LEGO prototyped Guitar Hero years before actual Guitar Hero

Harmonix redefined rhythm gaming for a generation in the mid-2000s with Guitar Hero – but the LEGO Group actually had the idea first.

Across more than a decade of releases, including 25 different console titles, spin-offs and mobile games, the Guitar Hero franchise took the gaming community by storm in the mid-2000s. But it now turns out that the LEGO Group was developing its own version of the rhythm game – complete with buildable plastic instruments – all the way back in the late ‘90s.

The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks author Daniel Konstanski has revealed exclusively to Brick Fanatics how he rediscovered the long-lost theme, known internally as LEGO Band Booster, while researching the first officially-sanctioned book for adult fans of LEGO.

Guitar Hero Slash

According to an internal video squirrelled away in the LEGO Group’s archives – to which Daniel has had unprecedented access for The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks – the company prototyped huge, plastic instruments that could teach kids music, including a guitar (pictured at the top of this story), piano, drums, violin and a flute (which actually looked more like a saxophone).

Adding 1×1 plates to represent individual notes would have allowed kids to build skills like rhythm and harmony, eventually encouraging them to write their own music. The huge, oversized instruments – which barely resembled LEGO – would also have connected to a computer interface in an early example of the LEGO Group mixing physical and digital play.

You’ll be able to learn more about the unreleased theme – and countless more LEGO stories – in The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks, which is currently available to back through crowdfunding publisher Unbound.

You’ve only got until May 31 to secure your copy, however – after that, the book will never be available to buy anywhere else.

Support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO using any one of our affiliate links.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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