I know, I know: you have to manage your image when you’re famous. It’s bad for your personal brand if someone uses a picture of you to sell hemorrhoid cream (unless you make your living in a hemorrhoid-related pursuit, as gross as that seems). But, there are times when you aren’t the best judge of your own image. I point to “Guitar Hero:Van Halen”, as an example. Somewhere in a mix of vanity, paranoia, and errant marketing aim, the character design of this game sprang forth. The digitally represented members of Van Halen are the most current lineup, which includes poor Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie’s son) as the bass player. No mention of the founding member and all around good guy bassist Michael Anthony, who was quietly booted from the band for the unforgivable crime of playing music with Sammy Hagar (who is also absent).
For a band that hasn’t released new material in at least ten years, and certainly hasn’t written anything with this particular configuration ever, they seem to have very little interest in providing the player with the experience they’re looking for. I don’t want to pretend to be Eddie Van Halen now-I want to be the Eddie from the ‘Panama’ video. And I certainly do not want to be Eddie’s kid.
True, the final set of songs you unlock are from “back in the day” and they show the band as they looked in the late 70’s and 80’s but with one ridiculous difference. That’s right, they dressed digital Wolfgang up in spandex and threw him into the mix with the 20-year-old version of his own father. Suspension of disbelief is pretty low for a music rhythm game, but this broke mine entirely. “Did Van Halen create a time machine to allow for this unholy combination to exist”, I pondered as I sadly turned my Xbox 360 off.