Power Gig: Rise of the Six String

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Power Gig: Rise of the Six String Game Poster Image
Fun but flawed music game that supports a real guitar.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game's message is about having fun playing music -- though it's worth noting that some of that music contains provocative lyrics. The game uses a real guitar, so kids will learn to play a real instrument.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The musicians in the game convey typical rock and roll attitude and also dress the part. 

Ease of Play

While you can use a Rock Band or Guitar Hero guitar peripheral, the official Power Gig instrument is a real guitar with six strings. If you choose to use this guitar you will encounter a steep learning curve. Its strings and wider frets will feel decidedly different to players accustomed to fake guitars made for other games. A mode that involves playing chords adds an even greater challenge.

Violence
Sex

Suggestive lyrics can be heard in a couple of songs, such as Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" ("Making love by the lake"). Most of the female musicians in the game have tight clothes and show cleavage or a bare stomach.

Language

A couple of songs feature profanity, but offensive words are bleeped out. Example: Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus," which has the following line: "...and a lot of unAmerican bullsh--t."

Consumerism

This game promotes the music of several real-world artists.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some lyrics refer to drug use, such as Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" ("We were smoking funny things"). Others refer to alcohol consumption, including Dave Matthews Band's "Tripping Billies" ("Eat, drink, and be merry...tequila drinking").

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Power Gig: Rise of the Six String is a fairly tame "Teen"-rated music game. There's not much to worry about here aside from some lyrical references to sex, drugs, and alcohol, and some female characters with low-cut tops. The few songs in the track list that feature profanity have been censored.

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What's it about?

Newcomer Seven45 Studios is joining the music game craze with POWER GIG: RISE OF THE SIX STRING, an ambitious offering that tries to differentiate itself from the pack with a guitar controller that doubles as a real six-string electric guitar. While the game will work with existing Guitar Hero and Rock Band guitar peripherals, you can buy the guitar-plus-game bundle for $180 or a complete "band in a box" (with drums and microphone, too) for $230. When you're not playing the game you can plug the guitar into an amplifier and play for real. The game also includes songs from high-profile artists such as Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews Band, and Kid Rock who offer their classic music -- tracks like "Layla," "Tripping Billies," and "All Summer Long" --in a rhythm game for the first time. Other bands that help fill out the 70 tracks available at launch include Bad Religion, Queens of the Stone Age, Living Colour, Black Sabbath, and Three Days Grace.

Is it any good?

This game is pretty tough to play – even for seasoned music game fans. The wider fret spacing of the stringed guitar feels very different -- unless, of course, you're a real guitarist. On that note, the game has two ways to play: the standard mode (press a colored fret while strumming any string) and the power chord mode that has you play using real chords and demands specific finger placement on the strings.

It's worth adding that it has some graphical issues. Frankly, it looks like a PlayStation 2 or original Xbox game rather than something in line with the current generation. Plus, the "fret highway" has notes cascading down the screen rather than towards the player (it's also off to the side, which is okay for multiplayer but not ideal for solo playing). Consequently, Power Gig might be best be played first as a weekend rental to see if you like its look and feel.

Online interaction: The game publisher says players could download additional tracks after the game launchers, but there is no online multiplayer mode.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether one can actually learn to play a real musical instrument from a game. Did you find that this music game helped teach you how to play a guitar? Does it make a difference that it supports a peripheral that doubles as a real guitar?

  • Families can also discuss the game's track selection. Are the songs suitable for a teen audience? Could the game's authentic rock and roll atmosphere have been preserved had its designers excluded songs that reference alcohol, drugs, and sex?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99 (game only)
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Release date: October 19, 2010
  • Genre: Music and Dance
  • ESRB rating: T for Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes

For kids who love Music

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