24 July 2014

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'You Rock!' - Party Trend Feature on Guitar Hero


Two words are keeping music fans like Annica Wainwright hooked on GuitarHero. Here, she makes the case for using interactive games at events

Guitar Hero - Aerosmith_aero_1_1280x1024.jpgI used to dream of throwing out my husband’s PlayStation2. Convinced that its only useful feature was the built-in DVD player, I never understood its appeal. But, since the launch of Guitar Hero, his trusty games collection has been gathering dust while me and my friends monopolise the little black box, replica Gibson slung over one shoulder. You see, the game that lets you know ‘You Rock!’ is not only ridiculously addictive, but a sure-fire way to liven up a party.
Take our post-Confex celebrations as an example. The V&E team can usually be trusted to party well into the early hours but after three days on this year’s extra-large stand, all but a few wanted to call it a night after dinner – until someone mentioned Guitar Hero. Within minutes, we’d called cabs, stocked up on booze and proceeded to wake up our sub editor’s long-suffering boyfriend, who thankfully understood the importance of our late-night bonding session. 
Among the first British companies to use an interactive music game at a more organised corporate event was Gcap
Media (now Global Radio), which had a Rock Band area set up at its summer
party last year. Jamie Simon of The Event Studio, who organised the event, says it went down a storm. ‘We set it up in a back room, thinking people might drift in and out but it was literally full all night long. Even those who weren’t playing liked hanging out in there. It made a really nice break-out area.’
Martin Klipp, MD of media agency Martin Klipp Associates, who organised the UK launch of Rock Band, has seen the game used at countless events and confirms they always go down a storm. ‘It’s become a real phenomenon,’ he says. ‘Video games have come out of teenagers’ bedrooms and into the mainstream and are now being played in five-star hotels and at glitzy gala dinners.’
He also flags up another appeal for event organisers: ‘In this day and age, when people are watching what they drink and what they spend, it’s great to have an alternative way to lighten people’s moods.’
And that’s exactly what these games do. We thought we’d died and gone to Rock Band heaven when let loose on the VIP Room at Karaoke Box and it’s always great to see games used in unexpected places. Did you know, for instance, that they’re great for drawing crowds to an exhibition stand?
This summer, we’re looking forward to joining Guitar Hero on the festival circuit and trying our hand at spinning records with the soon-to-launch DJ Hero game. Long may this craze continue!

This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, summer 2009

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