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Guitar Hero III Mobile

Guitar Hero III Mobile is an adaption of the Guitar Hero series of rhythm video games to mobile phones. The game was developed by MachineWorks Northwest LLC and is published by Hands-On Mobile. Guitar Hero III Mobile was released on December 20, 2007 in North America for Verizon Wireless customers. The game was later released for BlackBerry devices on April 1, 2008.

In a similar manner to other Guitar Hero games, the player simulates playing the lead guitar of several rock music songs by hitting notes that correspond to the phone's keypad buttons as they scroll down the screen in time to the music. Fifteen songs, taken from previous Guitar Hero games, are available in the base game, while a new three song track pack has been released each month since January 2008. The game has been downloaded over one million times, and over 250,000 songs are played on the platform each month.


Gameplay in Guitar Hero III Mobile is similar to its console counterparts, except instead of 5 frets, 3 frets are used, corresponding to each column of numbered keys on a cellphone's keypad. The numbered keys used are "1", "4", and "7" for green notes, "2", "5", and "8" for red notes, and "3", "6", and "9" for yellow notes. Once the note(s) reach the bottom, the player must play the note(s) by pressing or holding down the number key(s) in order to score points (similar to using the controller on the console versions instead of a guitar). Star Power is activated using the "*" (star) button on the keypad or the "OK" button in the center of the directional pad. Other features include online leader boards, file saves, and accomplishments achieved by meeting certain in-game criteria. The game features only single player Career mode, working through fifteen songs sorted into three tiers similar to other Guitar Hero games, and Quickplay mode, allowing the player to play any unlocked song at any time. There are no multiplayer modes in the game.


Guitar Hero III Mobile is published by Hands-On Mobile and developed by MachineWorks Northwest LLC. Hands-On Mobile received licensing from Activision to port 51 songs, two characters, three venues, and four guitars to the mobile version. The game was originally released on Verizon Wireless, but made available on other cellphone carriers in February 2008. The game was programmed by Robinson Technologies (shortened to RTSoft) in affiliation with MachineWorks Northwest LLC. The game graphics were developed in collaboration with RTSoft and MachineWorks Northwest LLC by Anthem Game Group. The audio was taken from the original audio files used by Activision for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The audio files were reduced in file size, but remained multichannel; for example, separate channels were used for the guitar track, background instruments and vocals, audience, etc. Each song was reduced in length to two minutes to maintain shorter, "bite-sized" gameplay. To reduce the file size used by the phone, only two songs are stored at any time. Accessing other songs requires them to be downloaded via a cellphone network. A five button setup—like in console versions—was considered, but testing showed the game to be more entertaining with only three buttons. Rapid transitions and simultaneous button presses were included to add difficulty to the gameplay and compensate for the missing buttons.


Guitar Hero III Mobile features 15 playable songs from Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock with additional expansion packs released every month. Song quality and format varies by phone type. However, only the first two minutes of each song are available to play.

Main setlist

As with Guitar Hero III for consoles, the mobile version presents songs separated into three tiers, each with four songs that must be completed before the fifth encore song can be performed. Successfully completing the encore allows the player to unlock the next tier of songs and play them in Quickplay mode.

Year Song title Artist Tier
1970 *"Black Magic Woman" Santana
2005 *"Woman" Wolfmother
2006 *"Miss Murder" AFI
1991 *"Suck My Kiss" Red Hot Chili Peppers
1972 **"School's Out" Alice Cooper
1979 ***"Hit Me with Your Best Shot" Pat Benatar
1978 ***"You Really Got Me" Van Halen
1974 ***"Strutter" Kiss
1993 ***"Cherub Rock"
1996 ****"Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart" Stone Temple Pilots
2006 *****"Monsters" Matchbook Romance
1983 *****"Shout at the Devil" Mötley Crüe
1970 *****"Paranoid" Black Sabbath
1973 *****"Jessica"
1984 *****"Rock You Like a Hurricane"

the * stands for the level of the song

Monthly download packs

Each month since January 2008, a three-song pack has been released as purchasable content for the game. Songs downloaded this way can be played in Quickplay mode.

Year Song title Artist Month released
1988 "Mother" Danzig
1977 "Barracuda" Heart
1971 The Who
2006 "Life Wasted" Pearl Jam
1989 "She Bangs the Drums"
1983 "Pride and Joy" Stevie Ray Vaughan
1970 "War Pigs" Black Sabbath
1973 "Search and Destroy" Iggy Pop and the Stooges
1974 "Free Bird" Lynyrd Skynyrd
1976 "Crazy on You" Heart
2004 "Laid to Rest" Lamb of God
2007 "Metal Heavy Lady" Lions
1975 "Slow Ride" Foghat
1992 "Black Sunshine" White Zombie
1970 "Mississippi Queen" Mountain
2005 "Stricken" Disturbed
1978 "Talk Dirty to Me" Poison
1975 "Rock and Roll All Nite" Kiss
1985 "Madhouse" Anthrax
1973 "Psychobilly Freakout" The Reverend Horton Heat
1973 "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" Rick Derringer
1990 "Stop!" Jane's Addiction
2007 "The Arsonist" Thrice
1990 "John The Fisherman" Primus
1962 "Misirlou" Dick Dale
1976 "Carry on Wayward Son" Kansas
1991 "Girlfriend" Matthew Sweet
1981 "YYZ" Rush
2006 "Freya" The Sword
1984 "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" Spinal Tap


Overall, Guitar Hero III Mobile has been well received. IGN considered it to be a "successful adaptation" of the Guitar Hero games to the cellphone keypad. They commented that while it may be tricky to download the songs for the game, requiring the user to be persistent during the download, the sound quality was excellent and the simplification down to three buttons from five makes the game "accessible to anybody with even a passing curiosity." CNET praised the quality of the sound and animations, as well as the ease of play. Cell Play referred to the game as "the true mobile port of rock," and praised the level of difficulty accomplished with the three button setup. They considered the shortened song length a negligible downside compared to the overall package. 1UPs review criticized the compact layout that led to hand cramps, and that the limited space on the mobile version only allowed two songs to be stored at a time. 1UP also lamented the shorted versions of the songs given the outstanding audio quality achieved on the mobile platform; their review summarized their experience as "As a literal interpretation of the Guitar Hero formula, there was apparently no room to alter the game to emphasize the strengths of the mobile platform." Guitar Hero III Mobile won two awards at the Qualcomm 2008 BREW Developers Conference for "Best Game" and "People's Choice Award". The game has been downloaded by users one million times, with both Verizon and Hands-On Mobile claiming that over 250,000 songs are played a day on the platform.


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