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No One Is More Authentic Than Kid Rock

Real guitar game reveals unreal drums and a trio of exclusive acts.

 105% AUTHENTIC
 105% AUTHENTIC

"No one is more authentic than Kid Rock."


As soon as it came out of his mouth, I knew I had to write it down. I also probably convulsed for a second or two, trying to contain myself and not burst out into laughter at the notion of Kid Rock's "authenticity." The man speaking was a marketing dude working on PowerGig: Rise of the SixString, a new three-player rhythm game built around the idea of presenting a more realistic experience, complete with a guitar that has six strings and can actually be jacked into a proper amp, if you like. It's a neat idea that, despite its unique guitar peripheral, seems like it's in the process of going completely off the rails with a fairly sizable authenticity problem of its own.

Kid Rock is one of the three exclusive performers in the game, along with Eric Clapton, who will provide "Layla," and Dave Matthews Band. The game will also include several non-exclusive tracks, such as "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour. Like previous band games, the songs are split up into multiple parts. However, PowerGig has no respect for bass players, as it's a three-player game for guitar, drums, and vocals. I feel that I can't get by this point without embedding this Kids in the Hall video on the subject of bass player respect, so here you go. 
  
   
OK, moving on.

 OH NO WE HAVE ANGERED THE BEAST, RUN!!
 OH NO WE HAVE ANGERED THE BEAST, RUN!!
We first saw PowerGig: Rise of the SixString just before GDC. The core idea is simple and effective: rather than building a plastic guitar with buttons that don't approximate the act of actually playing a guitar especially well, the developers went out and built a real guitar that had enough sensors and doohickeys in it to also work as a video game controller. The result is an axe that can be plugged into an amp or an Xbox, depending on what you're feeling like doing.

By default, the gameplay is no different than Guitar Hero or Rock Band, using the first five frets of the guitar. I got the chance to use one recently, and it's functional. The advanced modes will require you to do more than play it like a Rock Band guitar, and the end result is that the game will have you doing basic power chords, requiring specific string and fret work. It sounds like the note tracking won't be 100 percent accurate to the real songs, though, which seems a little strange. I mean, it's a real guitar, right? Why not go all the way? The guitar's kind of neat, though playing it really illustrated the amount of finger strength actual guitar players have. As a guy that essentially types for a living, you'd think that I would have stronger pinkys... but pegging that fifth fret down took a bit of work.

 Call in an air strike on fun and make sure it's dead with the AirStrike Drum Controller!
 Call in an air strike on fun and make sure it's dead with the AirStrike Drum Controller!
The guitar is interesting for all the reasons you'd expect it would be--it's a real instrument that you can also use for a video game. That philosophy is also why the game's drum controller seems so awful. The guitar approximates something similar to the real thing, while the "AirStrike Drum Controller" is more about simulating air drumming. The kit is essentially invisible, with floor sensors that trigger the in-game actions when you cross their path with goofy, oversized drumsticks that also contain sensors. This means that you're swinging through the sensors with no actual feedback other than from the game itself, and no rebound from actually hitting a physical object. This makes playing the inviso-drums a bit more tiring than the real thing and I also found it to be absolutely no fun. It feels like the different peripherals are trying to answer two different questions. The guitar is extremely realistic and feels well-made. The drum controller feels like a cheap cash-in aimed at people in dorm rooms and apartments--people who would benefit from an entirely silent drum kit.

Anticipating this reaction, the developer's pre-E3 press release attempts to head off this line of thinking with the following quote:

“We know that people may be skeptical of the AirStrike drums at first glance when they see there’s no actual drums and can’t understand how that’s a match to our SixString guitar which is a fully-functioning electric guitar,” said Seven45 Studios Chairman and CEO, Bernard Chiu.  “But we also know that as soon as people sit down to play it, they are going to see how much more real and authentic it feels to be moving much the same way true drummers do when they play, without the limits of the drum kits already on the market. Just like our guitars, the AirStrike drums are a step forward for authenticity in the band game genre.”

HAIR ATTACK, 115% AUTHENTICITY 
HAIR ATTACK, 115% AUTHENTICITY 
Not to be a dick about it, but true drummers actually hit stuff with sticks. With none of that on offer and its big, goofy drumsticks, the AirStrike Drum Controller feels like a bad toy. It doesn't help that the game itself looks kind of chintzy, with note charts that, like Rock Revolution before it, lack any sort of perspective or timing lines. The backgrounds also don't look great, but since it's not a final version of the game, I'll give that stuff the benefit of the doubt.

Authenticity is PowerGig's core issue. You'd think that by offering a controller than doubles as a real guitar, this would be as real as it gets. But the drums dismantle that entire story. After getting a demo of both controllers, I was more confused than anything else. Why would anyone want to play this way when other, more fully featured options are available? And that doesn't even take into account the Kid Rock factor. Hey, at least Clapton's pretty unassailable, right? 
 
Here's some video of the drum controller, taken from what looks like some sort of in-game tutorial. 
  
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+

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Jeff

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Edited By Jeff  Staff
 105% AUTHENTIC
 105% AUTHENTIC

"No one is more authentic than Kid Rock."


As soon as it came out of his mouth, I knew I had to write it down. I also probably convulsed for a second or two, trying to contain myself and not burst out into laughter at the notion of Kid Rock's "authenticity." The man speaking was a marketing dude working on PowerGig: Rise of the SixString, a new three-player rhythm game built around the idea of presenting a more realistic experience, complete with a guitar that has six strings and can actually be jacked into a proper amp, if you like. It's a neat idea that, despite its unique guitar peripheral, seems like it's in the process of going completely off the rails with a fairly sizable authenticity problem of its own.

Kid Rock is one of the three exclusive performers in the game, along with Eric Clapton, who will provide "Layla," and Dave Matthews Band. The game will also include several non-exclusive tracks, such as "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour. Like previous band games, the songs are split up into multiple parts. However, PowerGig has no respect for bass players, as it's a three-player game for guitar, drums, and vocals. I feel that I can't get by this point without embedding this Kids in the Hall video on the subject of bass player respect, so here you go. 
  
   
OK, moving on.

 OH NO WE HAVE ANGERED THE BEAST, RUN!!
 OH NO WE HAVE ANGERED THE BEAST, RUN!!
We first saw PowerGig: Rise of the SixString just before GDC. The core idea is simple and effective: rather than building a plastic guitar with buttons that don't approximate the act of actually playing a guitar especially well, the developers went out and built a real guitar that had enough sensors and doohickeys in it to also work as a video game controller. The result is an axe that can be plugged into an amp or an Xbox, depending on what you're feeling like doing.

By default, the gameplay is no different than Guitar Hero or Rock Band, using the first five frets of the guitar. I got the chance to use one recently, and it's functional. The advanced modes will require you to do more than play it like a Rock Band guitar, and the end result is that the game will have you doing basic power chords, requiring specific string and fret work. It sounds like the note tracking won't be 100 percent accurate to the real songs, though, which seems a little strange. I mean, it's a real guitar, right? Why not go all the way? The guitar's kind of neat, though playing it really illustrated the amount of finger strength actual guitar players have. As a guy that essentially types for a living, you'd think that I would have stronger pinkys... but pegging that fifth fret down took a bit of work.

 Call in an air strike on fun and make sure it's dead with the AirStrike Drum Controller!
 Call in an air strike on fun and make sure it's dead with the AirStrike Drum Controller!
The guitar is interesting for all the reasons you'd expect it would be--it's a real instrument that you can also use for a video game. That philosophy is also why the game's drum controller seems so awful. The guitar approximates something similar to the real thing, while the "AirStrike Drum Controller" is more about simulating air drumming. The kit is essentially invisible, with floor sensors that trigger the in-game actions when you cross their path with goofy, oversized drumsticks that also contain sensors. This means that you're swinging through the sensors with no actual feedback other than from the game itself, and no rebound from actually hitting a physical object. This makes playing the inviso-drums a bit more tiring than the real thing and I also found it to be absolutely no fun. It feels like the different peripherals are trying to answer two different questions. The guitar is extremely realistic and feels well-made. The drum controller feels like a cheap cash-in aimed at people in dorm rooms and apartments--people who would benefit from an entirely silent drum kit.

Anticipating this reaction, the developer's pre-E3 press release attempts to head off this line of thinking with the following quote:

“We know that people may be skeptical of the AirStrike drums at first glance when they see there’s no actual drums and can’t understand how that’s a match to our SixString guitar which is a fully-functioning electric guitar,” said Seven45 Studios Chairman and CEO, Bernard Chiu.  “But we also know that as soon as people sit down to play it, they are going to see how much more real and authentic it feels to be moving much the same way true drummers do when they play, without the limits of the drum kits already on the market. Just like our guitars, the AirStrike drums are a step forward for authenticity in the band game genre.”

HAIR ATTACK, 115% AUTHENTICITY 
HAIR ATTACK, 115% AUTHENTICITY 
Not to be a dick about it, but true drummers actually hit stuff with sticks. With none of that on offer and its big, goofy drumsticks, the AirStrike Drum Controller feels like a bad toy. It doesn't help that the game itself looks kind of chintzy, with note charts that, like Rock Revolution before it, lack any sort of perspective or timing lines. The backgrounds also don't look great, but since it's not a final version of the game, I'll give that stuff the benefit of the doubt.

Authenticity is PowerGig's core issue. You'd think that by offering a controller than doubles as a real guitar, this would be as real as it gets. But the drums dismantle that entire story. After getting a demo of both controllers, I was more confused than anything else. Why would anyone want to play this way when other, more fully featured options are available? And that doesn't even take into account the Kid Rock factor. Hey, at least Clapton's pretty unassailable, right? 
 
Here's some video of the drum controller, taken from what looks like some sort of in-game tutorial. 
  
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darkivn

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Edited By darkivn

lame

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hockeymask27

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Edited By hockeymask27

The drum still kind of freaks me out.

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Guybrush

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Edited By Guybrush

His name is KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII KID ROCK!    

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korkesh

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Edited By korkesh

awesome pictures of kid rock

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jelyk

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Edited By jelyk

 Upchuck the boogie is the defining lyric of my generation.

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BionicMonster

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Edited By BionicMonster

I would say it's a valiant effort...............................I WOULD say that.

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Blair

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Edited By Blair

Ryan did a good job helping you with these pictures, Jeff.  Nice Kid Rock work.

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DukeTogo

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Edited By DukeTogo

Wow, reminds me of this old stuff.
 
 

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ElegantRuby

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Edited By ElegantRuby

Now the tweet makes sense.  Brilliant.

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SilverBulletKY

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Edited By SilverBulletKY

Your text made it sound lame but the video actually looks pretty cool

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Aarny91

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Edited By Aarny91

Reading your tweets then reading this made this far better.

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aurahack

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Edited By aurahack

All of this has convinced me against the entire premise of the game. There's no way I'm playing a drum-based game when I'm not actually hitting anything. I can barely keep my direction when playing All That Remains on Expert difficulty in RB2. How do you expect anyone to properly do that without the tactile response of, you know, bashing on shit.

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XcL

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Edited By XcL

I'll set this up under my Rock Revolution Kit. 

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jtmosh

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Edited By jtmosh

That video reminds me of something out of the 90s.

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SilverBulletKY

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Edited By SilverBulletKY
@jelyk said:

"  Upchuck the boogie is the defining lyric of my generation. "

 So is up jump the boogie.. which is what the song actually says. 
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ladnar

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Edited By ladnar

Thank you for the Kids in the Hall video, love that show so much. 
 
 
Couldn't care less about the game though.
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spaceturtle

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Edited By spaceturtle

Oh my fucking lord! Who ever thought the AirDruming thing was a good idea?? 
 
Good article though, Jeff.

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MiamiRedHawks

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Edited By MiamiRedHawks

Kid Rock is such a honkey.

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Edited By MasonL87

One step forward, two steps back.
 
On one hand, building the controller into an actual guitar will kind of nullify all those old guitar hero and rock band arguments "hey, why don't you go learn how to play a REAL guitar instead of playing a game?" That's awesome, and it seems a decent way to learn to play.
 
On the OTHER hand, their drum kit looks totally idiotic. Drummers hit things with sticks, as Jeff said.  If I want to air drum, I don't need to buy your game to do that.
 
The game'll be good for guitar, bad for drums, and probably pretty "meh" for voice. If they're really that concerned about drum kits making noise, then they can make one that's padded as hell, that wont make a ton of noise when it's hit.

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Vorbis

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Edited By Vorbis

There was way too much thought put into those pictures, but it paid off.

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Edited By the8bitNacho

I think the concept of this lost me at "rhythm game."  Rock Band is pretty much the king of that proverbial hill, and I don't really see any reason to buy into something else until the Harmonix juggernaut is unseated.  If that ever happens.  I give a pass to games like DJ Hero, but man, get away from this nonsense.

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colinjw

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Edited By colinjw

I don't get it. Why would they even bother with the Air drum strangeness. The guitar on the other hand looks like one of those guitars that you get as a kid. The one you smash apart while trying to play Pantera "Walk".

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Edited By CptBedlam  Online

That thing is doomed to fail.

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Edited By Jambones
@Vorbis said:
" There was way too much thought put into those pictures, but it paid off. "
And how!
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Edited By PappaDukes

I would have used an air guitar peripheral and real drums, but that's just me.
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Edited By PLWolf

Interested, but purchase is doubtful.

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NickNorman

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Edited By NickNorman

105% Authentic? 115%? Mr. Gerstmann would like to have a word with you.  
 

 Hell no you can't.
 Hell no you can't.
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Edited By generalen

So.. can I plug my real guitar into the game..?

I mean, I already have a guitar, so a game peripheral that acts like a real guitar seems kinda pointless for me, but the game seems like a fun way to learn new songs. Although this quote here leads me to believe that it won't be so fun after all:

"It sounds like the note tracking won't be 100 percent accurate to the real songs, though, which seems a little strange. "

So it's like a strange crossbreed between real guitars and guitar hero? And "air drumming"? Don't get me wrong, I fucking love air drumming, but if you're already making a peripheral, why not make a goddamn drum set? 

It may just be the acetone I just spilled, but this smells like flop.

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Edited By Burrobean

What the hell was that video?  I was hoping it was a  gag made by the Giant Bomb geniuses, but it felt a little too real in its incompetence.  Nice shot of pasty, hairy, scabby legs, Powergig.  Way to sell a game.
 
And the drums themselves look pretty awful.  When I play my fake Rock Band drums, actually hitting stuff is a huge part of the fun.  The cymbal expansion makes it even more so.  This thing gives Rock Revolution's drums a run for the Crown of Fail.

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Edited By Jimbo

I feel more authentic just from looking at these photos.

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Edited By iAmJohn

These guys had a booth at PAX East where they had nothing but a dude playing a guitar.  He walked up to me as I was trying to figure out what the booth was and asked if I had a request.  I asked him: "You know any T. Rex?"  He didn't, so I walked away. 
 
I think that sums up this game quite nicely.

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yakov456

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Edited By yakov456

Yikes, looks like something that should have come out in 1995. The drums, not the video.

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DrPockets000

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Edited By DrPockets000

This is doomed to fail.  line em up so Harmonix can knock 'em down.

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hagridore

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Edited By hagridore

Oh, those videos will be in the game? So not one person at Seven 45 thought they were awful? 
 
But then a "real" guitar and air drums are being bundled together. So they have bigger issues.

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Cheapoz

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Edited By Cheapoz

ROCK IT REAL

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s10129107

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Edited By s10129107

I wonder how much money they already wasted on fake real guitars they wont sell.

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TheKidNixon

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Edited By TheKidNixon

This might/will go down in the annals of preview history as a true masterpiece.

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Gabriel

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Edited By Gabriel

Well at least Clapton's in the game, and I can get down with the Dave matthews band

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Edited By claudius

I have very mixed feelings about this game. I've been playing rhythm games since 2006, and within the past year have finally picked up a real guitar and have attempted to learn to play it, so the idea of playing a real guitar in the game, and eventually playing the actual notes is really cool to me. 
However, the guitar looks like it's about the size of a Guitar Hero controller, and from the video it looks like it only has 12 or 13 frets on it, so I wonder how it'll sound. 
Overall, the game looks as if it is doomed to fail, but depending on how the guitar is, I may want to pick it up myself. 
 
 Also, how the hell did they get a master of "Layla"?!

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Edited By Brackynews

I'd put his picture away.
 
So if I played with this while inside a Sega Activator circle, would it open up a wormhole to the 
Metal Dimension?  Love to chill with Eddie Riggs.  Not sure if Eddie would be cool with the Kid tho.

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cookiemonster

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Edited By cookiemonster

I don't care as long as I can... 
 
ROCK IT REAL

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Edited By zoozilla
@generalen: My thoughts exactly.
 
What's the purpose of having a real guitar controller if it won't be note-for-note?
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Kyle

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Edited By Kyle
@NickNorman said:
" 105% Authentic? 115%? Mr. Gerstmann would like to have a word with you.  
 
 Hell no you can't.
 Hell no you can't.
"
Thank god someone around here has some sense.
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slax

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Edited By slax

They completely miss the point when it comes to drumming. Not only, as others have pointed out, is hitting things important to drumming, it also has to do with what happens after you hit things. Like the rebound. Something that other game drum kits at least tried to replicate.

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btman

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Edited By btman

He grew up where I'm from.

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Edited By TobyD81

I like how the voiceover says "let's explore your hardware" while the camera is panning over the dude's crotch. *Tee-hee*

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Edited By Dryker

If a videogame company needs a poster boy for "authenticity", they needn't go any further than Giantbomb's very own Jeff Gerstmann. Hell, that fools authenticity got him fired from a company he was instrumental in creating.
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Edited By Mr_Skeleton

I just thought about it, most people dont play guitar therefore dont know how to change strings so when one of their strings will tear (after they play with the machine heads for those who understand) they will be screwed.

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Edited By Milkman

The real question: Does Kid Rock rock it real?