Gene Simmons AXE Guitar Hero/Rock Band controller lets you hack up riffs, not people

Usually, when referring to an electric guitar, the term "axe" is more of a metaphor than a literal description. The guitar's long neck and broad body, often pointy or otherwise sharp-looking, looks a bit like a battle axe.

Gene Simmons took a bit more literal attitude when he picked out his signature bass, and again when he lent his name and Kramer the guitar's design to the Gene Simmons AXE Guitar Controller.

It's a 3/4-sized replica of Gene Simmons' own axe that works as a wireless guitar controller for Guitar Hero and Rock Band games on the Playstation 2 and Playstation 3. It bears Simmons' face and signature on the body, and features two sets of fret buttons for maximum thrashing.

It seems like a great controller, even when a vast majority of songs in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games aren't KISS-related. Not counting downloadable songs, you can play "Strutter" in Guitar Hero 2, "Rock 'N Roll All Nite" in Guitar Hero 3, and "Detroit Rock City" in Rock Band. That's fine if you just want to play singles, but what about "War Machine" or "Shock Me?"

The axe is currently available for $80 on hipstreetonline.com. A Nintendo Wii version will come out later this year, but there's no word on one for Xbox 360.

— W.G.

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