I never got the whole Guitar Hero, Rock Band and their fake guitars playing thingie, which require so much practice to master that you may as well use a real guitar to become as good as Satriani. That's why I love the idea of Guitar Rising, which can use any real electric guitar, from a Fender Telecaster to a Gibson Les Paul. The software teaches you how to play actual songs, tracking your accuracy much like Guitar Hero would do, as their demo video shows.
According to GameTank's CEO Jake Parks, the connection to the guitar would either work "via a guitar-USB adapter, a microphone, or directly to the sound card." He told us that they are planning to release for both Mac and PC.
The cool thing about Guitar Rising is that it isn't a simple videogame, but combines the fun of playing and beating scores to actually teach you how to play the real thing. While they "are in the process of licensing popular rock songs, and we'll announce them on our website as soon as we finalise the deals," there will be different songs for different levels of difficulty to ease the learning curve, as well as different speed settings, so you can start slow and progress until you master the song at real speed. In fact, they say that the song selection will include stuff easy for beginners but also songs challenging for experienced players.
In other words, you will actually learn to play guitar and try to be a Keith Richards-wannabe rather than just pretending to be Jeff Vader pretending to be Keith Richards. If you want to give it a try, they will be at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco to visit us in the OMPR/IBM Pavilion, booth 6241. [Guitar Rising]