You knew it was going to happen eventually. Just like DDR before it, Guitar Hero has inspired people to emulate the game on the PC. Frets on Fire is an open source GH project for all major Operating Systems, and tries its best to emulate the basic structure of the game, as well as support song creation. You’ve probably heard about it on some game site or another. I’ve known about it for a few months now, but I never gave it a shot because of one huge, glaring problem; the basic game requires you to use the keyboard, holding it in place like a guitar.
I don’t think I need to tell you that this is the Stupidest Idea of 2006. But fear not! It turns out that, for a small financial investment and absolutely 0% tinkering, you can get the game to work with a Guitar Hero SG controller. Here’s what you need:
A ps2 to USB converter (which can be found at seedy online stores, or at your local Radio Shack for $11)
With these things in place, all you need to do is set up the converter as a proper joystick (which is simply installing the drivers), and run Frets on Fire, which has joystick support. If all works well, you should be able to remap the guitar keys to your SG controller, and it should receive input from the guitar after restarting the game. I have no idea how many songs people have made for the game, but this could be a great way to keep getting your Rock fix (or just wait for the sequel to release in two weeks).
P.S. – I only know that this solution works in Windows. However, I’m going to try to get the converter to work in Linux. If it doesn’t, open source folk are going to have to jury rig an SG controller port to work with USB, which is expensive and risky. That, or do what some game mag editor did; rig a toy guitar with the guts of a wireless PC controller.
P.P.S. – Find out my Linux results in an upcoming article about this converter device.