Well that didn't take much. What am I talking about? The Guitar Hero III songlist. By merely announcing the first batch of songs...
"Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones
"Cherub Rock" by Smashing Pumpkins
"Sabotage" by Beastie Boys
"The Metal" by Tenacious D
"My Name is Jonas" by Weezer
"Knights of Cydonia" by Muse
"Rock And Roll All Nite" as made famous by Kiss
"School's Out" as made famous by Alice Cooper
"Slow Ride" as made famous by Fog Hat
"Cult of Personality" by Living Colour
"Barracuda" as made famous by Heart
...they've already ensured that I'll like it more than I liked Guitar Hero II. Actually, they could have just mentioned Barracuda and Knights of Cydonia and I'd be in 100%. 120%, even. Compared to the fairly disappointing list that the '80s edition is getting, this is, for me anyway, very exciting. In fact, with the possible exception of the Tenacious D track, all of these selections sound like good ideas. Also notice that six of those songs are "by" the original artists, not "as made famous by" the original artists. Good.
It's still totally insane to me that Guitar Hero blew up the way it did. This genre was supposed to have come and gone already. DDR has been reduced to a niche (well, a fairly big niche--DDR SuperNova on the PS2 sold over 600k copies) game that you already know if you like or hate, and none of Konami's other music game efforts have made a serious splash with mainstream audiences. I wonder if the people over there who refused to greenlight Guitar Freaks for the US are still kicking themselves over the decision...
Most rhythm games are, generally speaking, fun. What sets them apart from one another is the licensing effort put in by the publisher to ensure that it has the right music in it. Activision's been doing well with that for some time now with the Tony Hawk games, and EA, of course, is a monster in the licensed music department. So I guess it's not too surprising that they're the two publishers putting out the rhythm games that people are excited about. If Konami did push Guitar Freaks out over here, they'd probably leave in most of the quirky Japanese stuff, ensuring that only the very, very serious rhythm game players would care. So maybe it's for the best that they've taken the back seat on this stuff--at this point, they'd probably be out of their league.