Guitar Hero (and implicitly Rock Band) is so much fun. Like, really, so much fun. Who needs friends when you can spend your time inside—with the blinds closed, of course, because outside is scary—acting like a rock star by pressing plastic buttons? The carpal tunnel syndrome is totally worth it. In honor of the new Guitar Hero and Rock Band reboots, we’ve chosen which of the prior games are worth your time and money.
1. Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock
This game is insane in the best way. You get to have guitar battles with Tom Morello, Slash and Satan, and it features perhaps the most frustrating experience in the history of the human existence: "Through the Fire and Flames" on expert. The setlists are full of cool songs, and the difficulty is so insane that you basically have to throw your life away if you want to pass every song on expert. Friends come and go; Guitar Hero achievements are for forever.
2. Rock Band 2
It’s like Guitar Hero, but easier! It has a metric ton of songs, and it does a pretty good job of spanning genres other than hard rock. It specifies when you have a solo, which is pretty convenient, and it obviously gets points for featuring every instrument (not just guitar). And it really is startlingly easier than Guitar Hero. But if you haven’t almost broken your plastic guitar out of frustration, is it really even that fun?
3. The Beatles: Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band (tie)
If you don’t like either of these bands, consider reevaluating your life choices, because you’re objectively wrong. Obviously The Beatles are a better band than Green Day, but both of the games are similarly fun. Neither are overtly hard, but they both have great song choices and are amazing to play if you’re a fan of either of the bands.
4. Guitar Hero: World Tour
God, this game has so many songs. They aren’t sorted by difficulty, which is annoying, but you can figure it out pretty quickly. You can finally create your own players (my dad looks great in a Mohawk), and a lot of the songs are really quite fun. It’s also the first Guitar Hero game to feature instruments other than guitar. Better late than never, I guess.
5. Rock Band
This was a game-changer. Adding the microphone, bass and drums creates so many more possibilities for the game, and it really makes you realize how terrible of a drummer you’d be in real life. Additional points to the game for including a Radiohead song. The game is somewhat unrefined and buggy, but the sheer impact it had on the genre makes its inclusion warranted.
6. Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero 2, Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80s, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Rock Band 3 (no order)
7. Getting hit by a bus
8. Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Let’s forget this ever happened.