Passing this along from the great Defected Records
DJ Hero, the eagerly awaited turntable take on popular music gaming experience Guitar Hero, has finally landed this week.
Players score points by pressing buttons to activate beats, sliding the crossfader between over 100 individual tracks and ‘scratching’ the turntable on a special wireless ‘deck controller.’ Published by major video game company Activison, DJ Hero promises to bring new momentum to the phenomenon of ‘bedroom DJ.’
But is that a good thing when the game arguably veers away from the authentic DJ-ing experience? Indeed, Activision has already generated some criticism for allegedly trying to milk the music console game cash-cow dry. The firm is currently on its fifth version of Guitar Hero, a hugely successful franchise which has serious guitarists continually slamming it for lacking authenticity. But does that mean DJ Hero is also a ‘peripheral’ purchase?
In one broadsheet article last weekend, Tony McGuinness of reputable trance trio Above & Beyond commented that “the actual physical hand skills are completely different to real life.” Further acknowledging DJ Hero’s novelty aspects, partner-in-crime Paavo Siljamaki added: “I thought it was going to be beat-match mixing but it’s the same as Guitar Hero.” On the eve of release, Stateside retail experts indicated that demand for the game there was considerably lower than expected and then suggested it was because the music video-game buzz ‘n’ boom was finally subsiding.
Many would, and will disagree with all that. Despite the disappointing lack of crowd reaction when musical changes are instigated on the controller McGuiness sums up DJ Hero as “great to have a go on.” It’s nigh on impossible to re-create the atmosphere of a rocking club at home anyhow, and so maybe DJ Hero’s talents lie elsewhere.
Defected’s youngest ever In The House resident DJ Andy Daniell sees its potential to bring new talent to dance music. Daniell, who was involved in the production of the game, suggests: “I see things like DJ Hero as a gateway to the real thing; if even a few people take up DJ-ing for real after trying the game then it can only be a good thing.”
Daniell, a regular studio collaborator with Sandy Rivera, adds, quite vehemently: “DJ Hero is 100% not a novelty. It’s a fantastic reflection of the growing popularity of DJ culture and an exciting new media for dance music. It’s great that Daft Punk is involved too; they’ve always been at the cutting edge of new and exciting things.”
Daft Punk joins a long list of stellar club names that have contributed to the console project – everyone from Jay-Z to David Guetta. Certainly, DJ Hero cannot be faulted for seriously listening to those it wishes to emulate, and the homework looks to have paid off with the likes of Jay-Z stressing, this week, that the game is “no gimmick” and Paul Oakenfold confirming he “loves it.”
Contrary to the straight-laced views of industry analysts, the buzz looks to be growing louder. High-profile fan Eminem, another DJ Hero collaborator, has already challenged master-mixer Jazzy Jeff to a Hero ‘battle’ in public. “As soon as I master it [DJ Hero] it’s going to be fun” he tells Rolling Stone magazine. “Because then I’m gonna get my ass in the studio and I’m gonna start learning how to scratch. And then at live shows, I’ll be my own DJ.” If it sparks ‘Em then, surely, it will spark the masses….
“At the end of the day it is a game” Daniell concludes. “Getting two records in time is not really that fun or exciting, and DJ Hero is designed to be fun and exciting. Hopefully it will give the masses a connection to our scene and maybe lead to amazing future talent.”
DJ Hero, then, really could prove itself a worthwhile innovation for the dance music industry – a Christmas present on a far wider scale than any of us could have possibly imagined. Time will tell….
DJ Hero is available now, £89.99 (£139.99 for the special Renegade Edition featuring exclusive bonus content by Eminem and Jay-Z,) at all the usual stockists.