Kurt Cobain video game Guitar Hero gives Love a bad name

Nirvana fans upset with the depiction of late singer and husband of Courtney Love

While the Beatles dominated headlines this week by being the newest "members" of the music video game Rock Band, a rival game, Guitar Hero, is facing a barrage of criticism over its depiction of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

The game, which launched today, allows users to play along with Cobain and pick from the band's back catalogue, as well as other famous songs. Both games feature avatars (virtual characters) of dead rock stars but it is Guitar Hero's depiction of Cobain that has upset Nirvana fans.

At the centre of the furore is the singer's widow, Courtney Love, (right) who outraged fans by allowing his likeness to be used in the game. As the widow of Cobain, who killed himself in 1994, Love holds the rights to his estate. But shortly after clips of Cobain's avatar were posted online, Love, 45, wrote a number of angry messages on Twitter attempting to distance herself from the final product.

"It's disgusting and vile and is the result of a cabal of a few assholes' greed," she wrote in response to criticism from music critic Everett True, who accused her and the other Nirvana members of being "vacuous" and "spoiled" for sanctioning it.

"Not in twenty JILLION years would I EVER have allowed this," wrote Love, who says she will sue Activision, the company behind it. One of the features of the game that has most angered fans is the ability to play songs by other groups while in the guise of Cobain. The surviving members of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl put out a statement calling on Activision to alter the game.

"We are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in Guitar Hero. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate – we have no control whatsoever in that area.

"We didn't know players have the ability to unlock the character. This allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in 'relocking' Kurt's character," the pair said.

Activision is trying to rise above the criticism. The company's vice-president told journalists earlier this week that Love was "great to work with", and had contributed photos and videos for them to use.


Rosie Swash

The GuardianTramp

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