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Originally published Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 10:59 AM

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On latest guitar game, players strum real strings

An upcoming musical video game lets players strum a real six-string electric guitar instead of tapping buttons on a fake instrument.

AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK —

An upcoming musical video game lets players strum a real six-string electric guitar instead of tapping buttons on a fake instrument.

"Power Gig: Rise of the SixString" is a game first and foremost. But its maker, Seven45 Studios, said players will be able to plug the guitar that comes with it into a standard amp and play real music.

"The leap to (playing) guitar will be seamless," said Jeff Walker, vice president of marketing at Seven45.

Games such a "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" soared to popularity over the past several years. But lately they've been faltering, in part because customers have been reluctant to shell out big bucks for the fake musical instruments needed to play the games.

Seven45 hopes "Power Gig" will lure gamers ready for a new challenge, one that feels closer to playing a real instrument than strapping on a "Rock Band" accessory and tapping buttons. It helps that Seven45 shares owners with musical instrument maker First Act; the two are working together to make the game.

The game includes a "beat-matching" mode that players of "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" are familiar with. In this mode, players must follow on-screen beat sequences with their instruments.

In a challenge that comes closer to playing an actual guitar, "Power Gig" players hit specific strings to produce chords.

Boston-based Seven45, which is introducing "Power Gig" at this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, hasn't announced a price, but said it will be comparable with existing music games, which now cost as little as $70 and as much as $200 for a limited edition "The Beatles: Rock Band" bundle.

It will be available in the fall for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 gaming consoles. The "Power Gig" guitar will work with existing "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" games.

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