy it. But if I just want to play Free Bird immediately, I should be allowed to. I paid $90. I deserve it.

      And this doesn’t apply to Guitar Hero II only. Unlockable content used to be put down all the time as “console bullshit” among PC gamers for years. Now that consoles are trying to be computers (hard drive, internet access, etc.), they better grow up, or they’ll be stuck as being considered toys by the rest of the world.

    133. peteer01 Says:

      For those of us with extremely demanding jobs and more expendable cash than free time, being able to play the game the way you want to play it is a bag part of whether or not a game is enjoyable. If DDR only had 6 songs in the arcade, and you had to unlock each song beyond that yourself, I don’t think Konami would have made much money.

    134. Kirk Says:

      This article is the total indication that the casual gamer is totally screwing with what is a completely normal practice in video games.

      Silly person who wrote this article, did you want a stage select on your original Mario Bros. for your NES when it came out, too?

      Where has this world come to…

    135. laugh_laugh Says:

      Who throws down $90 to play one song? If you only want to play “Sweet Child of Mine,” just go to a friend’s house and play their copy (I’m sure they weren’t crazy enough to buy it for “just one song” and already have most of it unlocked). Besides, what happens if you use the unlock code, and try to play SCoM right off the bat? You fail miserably because you don’t have enough practice. Trust me, it’s much more fun to just play the first 20 songs, and then you’ll be up to the challenge of whatever prized track it is you’ve been waiting for. The problem boils down to instant gratification. Show a little character and play the game right.

    136. Adam Says:

      Jonah, you are obviously quite new to the gaming scene, so I’ll explain this for you the best way I can.

      Console video games have one main problem, and that’s that the general consumer doesn’t have to ability to add modded content. So basically, once you beat the game, it’s over, there is nothing more to it, so you put the game on the shelf, or take it back to Funcoland to trade it in for a new game.

      The Console Gaming industry has a way to counter this problem, its called unlockable content, it adds replay value, so your favorite games have have longer life.

      PC gamers obviously don’t have this problem, because they can add modded content to their hearts content. But the average PC gamer, with his 30 i.q. doesn’t understand that their replay value takes time to get. It’s not there right when they buy the game, it has to be created by someone who knows how to do so.
      Basically they are slaves to the same thing console gamers are.
      Time, and effort.

      The “unlockable content BS” argument has been invalid for several years because of these facts.

      All games work on the concept of replay value.
      If everyone had their favorite song to play right off the bat in GH, there would be no replay value, there would be no reason to play the rest of the game. In effect it would become a party game, it wouldn’t be fun to play by yourself, you might play your song three or four times… but in the end, its just one song.

      So, instead of critisizing the gaming industry for what you blatantly don’t understand, don’t play a game that doesn’t really teach you to play your favorite songs(it doesn’t profess to do so), go out, buy a guitar, and learn how to play it the real way.
      There is no unlockable content with a real guitar, you can play all your favorite songs whenever you learn how to, and in the end, you’ll feel good because you accomplished something. You’ve become a musician.

    137. Mathaeis Says:

      While I can see the reasons for arguments on both sides, this quote reminds me of something:

      “What’s next – downloadable content is unavailable unless you complete every song at every difficulty with a 5 star rating?”

      Someone mentioned Amplitude and Frequency, two games I absolutely love, and two games that I would also love to play some of the songs on a harder diffifulty. But since, like Guitar Hero, you only unlock the next tier of songs for the current difficulty level, but since there is no practice mode, The inability to beat one song I don’t care for mastering (despite having tried) is preventing me from enjoying many others.

      A more potent example is F-Zero GX for the Game Cube. I played this game a lot, and it is very, very difficult. For a time, I wasn’t even aware of the shear amount of stuff there is to unlock, specifically, 10 additional tracks (2 cups), in addition to the 15 already there. I was quite pleased to know this, but that happiness was revoked after learning what you need to do to get them. The 4th cup took long enough, but i finally unlocked it, and love all the courses. But the 5th? I don’t know anyone that can play that good (to get basically perfect scores on every track on the most difficult setting).

      It doesn’t make sense to me there. At least in Guitar Hero, Amplitude and Frequency, you can unlock those extra courses on easy mode. But F-Zero requires you to be some calculating mastermind before it will let you experience content. Congrats F-Zero team, you may not have falsely advertised songs on the box, but you programmed a lot of content that most players will never unlock.

    138. ryoma136 Says:

      One day you’re going to wake up, and wish you had never posted this. Your logic makes very clear sense, but guess what? Even clear logic can be retarded. When I received my version of Guitar Hero 2, I expected to have good fun unlocking all those songs, and then mastering them on harder difficulties. Not having it all there for me, ready to play, and then deciding not to play because it’s not fun.

    139. tokendood Says:

      I agree with jonah(falcon) strongly in this topic. Peoples indivisual age might be a factor in why people disagree with him as well. The bottom line is, if you work a 9 to 5, chill out with friends, and then come home to play a video game, you don’t want to waste your time wading through shit to get to the good part. Ask anyone who has ever “quit” an MMO and quite a few will probably tell you it had “too much grinding”. This is a music game, if you dislike tracks 1 to 8 should you be forced to listen too, AND play through them? Over and over again? To ‘unlock’ more songs? The box never stated that you MUST ‘unlock’ the other 60 tracks! Let’s look at it like this: you’ve just bought this game, you have 30 minutes before dinner (or whatever) and you load this up for the 1st time then BAM! You have like 10songs? What about the 70 songs promised on the box?! This is not a racing game, or a platform game, this is a music game. I can play Super Mario Bros on mute and it won’t affect me at all. Playing GH2 on mute is very counter productive. And for those of you who do want to compare GH2 to Super Mario Bros, all the stages should be unlocked by default. Why? because we play videogames for “fun”. Losing on a stage that is above my skill level and then being spammed with a “Game Over” screen is not my idea of “fun”.

    140. Amanda Says:

      okay, I admit: the main reason I bought GH2 was for Thunderhorse. It’s one of those songs that you have to first UNLOCK the honor, then BUY IT.
      Now that that’s out, I also knew there were a TON of other songs that I liked on there. Even though I had to start on Medium (I had only played GH1 once before), I went through, and unlocked all of the songs. Once I finished Medium, I moved on to Hard, in which, I had to unlock the same songs OVER again. I totally didn’t mind at all. I knew I would have to do that to get better, and it’s not like I spent HOURS playing it to beat these songs. On medium, I played most of the songs only once. Same with Hard, up until Carry Me Home. It took me a total of 1 1/2 months, playing no more than 3 hours a week, to beat both Medium and Hard.

      If you’re going to play the game, even for one song, you should already know that you will have to unlock the songs. I would have understood if this argument came out after the FIRST GuitarHero was released, but this is pretty ridiculous. You should have expected it, it’s basically the same game set-up, with new songs, and MUCH better multi-player levels.

      Yes, I am a 14 year old girl. I don’t appreciate the continuous “kiddie” comments. I’d just like to add, I could probably kick your butt at GH, because you probably suck beyond belief which is why you posted this whole article.

    141. Keith Says:

      I don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said here already, except to reiterate the ridiculousness of this post. Writer’s block in action.

    142. Josh Says:

      I totally agree with the author of this article. I am considering buying a PS2 JUST to play GH2 on and specifically just War Pigs. Now that I know that I might have to play a couple of hours worth of other lame songs, I am beginning to reconsider my decision.

    143. DjYomatto Says:

      Are these just the writings of someone that can’t play Guitar Hero and is too lazy to do any sort of work?
      “and some are difficult to get”
      I don’t know your age but my kid brother (15) is currently working on getting through Extreme after already beating easy, medium, and hard. This is a game of skill and if you don’t have them from the get go, there is no way you’ll stand a chance at the level of difficulty of the unlockable songs that you so detest.
      If you want the songs go unlock, ahem, buy, the cds on which they reside on. Otherwise, if you really ARE looking for a gaming experience, go buy GTA, get the codes off the net, and aimlessly run around without any point.
      As for me, I will suck it up and work to get what I want.

    144. GameJunkieJim Says:

      so, jonah… what about those of the age of 30, who appreciates having something to look forward to in a game?

      Please, for goodness sake, shut up. You speak for NO ONE but yourself. You bring up arguments that are at best lacking, and presume to speak as an adult, trying to belittle a gaming population which is actually of a mean age older than your 23.

      For $90, I want a game that’s going to keep me interested, as in “I wonder what this encore will be?!” or, “If I beat this, I can get this” to have everything availiable at the outset severely limits my fun.

    145. Francotirador Says:

      Man, you’re the one who’s misleading things. You actually SAID that unlockable content is illegal (explicitly) as deceptive advertising.

      To be honest, I think that’s you who’s trying to get more hits (Joystiq doesn’t need anymore, really) creating an artificial arguing.

      In fact, why I’m here reading this nonsense? :)

    146. Scrubking Says:

      This is the lamest argument I have ever heard, and one of the longest, most ridiculous rants I have witnessed.

      If you don’t like the game review it, give it a bad score and tell everyone why you hated it, but posting about how it is illegal or kiddie to put unlockable content in a game just makes you look like the kiddies you talk so much about.

      Honestly, did you just start playing games yesterday? Unlockable content has been a standard industry practice forever, and while it can be done poorly it hardly equates to false advertising.

      You contend that music is different than a level. Well, it’s not if the developers choose to make it so, and apparently that is what they’ve done in this game. You don’t have to like it, but going on a rant about illegality and false advertising is crazy – which is what you look like right now.

    147. Zack Says:

      If you don’t like they way guitar hero is set up with the unlocking of songs as levels…then don’t spend the $90 on it. You had warning ahead of time with guitar hero I as to how the game set-up would be, so don’t complain.

    148. Jonathan Hartley Says:

      >> here’s your cable access. Now, in order to watch…

      …you have to watch twenty minutes of adverts for every hour of t.v?

      Oh, wait! They ALREADY do that!

    149. Dana Says:

      This is such a non-issue. So if they just put one the box 70 songs are available unless you are so lame you can’t play a toy guitar on easy :)

      Anyone who wants to play the majority of the songs can. There is nothing illegal about not putting that on the box.

      I suppose if the publisher wanted an “out” they could have a phone number on the box that says: If you are a total lame player and you want to unlock all the songs, call this number and we will give you a code. There are usually unlock codes for games anyway.

      Talk about hyping an non-issue to get some web hits :)

    150. Jonzor Says:

      Man alive, Joe…

      Did I ever say that there’s no sense of accomplishment in unlocking things in a game? Did I? Did I ever say that’s all I wanted?

      No. My post was a reply to people posing the question “Where’s the fun?” in absolutes, to say that there’s no fun in the things you’ve actually unlocked. I never made the conclusion you’ve jumped to in the name of having someone to argue with. All I said was that sometimes, the unlockable IS the reward, asking where the fun is is to suggest that you don’t actually want what you’re trying to obtain.

      I’ve cut my teeth on plenty of games with no little prize other than just having beaten the game or a platinum medal. Don’t act like you know me.

      “Have fun impressing your friends with all the content that was just “handed” to you…”

      I guess you and I play games for different reasons. If you need pats on the back from your buddies for being so awesome at a video game, then I’M glad I’m not YOU.

    151. Grath Says:

      This is quite possibly the dumbest article I’ve ever read.

      Any game advertises certain things such as bosses you fight and shows screenshots from levels in the game. In God of War you don’t immediately kill the last boss and be done with it. You aren’t instantly killing dragons in world of warcraft. Also upon further inspection of the box there is nothing that says anything about all tracks being immediately available. Pac-man even advertised that you could eat different fruits, but not all of them were on the very first level, so I guess pac-man was also guilty of your “deceptive advertising”

      You don’t seem to understand the basic concepts of modern gaming. You should not even be writing articles on video games. What you’re looking for is a movie or just plainly a cd.

      To put it plainly, you sir are a retard.

    152. Jonzor Says:

      I should add that your attribution of how I feel about some unlockable content in video games to every aspect of my life is… ridiculous. I seriously hope you don’t do this yourself, because I, again, would pity YOU.

    153. Jonzor Says:

      I don’t mean to keep posting but… well… you just left me with so much to say.

      1. Final Fantasy XII, in case you hadn’t noticed, is not Guitar Hero. To skip straight to the final boss is to miss out on the story, which negates playing nearly a Final Fantasy game. You don’t miss out on a story in Guitar Hero. If you skip straight to the hardest songs, you’d get massacred and most likely go find a song you COULD play and then work your way back up. Well, at least, I would. So where is the harm if some people will follow that progression anyway? Why does it matter so much to you purists what order people play songs in? This analogy is worthless, but feel free to try again, I can always use a good laugh.

      2. You… clearly have a much blurrier line than I do between real life and video games. Your comments about “impressing friends” and your completely unwarranted link between how I feel about unlocking content in video games and having things handed to me in real life suggest that a large part of your life as per video games is carried over to the real world which… I just can’t say about myself.

      They’re video GAMES, Joe… not video SELF-IDENTITIES.

    154. Marc Says:

      This is just silly. If there wasn’t unlockable content, I wouldn’t play the games nearly as much (not necessarily Guitar Hero, but other games). They keep you wanting more, they give you something to look forward to.

      If I played Oblivion, and stared at level 100, with all the spells, and all the quests able to be performed right off, that’d be boring.

      If there are things to get all up in arms about, this is not one of them. I played on easy for a bit, moved to medium, beat the game, and unlocked every song, and I did this in just a few sittings. Complain about something else.

    155. Brian Says:

      It’s called Replay Value. If they didn’t make you do this, you’d get bored with this game a lot sooner than if you had all the songs unlocked right from the beginning. It doesn’t bother me one bit, and it took me all of 2 days to unlock all of the songs. Wow, that was so freaking hard…

      This is not deceptive advertising in one bit, all the box says is the game includes. It doesn’t HAVE to say you have to unlock them, aside from the fact that that is obvious to the average person that there would be songs you would need to unlock.

    156. Tony Says:

      “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal: it’s called “deceptive advertising”. Had Red Octane been honest, it should have said right on the box: “To access this song, you must do so-and-so before you can play it.” It should have at least allowed every song to be available in practice mode. What’s next – downloadable content is unavailable unless you complete every song at every difficulty with a 5 star rating?”

      Illegal? You’ve got to be kidding me. Anyone who says that has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Because, “frankly” there is nothing illegal about it. The box says it includes those songs and it does.

      For the record, a false advertisment is one that advertises a good or service that you would not recieve if purchased. It would be a false advertisement to say the disc includes a song that it doesn’t. The game has the song on it, therefore it isn’t a false advertisement.

      How “reasonable” the advertisement is also plays a huge role. Even if the box claimed “if you eat the disc your IQ will go up 100 points!” it wouldn’t be a false advertisement because no rational person would believe it. Reasonableness has a long standing history in law.

    157. Chris Lang Says:

      I agree with many of the others, it’s like a level system. This is no different than DDR except for the fact that it is way easier to get songs on Guitar Hero. On DDR it is like play 50 songs to unlock this or get an A rating on 10 songs. On Guitar Hero it is simply beat 5 and you get 5 more. Then buy more songs with cash.

    158. Duke Says:

      People should really stop posting here. When I was younger, my mother tought me it’s mean to tease ‘special’ people. And of course, Jonah is quite ‘special’.
      Someone who thinks these things should NOT be within 20 feet of a console. What he is saying goes against the entire purpose of gaming in itself. I am very surpised he is allowed to write for this website anymore.

    159. S Hikari Says:

      Honestly, if you’re all too lazy to play the game to unlock those ‘special songs’ that you bought the game for, then you’re too lazy to actually play the game. Go on iTunes, or if you’re really risky pirate the song to listen to it. That’s what you really want to do anyway, right?

      It took me about 4 hours to skim through the entire career… on HARD. And that’s only because I started it around dinner time and had to take a break to eat. Sure Freebird (the final song on Career) is hard, but I beat it the first time with 270,000 points. :)

      Sometimes people open their mouths and spout stupid crap, which is what this article is. Next time, if you have a problem, whine to your mother, and if she won’t listen draw some eyes on a loofah and complain to it.

    160. Alp Says:

      If people are buying the game for just one song, getting it right off would be stupid. If they can’t enjoy the other songs, then giving them that song right away would mean they would play that song a few times, would get bored or give up, and lose interest in the game. That makes designing all of those other songs a waste of time. Also, I doubt developers had the whole ‘forgot the memory card’ thing in mind(and they shouldn’t have to).

      And if you think you could play an extremely hard song right away, you should have not problem beating the easy and medium levels. If you can’t get past the easier songs, you would have no chance of beating the difficult ones if you could try them immediately anyway. You would still have to play easier ones first.

      It’s not false advertising or anything. All of the songs aren’t available from the start, but they’re still in the game. It can be annoying, and maybe they were even a little deceptive, but it is definitely NOT illegal.

    161. warplayer Says:

      Cruised by this site cause of digg, and I must say, I am glad I am not a regular reader because this guy is a douche.

      Your argument is flawed from the beginning. He says achiements are there for “accomplishments” and the game should not have unlockable levels….uhhh… this game was originaly created for PS2 which does not have accomplishments.

      Ignore his shoddy argument about unlockable content altogether and you are still left with this:

      “Put another way, if Rock Band features every song available right from the get-go and is reasonably fun, Electronic Arts gets my cash. After all, I’d rather have a product that caters to its audience and doesn’t treat it like bad children who have to prove themselves before they can play.”

      Uhh…sounds like Red Octane already got your money? Wow… I nominate this Jonah guy for Biggest Douche in the Universe.

    162. warplayer Says:

      Wow, what a horrible website you run here when the editors verbally abuse their readers in the comments. Implying that everyone who doesn’t agree with you is under the very mature age of 23 (wow you’re so old) and childish, good job. Awesome.

    163. Stevedore Says:

      I’m sorry you had to play the game to unlock Freebird.

    164. Majuju Says:

      I don’t see how you can say in your “Update” that you haven’t said anything is illegal, when right in the second-last paragraph of the editorial you state “This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal”. This comes after three hypothetical situations attempting to illustrate your point about unlockable content, and therefore, you have stated *exactly* that unlockable content is against the law.

    165. Phoenix Says:

      Wow, okay, this is by far the dumbest argument I have ever read. If you’re handed everything from the get go, then what’s the point? There’s no fun; no challenge. You have nothing to look forward to at all. By having unlockable content the game actually has a point.

      Oh, and by the way, you’re arguing this about Guitar Hero II? Guitar Hero I had a similar box design with several songs listed, so anyone who played Guitar Hero I would obviously not be shocked by this; in fact, anyone who has ever touched a video game would understand this! Final Fantasy games generally say “Featuring over 80 hours of gameplay!” but that’s only if you have the patience to go through all of the side quests. It FEATURES 80 hours of play as long as you put forth the effort. Just as Guitar Hero FEATURES 50 songs if you take the time to unlock them. If it said “Jump in and play Sweet Child O’ Mine” then okay, you have an argument. But the box simply says it features the song–which it does!

      And by the way: if you’re so worried about playing one song because you love that song SOOOOO much, here’s a much more novel idea than paying $90 to play a video game cover:

      Buy a real guitar, take some lessons, and learn to actually play the song you love so much! Yes it takes time, but if you love it that much, it would be worth it!

    166. Phoenix Says:

      Here’s a novel idea: instead of bitching about having to unlock content, get yourself a real guitar and you can play all the songs you want! Put forth some effort, and you won’t have to worry about unlocking anything! Oh wait, but you’ll have to learn how to play, and obviously you want everything handed to you unlocked from the start…which means you’d probably expect to pick up the guitar and have a magic lightning bolt hit you and give you the knowledge to play every song every written.

      WRONG! Just like in real life, you have to work for the better stuff in Guitar Hero. Want better pay? Get a better education. Want the second tier of songs? Clear the first tier!

    167. vector Says:

      I hope you realize that the songs more or less get progressively harder as the game goes on.
      If you’re not good enough to beat the first 7 songs, how would you possibly play the rest of the 63 songs you so badly want to.
      And if you really want to, you could just use cheat codes to get through all the songs and unlock the others. Quit being a little bitch.
      Or maybe you should spend your $90 on a game that doesn’t actually require skill and patience to play, asshole.

    168. vector9714 Says:

      I hope you realize that the songs in the game get progressively harder as you go on.
      If you can’t even manage to beat the first 7 songs, you’re probably not gonna have a lot of fun playing the rest of the 63 songs and having ‘Song Failed’ flash up in your face in the first 10 seconds.
      Quit being a retard, go practice harder, use a cheat and unlock those songs, whatever you need to do. If need be, I’ll even come to your house and unlock them for your incompetent ass myself.
      Or maybe you should give the game back and spend your $90 on a game that doesn’t actually require any skill and patience to play, a-hole.

    169. Scott_berg Says:

      A little late on this, and it may have been stated before, but my only issue with this article it not the sentiment, but the direction it took. You started out by stating “Here’s My problem with GH2″ and then related the issue to other industries. This implies that you are talking about the video game industry as a whole. Not once in the article did you ever state that this was about GH2 and GH2 alone. Should be careful with that, otherwise you might end up with 164 comments about it in 3 days time!

    170. Alex Says:

      I agree with you, Jonah. I’m betting that most people who post here are what is demographically seen as a ‘hardcore gamer’, people who enjoy unlockables, etc.

      At the moment the games industry is mostly targeting this demographic, which is strange, because it’s only a small part of the total audience available out there.

      There are more potential ‘casual gamers’ than ‘hardcore gamers’ and they want to buy a game like Guitar Hero and be able to play it like they want to, as a kind of party game. Nothing locked, direct access. Just play for fun, nothing more. If there is anything they want to beat, it’s their friends.

      Already a few people have posted who view the game in this way. Keep bearing in mind: most casual gamers won’t even read this site, let alone comment.

      So why not just include a career mode? Why not have all the songs available from the start for those who want them?
      Ah, say the hardcore gamers, but this is already possible, what with cheat codes.
      That’s not exactly the same though, is it. Why must this option be semi-hidden? As has been mentioned before, a casual gamer won’t even know what a cheat code is, let alone where to find it.
      And even then, if everyone is acknowledging that there IS a cheat code, why not be upfront about it and make it directly part of the game?

      What’s the harm in having a choice? Why do hardcore gamers feel so ridiculously threatened by casual gamers?

    171. extrapoint Says:

      First, Jonah says this…

      “Yes, Guitar Hero II is a GAME. A *game*. Which means, I *play*. I do not *work*. I want to *enjoy* myself. I want to do what *I* want to do.”

      …then this…

      “Now that consoles are trying to be computers (hard drive, internet access, etc.), they better grow up, or they’ll be stuck as being considered toys by the rest of the world.”

      Well, what’s it going to be? You say you play video games to have fun (which sounds suspiciously like a toy), then you say consoles need to grow and stop being toys. Computers are tools that have hundreds of different applications, only one of which is gaming. Consoles have been specifically made to play games. Everything else is an afterthought, so console and computer games are bound to be set up differently. If you can’t handle devoting extra time to console games to unlock what you want, don’t buy them! Even then, PC games still have unlockable content of one form or another, and I haven’t heard too many PC gamers calling BS on it. Back in the day, you didn’t play Doom starting off with the BFG 9000 (unless you cheated), and you don’t start World of Warcraft on the highest level, with all of the best weapons, armor, and spells available. You still have to work/play to get them. Its just part of the experience. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, play something else.

      Not to mention the fact that you keep shooting down everyone’s arguments with “this doesn’t apply to GH2 only”, while bringing most (if not all) of your counter-arguments back to DDR. Double standard?

    172. EBT Says:

      Not only a double standard but an inacurate one too.

    173. GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? [update 1] » XBox Game Players » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? [update 1] Says:

      [...] only playable if you unlock them. Though, this may be obvious and even acceptable to some, over at Game Stooge they’ve openly expressed their distaste with this unlocking method. Ultimately they feel [...]

    174. Console Game Player XBox and XBox 360 News » GH II: Shouldn’t we get all the songs? [update 1] Says:

      [...] only playable if you unlock them. Though, this may be obvious and even acceptable to some, over at Game Stooge they’ve openly expressed their distaste with this unlocking method. Ultimately they feel [...]

    175. RDH Says:

      Your argument is a poor one. If you can’t defend it, that’s fine, but don’t sit back and insinuate A) That you’re actually doing something of value and importance, like you’re actually making a difference, and B) That everyone who disagrees with you is a child.

      Since I made a reasonable point, I doubt you’ll respond, but if you do, allow me to get the first half of the argument out of the way right now. You insinuated A when you said “People like me are the reason you don’t get ripped off every day by companies who want to extract every penny they can out of your pocket. >:)” and you insinuated B when you went on your whole “…most kiddies under 23 don’t seem to understand…” diatribe.

    176. Paedin Says:

      jonahfalcon: In regardes to Dance Dance Revolution, “There is a career mode. That’s nice. I’ll do the career mode. I enjoy it.”

      If you can handle the career mode in DDR, which has been hailed as an extremely difficult mode, then you should be able to handle the unlocking of songs in GH2 quite easily. In fact, it should be such a non-issue for you to do this, that complaining about the game mechanics of it is unjustified.

      You never said that unlocking the songs in GH2 were too hard for you, but really, why else complain? Because you thought you were paying $90 for 70 mp3s on a disc? Nah. Everyone knows what they’re buying when they buy GH2… a game, not a few compilation albums.

    177. Superhero Says:

      You seriously need to be told that you need to play the game some to get further along ?

      Do you also read the “Caution: Contents may be hot” warning on your coffee ?

    178. EBT Says:

      But the xbox mission mode dosn’t unlock songs so I doubt very much he has seen them let alone play them.

    179. Juno Says:

      When I buy Warioware, I’d like to have all the games unlocked from the beginning so I don’t have to play the same 10 levels in multiplayer. When I buy Custom Robo, I’d like all the parts unlocked from the beginning instead of sludging through the game to make the Multiplayer more fun. When I buy a racing game, I’d like all the cars and tracks unlocked so I can play them Multiplayer, making it tons more fun.

      But that’s not what you get. You want something, you fucking earn it. You don’t start a challenge so you can go straight to the part you like. This is the sort of instant gratification that this generation craves that’s shitting up decent games for those of us who give a damn.

      Hell, they even put in a way to unlock all the songs for ignorant people like you, but you even needed the instant gratification of complaining about it before using Google for 5 seconds.

    180. Fred Says:

      I think the argument you’re trying to make is that you think guitar hero should be less like a “game” and more like a karaoke machine. Guess what! If you want a karaoke machine so you can sing along and pretend to play guitar, you can buy one for a very similar price. Guitar Hero is a game, and as such it needs to have rules and objectives. If you want everything handed to you all at once you want a toy, not a game. Go buy a karaoke machine.

    181. The E-Man Says:

      I personally agree with jonahfalcon!

      Why would I do the easier songs to practice and gain the ability to do the harder ones! That’s completely mad!

      If I buy something, I want everything given to me on a silver platter, screw challenges, screw “unlockables”!

    182. SilEighty Says:

      I bought GH2 on Friday, and over the course of Friday evening and Saturday evening — with the help of a few friends and a few dozen beers — have completed the career progressions on medium and hard, giving enough cash to unlock every song, the guitars and finishes I like best, and the Grim Reaper as a character.

      Really, guys, it’s not that hard.

      P.S. This game is tough. If you do not start on easy (or medium, if you’ve got a sense of rhythm) and play your way through, you couldn’t handle the tougher songs, anyway.

      On Friday I couldn’t last ten seconds into the high-tier songs on Hard, and could barely pass them on Medium.

      Now I’m working my way through expert, and frankly, the experience of playing this game and progressing forward in difficulty has been one of the most rewarding gaming experiences I’ve ever enjoyed.

      So quit whining, pick up the guitar, and start rocking!

    183. bonnie Says:

      This is an interesting debate. I happen to be 28, and a long time Tekken player. I’ve recently been exposed to GH1 & 2, I’m not very good at it, but I’m not going to get better at it without any practice. (So I’m probably not going to get better at it, at least not any time soon. Not the point really.)

      One argument that I agree with is that if multiplayer is one of the main selling features (such as in fighting games)there should be an open multiplayer version to allow everybody to start at the same level, that would really be something worth seeing. I still enjoy unlocking characters and advancing as my skills grow in Soul Calibur, Tekken, Etc. But it does give me an advantage over friends who’ve not gone through with every character. GH seems to be similar, though I appreciate the fact that one player can choose easy while another chooses expert with GH2, (nice job there Chris et al) at least one person has to be very familiar with the music before everybody gets a chance to play it. (of course you CAN use the cheat code, obviously, but then you don’t have the challenge of going through the career mode if you WANT to).

      The question of illegal advertising is a bit silly. Yes, you’re not specifically told that the content will be unlockable, however as any sort of platform gamer one would assume that there will be some form of unlockable content. However there’s a reason why Hemorrhoid cream says not to eat it or put it in your eyes, there are people who need everything laid out and Jonah seems to be one of them. Common sense truly is dead. I disagree that PC gaming has no unlockable content, I enjoy puzzle games a great deal and I have to get through levels before I can move on to the next one. It’s a simple way of moving through accomplishments and there’s nothing wrong with needing to unlock levels based on skill.

      So the false advertisement issue is stretching a lot, because truly unless it says “immediately available” it’s not lying that the songs are in the game. I think the unlockable content in terms of multiplayer games is a valid issue, while it’s fun to unlock stuff on your own, to have to do it with friends can be dull and irritating. The need to build upon your skills though and get through levels in general is really not a bad thing for the individual player, it really is quite fun for most of us. Trying to improve your own score is a great motivation and can do wonders for the self esteem.

    184. Ithil Says:

      A much better comparison than DDR is Harmonix previous games – Frequency and Amplitude. Both of which start you out with 5 songs and you unlock from there. GH is nothing new in terms of game approach from Harmonix. The only real difference is you have up to 5 buttons and only guitar tracks instead of 3 buttons and voice/guitar/bass/et cetera. Both of these games also advertise on the box songs that you need to unlock and nobody complains about them. ITS A GAME. If you can’t handle playing a few songs you don’t like then you probably shouldn’t be playing video games.

    185. Dave Says:

      jonahfalcon Says:

      “You see, most kiddies under 23 don’t seem to understand that people play games to have fun. Fun is subjective. However, I have a limited time to play games, so I wantto get maximum enjoyment out of my gameplaying.

      Kiddies treat these games like jobs. They don’t actually HAVE jobs yet. ”


      You have “limited time” to play games? I’m 22, have a wife and a 2 month old child, am working 60 hours a week between 2 jobs to support my family, and am working on a portfolio to get into my industry. Despite all this, I have time to play the game, I’ve unlocked all the locked songs, and earned enough cash to buy all the extra ones.

      In fact, guitar hero is pretty much the only game I can just pick up and play for a few minutes when I get home. With any song (save for Freebird) taking on average about 4-5 minutes to play through, your argument that “you have limited time” is total garbage. If you don’t have 20 minutes to play through a set of 5 songs in order to get to the next section, then you really shouldn’t have time to play ANY game, let alone guitar hero.

      This game is NOT a job. It’s a game. A damned fun game. I don’t think most people here really give a damn if you like the way it’s done in DDR. If you like the way they do it so much, go play DDR and shut the hell up.

      I notice you basically refer to anyone who doesn’t agree with your argument as being “kiddie”… Sounds like you’re the only kiddie here, whining because you can’t have your way. When you grow up, let us know. We’ll save you a seat at the big-boy table.

    186. Says:

      Unlocking Content…

      This is something I feel pretty strongly in support of – the fact that currently game developers treat their customers like idiots. When’s the last time you actually managed to finish a game? If you live at home with your parents, sit down. For the…

    187. Brian Says:

      I like the idea of having songs that you have to work to unlock, it gives you a incentive to improve your skills.

      I work at a Wal-Mart, and my store had a display of the First Guitar Hero. I went on the internet and found a code to unlock all songs, but all that lead to was me, and the majority of the customers, playing only a few songs. On Days that I did not unlock all the songs you heard a wider range of songs being played in order to unlock more songs.

      Requiring you to work to unlock songs is a method of increasing the replay value. Basically it works like this: Play a song until you get the hang of it, then take the skills you learned playing that song, and apply them to a new song, and so on.

      I have not had as much Experience with GH2 ans I did with GH1, but if the first time I picked up the Guitar for GH1 I went through and chose “The Breaking Wheel” I probably would not have wanted to play as much as I did. The game is a learning process.

    188. Pryde Says:

      How the hell does a videogame blogger not have a lot of time to play games? And concerning the comment about kids treating games like jobs, well newsflash, numbnuts, it IS your job! You write blogs for videogames for crying outloud! This website is called “Game Stooge”, right? Either play more games and take your job as a blogger seriously or stop writing blogs for them, period. Because, frankly, from what I’ve seen you are clearly in the wrong line of business.

    189. Joe Says:

      It’s funny how you mention that videogames don’t carry over into your real life. I mean what with being a blogger and being paid to write articles about videogames. Just saying, is all…

    190. dante Says:

      side note the code doesnt work ont he 360…
      how do I unlock my songs,,

    191. Jonzor Says:

      Joe… that would be quite the zing if I had written an article for any website ever.

      But alas, your eyes must be as faulty as your logic, because I didn’t write this article. I’m not even here to defend it, really, I just got tired of people saying that one comment over and over again. The rest of the problems people have with this article I feel pretty good about.

      For future reference…

      Jonzor =/= jonahfalcon

      Just saying, is all…

    192. AngryMom Says:

      Believe it or not, like it or not, JonahFalcon’s made a very, _very_ good point here. If the box told me that over 70 songs were available to play, with _no_ mention that any of them had to be unlocked, and I plunk down $90 for that game, I had damn well better be able to access every last one of those songs when I boot up my console. Anybody who tells me I’m stupid for thinking that is himself an idiot who not only is making some pathetic attempt to justify his social ineptness and inability to empathize with others, but is also willing to turn over his legal and civil rights to private companies and who knows to whom else by allowing inferences and implications in areas where the companies are quite willing and able to split hairs
      with us over what actually appears in writing.

      I don’t care how lazy or stupid you think I am, or how much more satisfying it is to work through all that’s needed to unlock all the songs. I don’t even care whether you consider yourselves “hardcore gamers” who would know what I do not presume to know, and I’m no lawyer but… if the box states that those songs are available, the reasonable implication in most courts of law is that all of those songs are available to attempt upon first starting the game. The game company is responsible for setting clear and correct expectations for the buyer in its
      packaging, _especially_ for media such as
      software for which copyright laws prohibit returns or exchanges except in cases of manufacturer defects.

      That was the thrust of Jonah’s argument, in my view (correct me, Jonah, if I’m wrong): I have no problem with unlockable content if the packaging is clear in stating that the game contains it. We must think less like “hardcore gamers” and more like “hypothetical consumers” if
      we are going to improve the practices of game manufacturers and the quality of their products.

    193. Joe Says:

      Then shut your damn mouth and stay out of this, Jonzor. My comments were not directed at you, asshole, so you shouldn’t even be replying to them as if they were.

    194. Granite Says:

      “Let me put this simply:

      Yes, Guitar Hero II is a GAME. A *game*. Which means, I *play*. I do not *work*. I want to *enjoy* myself. I want to do what *I* want to do.”

      If that is the case, then this can be resolved by assuming you do not want to play Guitar Hero II, so stop. Return the game. And be happy again.

      “You see, most kiddies under 23 don’t seem to understand that people play games to have fun. Fun is subjective. However, I have a limited time to play games, so I wantto get maximum enjoyment out of my gameplaying.”

      Guitar Hero II requires the smallest commitment of time that I have ever seen. In order to play the song, it takes as long as listening to the song. So, you play through an entire set list in twenty minutes. That is about the length of a Simpsons episode sans commercials. Hardly a huge commitment of your life.

      “Unlockable content used to be put down all the time as “console bullshit” among PC gamers for years. Now that consoles are trying to be computers (hard drive, internet access, etc.), they better grow up, or they’ll be stuck as being considered toys by the rest of the world.”

      Stuck being considered as toys? I hate to break it to you, but they are toys. They are just expensive toys. That’s about the only difference. If you have convinced yourself that playing video games is somehow mature or dignified, you are mistaken. When we play video games, we’re simply indulging the child inside of us.

      And like it or not, unlockable content is necessary on a console to prolong the lifespan of a game. Otherwise, why would developers devote all their time to making games that someone – like you – is going to throw on a shelf after playing Freebird for the 20th time and getting sick of it.

      I think we’re all having trouble understanding jonahfalcon. Here is a man who doesn’t like to unlock things in video games, he doesn’t like to devote time or money to video games, and he seems to dislike playing anything but DDR. Are you sure you haven’t picked the wrong hobby?

      And for crying out loud, DDR was an arcade game first, console game second. The songs are all unlocked because you maybe play one or two and let someone else play. In an arcade, you do not have the option of hogging a machine to unlock stuff.

    195. Pryde Says:

      “Believe it or not, like it or not, JonahFalcon’s made a very, _very_ good point here. If the box told me that over 70 songs were available to play, with _no_ mention that any of them had to be unlocked…”

      The box does NOT say over 70 songs are “available to play.” What it DOES say is that over 70 songs “are included.” That doesn’t mean they have to be available right from the start.

    196. John Says:

      I love when people who know nothing about the law throw around the term “false advertising.”

      False advertising has a very specific legal definition. I can guarantee that the people who made Guitar Hero employed many very good lawyers, who had a much better grasp of the concept than you or I.

      To call something illegal when you clearly have only the the most vague grasp of the law is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

    197. Nick Williams Says:

      Wow, talk about a lot of stupid discussion! IMO, I want to play all the songs now. I don’t care to play the whole game. They did nothing illegal but it would be nice to have a code that actually works to get the songs. Just like how I like to cheat playing other games, there should be a working code!!!

    198. Pryde Says:

      “Just like how I like to cheat playing other games, there should be a working code!!!”

      There is a working code, it’s been posted several times…

    199. Loren Says:

      That makes no sense think about LIFE for instance, if you always had everything you wanted what would be the point? You have to work for it, and thats the great thing about games, cheat codes.

    200. Joe Says:

      To be honest I don’t even know why I’m bothering with this, but…

      “Final Fantasy XII, in case you hadn’t noticed, is not Guitar Hero. To skip straight to the final boss is to miss out on the story, which negates playing nearly a Final Fantasy game. You don’t miss out on a story in Guitar Hero.”

      You’re right, you don’t miss out on story in GH, but that doesn’t mean you’re not missing out. Believe it or not Guitar Hero does have a linear progression just like the story in FFXII. Starting from top to bottom each song is progressively harder to play. So, naturally, starting from the top of the list will make you a better player just as starting from the beginning of FFXII will help you better understand the story, so the analogy stands.

      “I should add that your attribution of how I feel about some unlockable content in video games to every aspect of my life is… ridiculous.”

      Allow me to explain this, since you obviously missed the point. First off I was not comparing videogames to every aspect of your life (and doubly so since that comment was for Jonah and not you), I was merely commenting on the fact that you don’t get anything in life for free. You work hard to earn the things you want so why should videogames be any different? After all, art is a reflection of life and videogames are a form of art. You work hard (but not that hard since GH isn’t that difficult) to earn money to buy extra guitars and songs just as you would work hard to earn the money to buy the game.

      Further more, the whole point of a game is to do something to achieve a goal. In Monopoly you purchase property to force your opponents into bankruptcy, in Risk you build your army to conquer the world, in Guitar Hero you build your reputation to earn rewards such as new songs and guitars. If you take the unlockable content out of Guitar Hero then it would cease to be a game and will instead become a jukebox. I for one would rather play a game than a karaoke machine…

    201. Chiphead Says:

      I can’t believe I read all 200 comments to this thing…

      As others have said, there’s a natural difficulty curve to the game. If you start off playing the hard songs, you’ll suck. If you start with the first tier and work your way up, you probably won’t have to play a song more than once. I know I didn’t. I unlocked all the non-bonus songs (including all the songs on the back of the box) in a weekend. You don’t need to touch the Hard or Expert modes, and you don’t need to get any 5-star rankings or high scores; just pass the Medium (and maybe Easy) difficulty. Hell, you only need to pass 5 of the 6 songs on each tier to get to the next. If you can’t put that much time in a game, you probably shouldn’t spend $90 on it.

      As for unlockable content in general, it’s been around since the early 90s, if not much longer. It’s not going away any time soon, so just deal with the replay value.

    202. Game Stooge » REVIEW: Guitar Hero II (Xbox 360) Says:

      [...] note: I’d already expressed expressed my opinion on unlockable content, which brought a firestorm of attention, even from lead developer Chris [...]

    203. Game Stooge » MTV Weighs In on Unlockable Content Says:

      [...] this is becoming The Story That Won’t Die – as evidenced by the continuing debate in the original editorial. (sigh) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and [...]

    204. Deklan Says:

      Sir, is the gaming-news scene so slow that you must resort to your imagination to create unexisting problems to fill your editorial space?

      And to AngryMom, who says: “We must think less like “hardcore gamers” and more like “hypothetical consumers” if
      we are going to improve the practices of game manufacturers and the quality of their products.”

      I say only: This is one of the best, most fun and rewarding games I have ever played, lady. It’s fortunate for the author to have picked such a well known title to be the victim, no one would give this article a second look if it didn’t mention GH2.

    205. Michael Says:

      I think you’re way off base here. First off, beating Guitar Hero is a piece of cake. If you can’t do it in a few hours, then you’re probably not good enough to enjoy the more complicated songs anyway. I will admit though, when my memory card took a dump and I friends over, I was dissapointed to find that only a few of the tracks were available in multiplayer.

      Secondly, since you seem to know a lot about the law, I’m curious which statutes are being broken by this alleged practice of “deceptive advertising.” Is it state or federal? Please provide details.

    206. J2k Says:

      Lme tell you why I would want most (if not all) of the songs unlocked up front:

      Once or twice a week I used to take the PS2 versions of both games, and my guitars, over to a buddy’s house. Once or twice a month I’d forget my memory card. By the time we were done with that game we were REALLY done with those first couple batches of songs.

      Now on the one hand, if this were a game like Mario, I should expect to have to play through those beginning levels each and every time. For a game like Mario, the JOURNEY matters as much as the sense of accomplishment you get for “winning”. Gamers expect this sort of thing.

      But we’re not playing Mario… And I’m not dealing with gamers. I’m trying to entertain a group of people who AREN’T gamers for the most part. With a game that we have to keep starting over.

      And when new people show up to party they don’t really care about progression or skill sets. They don’t want (or need) any godly developer’s vision to hold their hand through the songs in any logical order.

      They just want a chance to not look stupid, and they figure their best shot of that is a song they know well.

      And instead they get to watch Johnny Rockgod blowing through the sets, trying to unlock as much as I can, and it’s probably the WORST way to introduce people to the game. Then they assume it’s something that REQUIRES a lot of skill to enjoy. But I’ve found when I let them look at the list and just pick a song, karaoke-style, they don’t realize how deep the game is until after they’re already having fun.

      And finally a few comments for the people asking about the legal ramifications of false or misleading advertising:

      The Federal Trade Commission regulates interstate and international incidents. All 50 states have laws for local advertisers. Articles in the UN and other international treaties prove, beyond any doubt, that false advertising, as a concept, is pretty universal. The exact legal definition is deliberately broad because it was designed to let judges and, more importantly, juries have ultimate authority to decide, in a purely subjective sense, what a reasonable person would assume a given statement to mean.

      It’s merely the potential to deceive that is illegal… that is… if the advertising would seem (to a reasonable person) to state (explicitly or implicitly) a material claim that is false, then the advertiser has violated the law. No evidence is required that the deception was intentional, or that the company knew its claims were false, or even that reliance on false information was used to make a purchase.

      What it boils down to is would a reasonable person (not necessarily an experienced gamer) believe that the statements on the box contend content is immediately and competely available, and if so, could that information influence their decision. That’s it, end of legal requirements. No judge would “laugh it out of court” … This is a civil matter that is up to juries, and it’s their entire JOB to interpret this subjective material and resolve disputes of this nature. There are no fines or jail time involved (unless the company refuses to change it’s practices or is considered a frequent offender), usually just a change in the offending advertisement would be mandated.

    207. Jakey B Says:

      Buy a real guitar and play the song you want if you don’t like unlocking the better ones.

    208. Pryde Says:

      “Once or twice a week I used to take the PS2 versions of both games, and my guitars, over to a buddy’s house. Once or twice a month I’d forget my memory card. By the time we were done with that game we were REALLY done with those first couple batches of songs.”

      Uh, you can copy data over to another PS2, you shouldn’t HAVE to take your memory card over every week…

    209. Pryde Says:

      PS2 memory card, I should say, not PS2.

    210. Paul Kerton Says:

      This is ridiculous. I wanna play the last level of Mario Bros 3, but i haven’t earned the right to do that! waaa waa!

      Learn the game and get some skill, what a stupid, stupid argument.

    211. Delli0 Says:

      I also agree. When I saw the box in the shop and seen the various song titles listed I went home expecting to plug in and have a go at War Pigs but I had to complete the easy tour and play half way through medium. At this stage I was thankfull that Sabbath came along but it wasn’t what I had expected when I read the box.

    212. Xamasi Says:

      The harder songs are lame on easy, plus everyone loves a challenge, I would probably retern the game if I didnt have someting to do in it. I.E. unlock songs.

      Wait are you just angry because you cant unlock the encores and 5 extra songs on medium? Sad, ranting for nothing.

    213. SteveJ Says:

      First up, and rather crucially, to paraphrase The Verve: “The cheats don’t work” – at least not on a UK XBOX 360: I can;t unlock all the songs with the code as given.

      OK: I’m nearly 40. I’ve been playing video games for over 30 years. I’ve owned at least one console out of each generation during that time, and a variety of general purpose computers. I presently have an XBOX 360.

      I’ve never had any problem with incremental progression in games. When I first started gaming there was, due to hardware limitations, insufficient size and depth in games for there to be any alternative to a painfully linear progression, if designers wanted to provide a long-lived gaming experience. I was 14 when I used to play ‘Manic Miner’ in my bedroom for hours – and with those old games, you screw up, you’re back to the very beginning: no save points for you. Manic Miner has only twenty, single screen, platform levels. But then, I had few claims on my time. Even then, however, the interest for me was seeing something new at each stage, not “beating” the game.

      I have a major problem with the GH2 method: I’m unlikely *ever* to get to play along with some of the songs.

      I was one of the folks who *did* buy GH2 on the basis that I would be able to strum along badly to tunes I liked. The music was the important thing, not some desire to be a fake rock god (how sad would *that* be?). I realise that in some parts of the world, where musical homogenisation means that “taste in music” is a moot point for the majority, folks may be quite happy to “rawk” along with anodyne dross like Kiss, but I’m not.

      I hold down a full time job, work a fair amount of out-of-hours, have family commitments and, aside from that, have other things to occupy me besides games. I simply do not have time to mess around with GH2 for hours on end, in order to get good enough to unlock many of the songs. So, I’ve paid for something I can’t use, and I can’t say that about any other game I own.

      And before a bunch of “hardcore gamers” give me static for being old, and, like, lame and, like, *sucking*, dude, let me tell you I don’t give a flying stuff about your opinions – I’m talking here to anyone out there in the games industry who may be reading this, and to the makers of GH2 particularly. To encompass as wide a demographic as possible GH2 shoud be “flat” in access terms: it is NOT analogous to other games. There is no *need* for an ongoing challenge based progression, because, as has been pointed out by another poster, the songs existed before the game did: we know what they sound like, there’s nothing new here except the opportunity to combine some music with a bit of gameplay. And if all the songs were available from the start, but you wanted to ramp up your “skills” (yeah, whatever) and “beat” the game by bettering your score, then you still could. Me, I want to fail happily at playing stuff I like, not be successful at playing along with sad-sack 1980′s-style big-hair soft-rock drool. This whole unlockable thing is spurious added value.

      One final thing: the point of a game – any game – is NOT to “succeed” at it (unless you have real-world self-esteem issues, of course). The point is to have fun. GH2, with its restrictive approach, curtails my fun, when it could have accommodated both me and the “hardcore gamer”. Games design companies are never going to get out of the “15-30 male” demographic ghetto – and thus improve their financial performance – till they realise this.

    214. Granite Says:

      Sounds like you need to play an air guitar with your radio cranked up loud Steve J. Why would you buy a game wanting to do poorly at it?

      And also, I don’t see how you can say no other game makes such demands of your time. Even your basic adventure title takes 10-20 hours to beat.

      So, you’re either lying, or you’re running World Poker Championship off of your 360 and that’s it.

      Wiser consumer spending is the key. Research something before you buy it. All games are not made to please everyone.

    215. Pryde Says:

      “I’m talking here to anyone out there in the games industry who may be reading this, and to the makers of GH2 particularly. To encompass as wide a demographic as possible GH2 shoud be “flat” in access terms: it is NOT analogous to other games.” — Steve J

      Who said it had to be analogous to other games? Guitar Hero 2 can be whatever the hell its developers want it to be. Last I checked YOU’RE not the one putting your money on the line on a product you hope people are going to buy. You want a game that’s flat in access then make it yourself. If you don’t like the way Harmonix handled their game then you don’t have to buy it (or play it), and you know what? That doesn’t even matter because there are plenty of people out there who will.

    216. Soul600 Says:

      The idea of the game is that, you’ve started out a band and are at battle of the bands, they’ve decided there set list and you blast them out in hopes of a record deal, then from there you play diffrent live gigs, ending in stonehenge. Like ina real band, The guitarest normally has no say in what is on the set list, thanks to the over bearing lead singer and fussy drummers. Any meal/rock enthusiast can see the fun in it, it’s not about just mastering your one song, it’s ment to be like in a band where you have to play whole set lists. It’s the way the developers though it would suit it most and they have also done it so that the easyier songs come first and build you up for the harder ones. Not everyone has played GHI before and playing threw track by track on easy would be the best solution for them. Honestly a few hours of going at most you can have easy cracked and make your way threw a good chunck of normal.
      Also P.S. Just to end the whole argument:
      Game Codes

      Enter this code at the main menu screen where it shows “Career” and “Quick Play.”
      Code Effect
      Y,B,Y,O,Y,B Air guitar
      B, O, Y, O, B, O, Y, Y Enables hyperspeed
      Y,O,B,B,B,O,Y Eyeball Head Crowd
      OYYOYYOYYBYYBYY Flaming Heads
      O,Y,B,B,Y,O,B,B Monkey Head Crowd
      B, B, Y, B, B,O,B,B Performance Mode
      BYORYORYRYRYRYRY Unlock All Songs
      B,Y,O,R,Y,O,B,Y,B,Y,B,Y,B,Y,B,Y Unlock All Songs (PAL)

      Be happy, How you’ll be able to play any song you like and have aboslutly no challange along the way :D xxx

    217. Andy Says:

      …what is your PROBLEM?

    218. Robbie A Says:

      The codes dont work on the Xbox 360 version

    219. Dantheman Says:

      Ok, first off, this is a GAME. A fun game is one that gets harder and harder as you play. Being able to play the harder songs shows how you have progressed through the game. Second, you can’t play the harder songs first because they ARE hard. You would fail the song, say the games sucked because you can’t beat it, and complain about that. Third, if you are so damn worried about your $90, then maybe you should do some research before you buy it.

    220. jonahfalcon Says:

      Yes, it IS a game.

      A game is not work.

    221. the5thchild Says:


      I already have a repetitive job in my *real life*. I don’t need my *games* to be one as well.

      Btw Jonah, 2 1/2 months and still getting flamed!?!? You sure struck a nerve with all the American Idol wannabes out there. :)

    222. toobzers Says:

      Uh… any of y’all ever heard of cheat codes?

    223. MitchyD Says:

      You can’t unlock songs with cheat codes… can you?

      Either way I don’t buy games to cheat.

    224. Zabijak Says:

      To me you just sound like a whiner. Every viedo game in history requires you to unlock and earn your way through the game. Otherwise, what would be the point of story mode? It just means they wnt you to play the game. Those extra songs are songs for you too unlock, a.k.a. a fucking challenge. If you can’t rock hard enough to get past the easy level then call a wambulence and and return the game. Gimme a break wuss.

    225. PodFlix » Episode 86 Show Notes Says:

      [...] has been some discussion lately on the topic of available game content. Apparently, the Guitar Hero game for the 360 is evil [...]

    226. Caelin Says:

      Why is everybody so up in arms about somebody asking to have the label be honest? Most games that have unlockable content say “includes these things (which are already available)” and “allows players to unlock whole new levels/items/characters/songs/etc.”

      The point is that saying the game includes those songs without mentioning that they must be unlocked is untruthful and can result a letdown (or even a sense of betrayal). If the cover says the game includes those songs with high appeal, but that they are earned as the player progresses in experience or skill–or the cover includes the disclaimer that not all songs listed are immediately available–then no problem.

      Asking for that isn’t whining, it’s just requesting honesty. When you jump into a game, you want to start with what it says on the box, and earn bonuses–not work your way up to what you thought you would start with.

    227. chuck Says:

      hi all,

      i have read thru this post and am mortified that some one would complain about having some fun…WOW!!!…i sold my xbox and bought a ps2 just for the guitar hero series of games…i started with one then 2 then encore and plan to get gh3 as a pre release….i am by far amateur at most…and i love the fact that i have to play to unlock…this just makes me better at the game…im 39 soon to be forty and play with my 16 year old nephew all the time…we have score competitions to see who can get the best…this is like a football rivalry him against me…he is way better at hard but i can beat him on every song on medium…he is my inspiration to play well…its so much fun when he comes for a weekend for me to show him a new song i just unlocked and to let him try and play it…and 90$ for guitar hero????dude i paid less than that for a guitar and all 3 games on ebay…but you know what they say…a fool and his money…lmao…

    228. Lenny Says:

      i will say that you are lame if you can’t get through any other difficulties besides easy. so dont complain. youre the one that sucks.

    229. Radioactive24 Says:

      Well, I may be a bit late to the party, but I have to completely disagree is Jonas. I have the box sitting right here in front of me.

      It says it’s a sequel, it says it has some new features and then, in big letters it says “OVER 55 ROCKIN’ TRACKS, INCLUDING:

      - You Really Got Me
      - War Pigs
      - Beast And The Harlot
      - Crazy On You
      - Carry On Waywayd Son
      - Heart-shaped Box
      - Killing In The Name Of
      - Sweet Child O’ Mine
      - Message In A Bottle
      - Shout At The Devil
      - Surrender

      AND MORE!!”

      Pulled right from the back of the box.

      Now, what does that say to me?

      It says “Hey Jeremy, these songs are in the game. You can play them.”

      I’ll agree to that it doesn’t say I might have to unlock songs, but it doesn’t say that I won’t have to unlock them. ALL IT IS SAYING IS THAT THE SONGS ARE IN THE GAME!

      The fact that you bought the game under a preconceived notion that YOU CREATED YOURSELF that you could automatically play any song that you wanted is solely YOUR fault and has almost nothing to do with the company. They might not have come out and said “Hey, you might have to unlock this shit,” but they sure as hell didn’t mislead you about the songs being in the game, which is all that is says.

      Point is, that you… created this idea that you would start off being able to play any song you wanted. Why? It never says anything anywhere like that. YOU thought it up, therefore YOU lied to YOURSELF. It’s not the company’s fault that you are an idiot who made speculations about a game that turned out to be incorrect and then got pissy about it. That’s all on you, sport.

      Also, I’m going to discet one post that you made that really botherd me and is pretty much the reason I’m writing this post now.

      “Yes, Guitar Hero II is a GAME. A *game*. Which means, I *play*. I do not *work*. I want to *enjoy* myself. I want to do what *I* want to do.” -JonasFalcon

      Good. this is America. Freedom of all that and whatnot. What says you can’t enjoy work? And what says that work is not play? You’re purposefully being vague and it’s backfiring. If you aren’t enjoying the game, then get a new one. nobody is making you play it.

      “You see, most kiddies under 23 don’t seem to understand that people play games to have fun. Fun is subjective. However, I have a limited time to play games, so I want to get maximum enjoyment out of my gameplaying.” – JonasFalcon

      I really, REALLY have to say that this pissed me off. not only have you offended me as a gamer, you offended me as a person. You are telling me that because I’m 17, that I am an inadequate gamer who has no true concept of what gaming is, and that I am stupid. Well fuck you. I have a job, so I can see your dilemma in not having time to finish a game. That’s your fucking problem. Find some time to enjoy a game. On that note, I have school and a job, so I have barely any time to play either, but I fucking love video games. So, before you start to insult large demographs of the population, shut the fuck up and think before you type.

      “Kiddies treat these games like jobs. They don’t actually HAVE jobs yet.” -JonasFalcon

      That’s fucking bullshit. I have never once sat down and said “Okay, today my job is to play Final Fantasy XII and I expect to get paid.” No. Kids see video games as another medium of entertainment. You are just a dumbass who doesn’t remember what it’s like to be a kid anymore. shut up.

      “Dance Dance Revolution allows you to play nearly every song you desire, regardless of difficulty. Does that mean people will just want to play every song at Easy? Of course not.” – Guess Who?

      Dance Dance Revolution is a shitty game, first of all. Take that into note. Second of all, it’s based off of an arcade version, which has very select memory, so
      an unlockable system would be very challenging and pointless to make. With that much access to the public, it’s acceptable to have the desired portions immediately accessible so that they make more money. Guitar Hero I&II, however, is not. It’s centered around single player advancement through a tiering of levels based on developing skills and progressive difficulty. Also, I’m sure if they made a GHII arcade game, it’d have all the stuff unlocked and then they would have no career mode and it’d only be quick play, which is essentially all that DDR is. They are completely different games.

      “There is a career mode. That’s nice. I’ll do the career mode. I enjoy it. But if I just want to play Free Bird immediately, I should be allowed to. I paid $90. I deserve it.” – JonasFlacon

      No, you paid $89.99 with or without tax for the game and a controller. You Don’t deserve to play it automatically. If you had that, this entire article would have been about how it’s too hard for you to play. The purpose of the game is to advance. THAT’S THE WHOLE GAME. Letting you have the holy grail of Rock And Roll from the get-go would defeat the entire purpose of the game.

      “And this doesn’t apply to Guitar Hero II only. Unlockable content used to be put down all the time as “console bullshit” among PC gamers for years. Now that consoles are trying to be computers (hard drive, internet access, etc.), they better grow up, or they’ll be stuck as being considered toys by the rest of the world.” – JonasFalcon

      Wow. You never cease to amaze me. They ARE toys. That’s what they’ll always be. Look at the names; PLAYstation. GAMEcube. They’re for fun, not for word processing, chart making or other shit like that. They will never make a console for the crotchety 32 year-old man like you so he can do his taxes in a fun way. Sorry to break your hopes and dreams, Jonas. And it has NEVER been solely considered a “computer bullshit”. It’s always been in games, even since Super Mario Bros. for Super Nintendo Entertainment System (note the name, ENTERTAINMENT). It’s truly a basis for any game to progress slowly in difficulty, developing skills, and such.

      In short, I already proved to you that it’s your fault that you thought that the songs would be available form the start and that there is nothing misleading about the box or advertisements. That’s all your fault and there is no one else to blame for your stupidity. Act your age instead of the ones that you say are incompetent and are not capable of understanding gaming.

      On top of that, insulting people and calling them stupid (i.e. your reference to younger gamers) is no way to support an opinion and to get yourself to be taken seriously. all it proves is that you truly are a dumbass who deserves nothing more than to be wiped off the face of the Earth so that no drunk woman has the chance to accept your corrupted seed which would placate the continuation of the cancer of society, known as stupidity.

      - Radioactive24 a.k.a. Jeremy

    230. NeverenedingHellfire Says:

      well, wouldnt you want to have the feeling of being able to beat the hardest song on there, even if you have to unlock it? like TTFAF on GH3, i dont like the song anymore, yet i play it CONSTANTLY to beat it alone……..and to get a higher score cause i already beat it, so im working on jordan but thats beside the point, i mean, whats the points in playing the game if you just cheat your way through? i mean on GH3, my dad used a cheat for unlocking everything, and i still beat carrer mode nonetheless, but i hated the starting songs (Slow Ride, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Baracuda, etc.)

    231. professional Says:

      Hello. I think you are eactly thinking like Sukrat. I really loved the post.

    232. Spammer Says:

      Yes they should definitely have all songs unlocked from the beginning, at least for multiplayer. It’s a no brainer.

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