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A Broken Rock Band Christmas December 5, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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In 2007, Guitar Hero II had surpassed all expectations and was on its way to creating a whole new genre of gaming. By the end of 2007, everyone was looking forward to the release of not just Guitar Hero III but the game more people considered Guitar Hero II‘s sequel, Rock Band.

Rock Band released with not just a guitar controller, but drum and microphone support. Nowadays every new music game supports that, but it wasn’t until Rock Band that the game and hardware to support it would see a release.

I picked up a full boxed Special Edition of the game in stores the day after Christmas. A Special Edition of the game came with everything, all controllers and instruments. I had already played it with some friends when it was released so I knew it was a great game before I bought it. As I unpacked the game, I saw a notice on top of the box to call the publisher if I have any problem with the controllers instead of returning the game to the store.

I played that game a lot, starting with the guitar campaign. By the very next day the guitar controller broke on me for no reason at all.

Apparently the publisher discovered before the game shipped that the strum bars on some of the guitar controllers were broken very easily just with regular use. To ship out the amount of copies to fill shelves, they shipped the game anyway and figured if anyone had a problem with the guitars, they would just ship them replacements free of charge.

I went through the website provided in the included letter with the game box and told the site I had a guitar with a malfunctioning strum bar. They told me I had two options. They could send me a box free of charge to send the guitar back to them in, and once they got it they would send me a new guitar or they could send me a guitar immediately but it would mean a charge of $130 to my credit card that would only be removed once they received the broken guitar. Well, I couldn’t afford that second option so I choose the first.

I was planning a vacation after the New Year, so instead of having the guitar by the time I got back, because I didn’t get the box before I left I couldn’t send the guitar out until I came back.

The worst part about this was there were no copies of Guitar Hero III on shelves any time after Christmas. The game was sold out in pretty much every store until deep into January, so it was a long wait. I did eventually get a working controller, but by that point I was playing Guitar Hero III.

I had also heard of other people having worse problems, like being sent guitars or guitar boxes for the wrong platform, putting their credit at extreme risk. There was no technical support number provided so if you had any problems with the process you would have to start digging for phone numbers and hope you got through to the right person.

As bad as it was, it could have been worse. It could have been the experience I had with Rock Band 2.