A friend of mine, let's call him Bob, was venting at me the other day about how he felt that music games, far from encouraging people to pick up and play real instruments or listen and engage with different styles of music and new artists, were the sort of thing that the devil would lock the bathroom door for if he had an upset stomach. He felt that such games as Guitar Hero and Rock Band stifled and sapped creativity, taking up time and increasing amounts of money that could be better spent actually going to gigs, buying music, talking to bands and doing the thing for real.
He might have a point...but, then again, you don't get Achievement Points for strumming along to Sweet Home Alabama down your local pub, although that barmaid you've been eyeing up might agree to finally go out with you.
Def Jam Rapstar is about to change that and, on top of that, it might be the most surprisingly impressive game we've seen at Gamescom yet. Encompassing the last thirty years of hip-hop with 45 tracks including the vocal stylings of such artists as Dre, Snoop, T.I., Kanye West, A Tribe Called Qwest, Run-DMC, Method Man, not to mention localised tracks for the four countries in which it's being released, it's striving to be not just the premier hip-hop game out there, but also hoping to set a benchmark for the music genre.