Slash has been active in the video game business over the past decade, having gone virtual in Activision’s ‘Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock‘ and providing a tutorial on how to play guitar in the new Realta Entertainment’s ‘BandFuse: Rock Legends,’ out now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
“With the popularity of video games, even before ‘Guitar Hero,’ having a song from your record [on a video game] started to turn into a really great opportunity,” said the ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist. “It’s different than selling a record. You’re basically selling the music to the company for X amount of whatever points, and they work out a percentage. It’s good because they sell so many games guaranteed that you’re bound to make a profit on it, so a lot of people were doing it.”
Slash doesn’t consider himself a gamer – although his kids definitely are – but he does understand the reason people log so many hours in virtual worlds.
“I went through a period of being completely hooked on ‘Galaxian,’ ” said Slash. “That was the only game that I liked. Everybody liked ‘Asteroids’ and ‘Missile Command’ and ‘Space Invaders’ and all that shit, but ‘Galaxian’ was the only one I liked. And I was actually really good at it.”
Slash was able to relive his arcade days in his Los Angeles home until last year. He had a ‘Galaga’ tabletop machine, but a nearby water heater blew up and flooded his playroom, making collateral damage out of the classic game.
“I was out of school by the time the second phase of ‘Galaxian’ came in and I never really got good at ‘Galaga,’ but it was pretty cool having it here at the house,” said Slash. “That was a pretty good game.”
These days, he’s been too busy to even open up his Xbox One and play ‘Forza Motorsport 5.’ But he’s been a huge fan of the Forza franchise over the years.
“The Forza games are just phenomenal because I’m into cars,” said Slash. “When I’d be on the road, I’d set up a table in the middle of the tour bus in front of the TV monitor and put the steering wheel and the gas and brake pedals out, and I’d spend all day long before the gig driving these cars on real tracks. Those tracks are fucking amazing. I’ve been to a lot of them, and they’re identical.”
Slash is in for an even more souped-up ride when he connects his Xbox One up to his TV, because the latest game from Turn 10 Studios brings next-gen 1080p visuals to the racing genre, though he’s up on a few other new games thanks to his kids, who are partial to games like ‘Skate 3.’
“It’s amazing to see where the technology has gone,” said Slash. “I hang out and watch my oldest son play, and it’s just unreal how realistic it is. You’re actually simulating riding a skateboard in really outrageous, different parks. The physicality of what the human form on the game is able to do with the balance and the weight distribution and gravity, the way that it is duplicated on screen is just amazing.”
And that’s old gen. Next gen is opening up more opportunities for game developers, and musicians, to push things forward. Anyone who’s been putting off learning how to play a guitar can learn from Slash by picking up the new ‘BandFuse’ game. Don’t own a guitar? There’s a $180 version that comes complete with an authentic Fender Squier Bullet guitar.