A Warm-Fuzzy Guitar Hero Story

Scorehero.com has been mentioned here a few times – it’s by far the de facto hardcore Guitar Hero community site, with the ability to upload scores, an astounding amount of functionality and data tracking, and one of the most ridiculously friendly communities I’ve ever seen on the internet.

With the success of Guitar Hero 2 and the boom in custom song creation, the Scorehero servers have been crushed over the past few months. The site avoided ads for a long time, finally caved and added some simple Google ads, and recently announced a fundraising push to try and hit $10K for some much-needed hardware upgrades.

Immediately, much of the community started kicking in cash. People were chiming in $3, $9, $14, whatever they could afford. Within 2 weeks, the total sat at a ridiculous $7500. For an internet forum, where people generally scream bloody murder anytime they’re asked to pay a dime for anything, it was kind of inspiring to watch 16-24-year old kids talking about working extra hours at their part-time job to help chip in a few bucks to a site that obviously means a lot to them.

This morning, the total sat at about $7500, and suddenly blew over the 10K mark, a month ahead of schedule. The contributors? Several guys from Harmonix, including president Alex Rigopolous, who popped into the forums to mention a $2000 donation on behalf of the entire team (other Harmonix guys did some other donations separately as well).

Now, I have no idea if these donations were personal or if they’ll be expensed away, but nonetheless, I found this a ridiculously cool gesture. I’m sure $2000 is a drop in the bucket to Harmonix considering how well the series has done, but I don’t see Blizzard out writing checks to WoW sites. Harmonix has never had any interactions with the site, and the donation came as a total shock to the site’s admins; the Scorehero community has basically been partying in the forums all day about it. And it’s not like Harmonix has any continued stake in Guitar Hero beyond the upcoming 80s Edition – the series essentially becomes their biggest competitor as they work on Rock Band. It was just a really something really cool to watch.

I told this story to one of the guys in the office, who thought the whole thing was awesome and had a great comment: “it’s a shame that videogames are just murder simulators corrupting our youth.”

Maybe, just may, Harmonix considered this $2,000 to be a fraction of the goodwill they’ll win with the fans. Perhaps they think fans will say “Screw Activision and Neversoft, let’s go with Harmonix, they get us.”

Nonetheless, it is a very nice gesture.


On the other hand I’d go with Harmonix anyway, because every rhythm game they’ve made that I’m aware of utterly rocks.

Harmonix is a great group of guys.

Motives are overrated. Judge them by the deed, not by the cynical assumptions of why they did it.

They made a game that have my two-year old headbanging to War Pigs instead of listening to Crazy Frog and the other dreck that’s made for kids these days - I will always love them!

I totally agree. While I have spent years trying to cultivate my kids (aged 8 and 10) towards serious rock - and failed utterly, Harmonix succeeded in a matter of days. When my son goes about the house humming Sabbath, Hendrix, Motörhead or something along those lines, I silently send a great “thank you” to the guys from Harmonix.