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Is Guitar Hero breakin' the law? Breakin' the law?

Justin McElroy

If Game Stooge had its way, these guys wouldn't be the only ones with Guitar Hero-related legal woes. It may be a little hard to swallow, but a recent editorial on the site makes the assertion that having to unlock songs in the game before you can play them is an illegal practice -- "quite illegal".

The piece insists that the reward for mastering hot licks should not be the rest of the game, but bonuses like the achievements system of Xbox 360. Although Game Stooge doesn't say so, it's an argument that could be extrapolated to most games, which often require completing one stage before playing the next.

It's here that the plot sort of gets lost, when Game Stooge suggests that advertising more features than are immediately available is actually illegal. The idea is almost kind of cute, like your mom suing you for not honoring the "Good for 10,000 World-Class Backrubs" coupon you made her when you were seven.

But before Game Stooge proves that there's nothing more rock 'n' roll than an understanding of the legal system gleaned from Phoenix Wright, does the editorial have a point? If you buy a game, should you be able to do whatever you want with it from the word "go"? Or should you, like a young Stevie Ray Vaughn, have to play until your calluses fall off and then glue them back on?

[Update: The Law of the Game, new kid on the sparsely populated legal video game blog block, tackles the GameStooge editorial, with real-sounding legal terminology. You go, Matlock!]

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