10 perfect Christmas presents for... Guitar Hero & Rock Band players
We've already put together a perfect Christmas gift guide for console gamers but, while that was in the planning, we realised that we could have made an entire list of its own of awesome accessories for rhythm game rockers. So here it is.
Altec Lansing Gig Speaker
Let's be honest here - TV speakers are a bit weedy. Unless you've got a meaty set of monitors hooked up to your television, odds are that you're not getting the best sound experience out of RB and GH. So, Altec Lansing has decided to do something about it and launch an amplified monitor speaker specifically designed for video games. It's not quite as weighty as it looks - it puts out 40W from a 6.5-inch woofer, but that'll still upset your neighbours quite considerably.
There's a great big volume knob, along with RCA outputs for hooking up even more speakers. It also has a "grab and go" handle to make life a little easier for your roadies. Availability is the tough part. Officially, the Atlec Lansing RM303 - as it's known - is only out in the US where you can pick it up for just over $70. If you live in the UK, you can still get it shipped but it will more or less double the price for the privilege. Still, you can't put a price on rock 'n roll.
Sennheiser RS 130 wireless headphones
Wireless headphones don't usually offer the same quality of sound as hard wired options but now that we've said our piece, go and buy the Sennheiser RS 130 headphones for your loved one if they happen to be addicted to rhythm games. Wired are simply a bit of a danger when rocking out. Either they'll trip you up while jumping around or you'll get your guitar neck/drum sticks caught up in them.
The RS 130s have a base station that plugs into any normal headphone jack and it's the unit itself that sends out the wireless signal, so you don't need to worry about whether your giftee has a Bluetooth-enabled device or not. They'll never offer proper 5.1 sound that you might want in other gaming but, for music, stereo's all you need.
Drum Kit Cosies
Drum cosies may sound like a silly idea but they work on two levels. Firstly, and most importantly, they mean that you can drum along to RB or GH at all hours of the night without fear of waking your neighbours, parents, baby or all of the above with incessant, rhythmical (hopefully) tapping. Secondly, they also look really cute - cute enough for kittens to sleep on. You can pick up an RB set for $40 and a GH one for $50 - one more symbol to cover, it seems.
Logitech Wireless Guitar
Ok, once again it's hands up time, folks. We usually have a £100 maximum limit on our 2009 Christmas gift ideas but sometimes a product comes along that's just too beautiful a present to turn down. Meet the heart-stopping Logitech Wireless guitar.
Bright orange, and we mean bright, the weighty guitar (like the weight of a real Fender) comes with a wood neck, a rosewood fingerboard and metal frets, letting you jam like the rock god you are. This particular model is for the Xbox only and will cost around £175 depending, but there are also cheaper versions for the PS3 and the Wii too. You have the power to make someone very happy this Christmas.
Either you don't fancy stretching to a premium player or you want to jazz the gift up even more, either way a new strap is the way to go. There are plenty of professional guitar accessory options out there like this Crime Scene one and many more, or you can go down the handmade route for something a little different. Lots and lots to choose from.
Now that your giftee has the world's sexiest looking collection of guitars, they're going to need a guitar rack to show them off. There's a couple of options here. The easy way is to pay a very reasonable £49 and buy a Warwick Rockbag professional version for actual, real guitars. That'll look very nice indeed. Or, for something a little cheaper and lot more quirky, you can roll up your sleeves, head off in to the shed and have a dig at creating the wall hanging rack.
Rock Band Stage Kit
Sadly, this one is US only unless you really want to pay for shipping and get a transformer to get the thing to work with 220v mains too. That said, it's too good to be left off the list. Yes, the Rock Band Stage Kit is a little on the silly side, yes, you're not very likely to bother with a dedicated stage light and smoke machine while your playing on your own at home, but when that day comes when the full bands playing and the booze and music flowing, your giftee will have a rhythm game night to remember. $50 in the States and from £79 if you're looking to ship.
It may seem a little flat compared to the rest of the glitz and glam on this page but, as anyone that's got tangled up half way through a lyrics frenzy in "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" will tell you, a wireless microphone is a beautiful thing. The full band bundles of most of these games don't come with a wireless version and with all the additional downloads, drum kits, new games and guitars to save up for, it's something very few people have ever got round to upgrading. Best of all, they're pretty cheap too. £18 for the Xbox, £15 for the Wii and many more out there.
If you want to say something rather special to the rhythm game player in your life, then one rather touching, loud and proud way to do so is with some You're My Hero decals. If they're a Rock Band die hard, then that could be a big mistake but for $20, it's not much of a financial commitment.
Both Harmonix and Activision are churning out these titles faster than people can get the better of them, so you can be sure that even the hardest of rhythm game freaks isn't going to have all of them. The current range includes - Rock Band, Rock Band 2, The Beatles: Rock Band, Guitar Hero, II, III, IV, V, Metallica, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Smash Hits Encore: Rocks the 80s, Band Hero, DJ Hero, the On Tour series and all the mobile versions too. Plenty. Plus there's rumours of an epic sounding The Who version soon.