MyMyBox Guitar Hero Rock Controller Andy Levine Introduction Developed by RedOctane, Guitar Hero was undoubtedly one of the most innovative games to see a release on the PS2 last year. Since then, several third party developers have come out with their own style of guitars. Just in case you want a second guitar for a friend or if your bundled axe fell victim to a Pete Townshend smash, the guys over at MyMyBox have developed their custom Rock Controller with gamers in mind. The Ant Commandos (known as TAC) have several guitars out already though, so we decided to find out if MyMyBox has what it takes to compete with the best. Design As you can see, the Rock Guitar Controller is a Gibson SG replica. It has a cherry red body with a mahogany neck, fret board, and backside. This guitar looks very much like the models used in the 60s and 70s by notables such as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. Like other models available, the start and select buttons placed on the body are designed to look like volume knobs, which is always a nice touch. Strangely enough, the orientation of the words 'start' and 'select' is wrong on TAC's controllers. Luckily, the words on the MyMyBox can easily be read while playing the game, so you won't get your buttons mixed up. Although appearance is usually based on user preference, the Rock Guitar is the most authentic looking model out of the bunch. Gameplay In a game like Guitar Hero, some type of special controller definitely helps enhance the game. Although technically you can play the game just fine using a standard PS2 controller, the experience is hardly the same when compared to rocking out with a guitar. When picking out a guitar, there are plenty of factors you should consider beforehand. TAC’s guitars look like good choices from a first glance, but after trying out a Rock Guitar it was easy to see where the other models are lacking. First of all, the five colored fret buttons themselves are obviously the most important part of the game. Although the TAC models boast that they have “FeatherTouch” fret buttons, this is sadly far from the truth. The buttons are heavier than the Rock Controller’s and have a tendency to stick, which can cause you to rack up plenty of misses, especially on the Expert charts. The Rock Controller, on the other hand, has lightweight buttons that fit nicely into the fret board, and as a result no sticking of any kind occurs. Unfortunately, the middle yellow button doesn’t have a little tab like the TAC models. As a result, you may occasionally have to look down just in case you forget where you fingers are. The strummer is the other crucial part to gameplay, and again MyMyBox’s Rock Guitar Controller has a slight advantage. Other models have a metallic design that doesn’t fit too well, and again we have another problem with flimsiness. The strummer seems as if it is flapping back and forth at times, which can make it difficult to hit fast notes in succession. The Rock Guitar’s strummer is slender and longer, and it fits very firmly into the body. Strumming is simple; whether you decide to strum with your thumb or if you like gripping it with your thumb and forefinger is up to you, but you can rest assured knowing that this guitar won’t have any misfires. Lastly, the final gameplay factor to consider is the sensor. During the game, hitting enough notes successfully will allow you to activate star power, which can be achieved in a number of ways. While some of the lightweights might prefer to merely hit the select button, star power can also be turned on depending on what sensors are built into the guitar. The TAC Shredder is the only guitar to implement a shake sensor, which doesn’t work as well as we hoped. Instead of simply being able to tilt the neck vertically, the shake sensor requires you to violently shake the guitar up and down to activate star power. Although this seems like a viable alternative when rocking out, sadly the sensor is too weak and requires way too much force to trigger. Every other model, including the Rock Guitar, has a perfectly fine tilt sensor that works fine all the time. Comparison and Analysis In order to help you choose which guitar is right for you, we’ve compiled this chart featuring the four most popular guitars; the standard RedOctane SG Controller, the MyMyBox Rock Guitar Controller, the TAC Shredder, and the TAC Freedom V. RedOctane MyMyBox Rock Guitar TAC Shredder TAC Freedom V Length (cm) 68 71 63 61 2.4GHz, requires 4 AA Wireless No No No batteries Strap Standard Fake-Leather Standard Fake-Leather Sensor Tilt Tilt Shake Tilt Whammy Bar Standard Strong Spring Coil Flimsy Flimsy Strummer Short Long Short Short Medium Sticky, Hard to Fret Buttons Sensitivity Ultra Sensitive press Sticky, Hard to press Price $39 $39 $29 $55 The Rock Guitar is slightly larger than all of the other models, but the difference isn’t too noticeable. The Freedom V (shaped like a Flying V Guitar) has a 2.4 GHz wireless model, but it requires 4 AA batteries which can be a hassle to contain. In rhythm games wireless controllers aren’t always the best idea because there is always some sort of signal delay, so if your rhythm isn’t the greatest then the wireless model can be a burden. The RedOctane guitar performs right on par with regards to gameplay, but as mentioned before the TAC models feel flimsy and have buttons that don’t respond too well. The Rock Guitar’s fret buttons work amazingly well, and I have yet to encounter any problems with them as of yet. Conclusion With all factors considered, the Rock Guitar seems to be the best bet. The RedOctane model delivers a great deal when bundled with the Guitar Hero game itself, but there are better options for a second controller. The Shredder is the cheapest solution, but because of such you can’t expect it to hold up as well as the more expensive models. While the Freedom V will appeal to gamers who enjoy dancing around and rocking out during play because of its wireless feature, it suffers from the same button problems as other TAC models. The MyMyBox Rock Guitar is a reasonably priced guitar that will let you fully enjoy Guitar Hero without having to worry about any controller difficulties.