Tuesday, October 03, 2006

'Guitar Hero' Has Given Me A False Understanding At My Propensity For Rocking Out

Recently, my roomate came home toting a Best Buy bag, sporting an ear-to-ear grin. This is usually expected from a Best Buy run as all residents of my apartment sport painful addictions to B-squared, but this seemed different as the bag looked unalike from the prototypical Best Buy run that normally features DVD's that offer inane products that you'll never use (and if you don't believe me, I invite you to come over and we'll chat about it over a game of Poker with my Snatch playing cards). Instead, inside was a PlayStation2 and this contraption called Guitar Hero.

For the uninitiated, Guitar Hero is one of those noveau-interactive home video games akin to Dance Dance Revolution, only without the sweaty douchebaggery:
But whereas DDR is just a lame way to teach "indoor" kids how to Riverdance with a Nintendo PowerPad, Guitar Hero brings another dimension to the table. Along with the standard looking PlayStation 2 game comes a new wrinkle in video gaming. The controller is actually a guitar, the buttons all color-coded and located on a fretboard, and instead of a joystick you have strummable "strings" and a whammy bar:I immediately discredited my roomates' new toy as the most asinine purchase since 1803 (Lousiana Purchase, FYI) especially since we already had 2 XBOX's and a Gamecube strewn about. I saw it in action and wrote it off as another passing fad. Then I tried my hand at it and was embarassed at my lack of ability to correctly play Joan Jett's "I Love Rock And Roll". Guitar Hero is not for me, I declared, vowing never to play that stupid game again.

But then a funny thing happened. Guitar Hero became all I could think about. Later that night I snuck downstairs, pulled down the shades in the living room, and had a go. Amazed at my uncanny ability to play Sum 41's "Fat Lip" on Easy mode, despite not knowing how to play a real guitar (though one could argue that the collective members of Sum 41 could not, either), I became hooked.

At work, while writing about deadly car crashes, I was really thinking about what "Iron Man" would sound like if I went a little heavier on the Whammy Bar, or if the Queens of the Stone Age took some solace in knowing that "No One Knows" was even hard to play on Easy mode, or arguing the merits of a respected artist like David Bowie offering up Ziggy Stardust to a video game (with myself). Was he selling out or was this a way to broaden the musical horizons of a younger demographic?

Who fucking cares? I was virtually shredding in my living room. I was even making rock faces!:

So impressed with my recently realized virtua-Steve Vai-esque chops, I decided to enter an open mic night at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge last week. With a guitar unknowingly on loan from a neighbor I headed to the "gig".

Thankfully, there was only 20-30 people on hand, because what transpired would easily place into the top 3 most embarassing moments of Paul Reubens' life (which is saying alot). Upon taking the stage, removing (unsheathing?) my guitar from the case, and strapping it on I realized that I had no idea how to play a real guitar.

With no color coded fret buttons, or video reminders of when to strum, I clumsily made my way through what I could remember of Jimi Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic" on Easy mode (which turns out to be a melody-less bassline, thank you very much). Fortunately I was able to redeem myself with an a capella rendition of "Take On Me" (which, sadly, has been honed long before I signed up for Open Mic night)

Nevertheless, I was thrown for a loop by those fuckers at Red Octane who make Guitar Hero. My virtual shredding did not hold up well in real life despite my numerous 5 Star reviews in the game. So, I'm taking this moment to announce my retirement from music and turn my attention to joining a semi-pro adult football league. After all, I did just win the Heisman award twice in a row in NCAA College Football '06...

1 comment:

Matt said...

Pretty much anyone I know's made fun of the game, until they've actually tried it. Then they're hooked.