Red Octane Closes


I want to take you back to a simpler time.  It was a time when Dance Dance Revolution ruled the music game scene.  It was a time when music game peripherals were jank, and you could expect to go through a Konami brand dance pad in about a month.  It was a time when you could expect to pay way to much for any peripheral of quality or settle for crap stuff from Mad Catz.

In steps Red Octane and suddenly things changed.  You could suddenly buy basic quality pads for a reasonable price.  I remember buying my first Red Octane pad for a scant $20 with cover and loving it.  That pad lasted me more than two years.  

Fast forward to 2006.  Red Octane decides that they want to expand beyond being a simple quality peripheral maker.  They want to make games too.  So they team up with Harmonix, then developer of Karaoke Revolution and Amplitude/Frequency, to create a little game called Guitar Hero.  

I remember when my friend Sean bought it and we played it for the first time.  You could tell that it was something special even then, and this was before licensed songs and multiplayer.  It was just dang fun, and those guitars felt so good thanks to Red Octane.  So good.

Then once it became apparent that Guitar Hero was going to make a lot of money, there was the whole Activision debacle.  Quick recap of that: Activision bought Red Octane and the rights to the Guitar Hero franchise while leaving Harmonix out of the deal.  Harmonix went on to make Rock Band and Guitar Hero got handed off to Neversoft, the developer of the Tony Hawk games.  

Now we have a glut of Guitar Hero like games.  Apparently they aren't doing so hot for Activision, so now Activision is closing Red Octane.  What does the Gutair Hero name even mean anymore?  The Guitar Hero name means almost nothing to anyone who cares.  Even my friends who don't play games know that Rock Band is the higher quality product as far as content goes.  Neversoft just made Guitar Hero into something that is frankly offensive to anyone who actually likes music.  Activision just shuttered the maker of the Guitar Hero peripherals, which was really the only thing that Guitar Hero ever had over Rock Band.  No one who was orignally involved in it has anything to do with it now.  I guess that Guitar Hero is just a tool to make money for Activision.  

Just seems a little short sighted to me.