For non-musicians (and even some musicians), Guitar Hero and its subsequent clones provided plenty of fun. But no matter how much star power you accumulated, you would never get any closer to performing on an actual stage just by playing the game. Now, though, Ubisoft is looking to change that. They're re-infusing the rock sim genre with a game that aims to teach you how to play guitar for real.
You won't need to buy extra plastic hardware in order to play Rocksmith. In fact, you won't need any manual hardware at all, other than the standard Xbox controller needed to operate the menus. All you need is a real, wooden guitar--one with frets and strings and the whole lot. The game will work with an acoustic guitar or an amplified electric, whichever you happen to have on hand. You play into a microphone (presumably the one in the Kinect) and the game picks up which notes you've hit. It'll run through a song, visually showing you where to go on the fretboard, and slowing down if you make a lot of mistakes. It's sort of like a more forgiving version of Guitar Hero except there are over a hundred potential buttons to press, not just five.
By putting a score on a practice session, Rocksmith aims to make the beginning stages of instrument learning more fun. It's the little rewards like colored lights and happy sounds that help gaming types get through hours of tedium (just ask any WoW player). I don't think the game will necessarily act as a complete replacement for real lessons--there are a lot of things it won't really teach you, like proper hand position and music theory--but as an at-home practice motivator it seems like Rocksmith will do just fine.