My most recent gaming purchase has been (deep breath) GuitarHeroEncoreRockTheEightiesWHEW!---an appropriately silly name for a profoundly silly era in popular music. I've always loved the way that rhythm games give the player a perspective from which to examine the music (interactivity may be a dubious storytelling tool, but it's a fantastic teaching device), and there's all kinds of insights to be gleaned about 80s music in the course of playing. For one, it's a potent reminder of what a cocaine-driven decade the 80s were---all the new wave songs are obsessively downstroke-downstroke-downstroke-dwnstrk-dwnstrk-dnstk-dnstk-
dnstk-dskdskdskdskfasterfasterfasterfasterfastertightertighter. Eighties pop, like eighties interior design, is all about shiny, perfect, impenetrable surfaces executed with gleamy-eyed obsessiveness.
Along with the hits ("I Ran" is surpassingly fun to play guitar on), there's also a lot of the lesser-known punk rock and new wave that's way more exciting to me than the hair metal (and for which they seem to be catching some flack). When I saw the song list, I was simultaneously psyched to play Guitar Hero to the Dead Kennedys and X (Husker Du is too much to hope for, I know), and wracked with sorrow for smash-the-system music turned into a level in a video game.
So I am happy to report that the in-house cover band has censored the punk lyrics heavily---"Los Angeles" has lost a few lines, and the Dead Kennedys "Police Truck" has been more or less altered into incoherence. If I were 15, I might bitch about the System being afraid to let people really hear what the Kennedys were saying; now I'm strangely comforted that there's still something about the music that is, if not terrifying, then at least Not Allowed.