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Location: Cantonment, Florida, United States

Well, uh, hmm...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Guitar Hero is a false idol. A false idol, I tell you!

I tried playing the game Guitar Hero 2 the other day. It has a funky controller that looks like a guitar. It features five multi-colored buttons near the headstock that act as the fretted notes. Also, there's a little lever where the pickups would go that moves up and down to simulate picking the strings. Here's a picture.

To play, the game plays the audio of a cool rock song and shows five lines of "strings" that run from the bottom of the screen back into the distance. Then, small bumps start moving along the strings toward the player, and the player must hit the strings (push the white bar on the body) and press the appropriate buttons to play the notes. If the player screws up (which he will, it's inevitable), he is greeted with an unpleasant "twang!"

Now, I was at Best Buy, waiting for my turn to have my hand at this thing, minding my own business. Unbeknownst to me, the game was preparing to embarass this poor man. I got up there, looking forward to doing Black Sabbath's War Pigs, a song I can play well in real life on real guitars. I set it on medium difficulty, thinking that would be just fine, or even a little too easy. It was after about 4 seconds that I realized that this game effectively removes all need for actual guitar playing skill and replaces it with something completely different yet nearly as difficult, though quite useless in the real world. It's just an exercise in pushing buttons at predetermined times. Actually, it's even possible to do it with the volume down because the player can just watch the screen and push the buttons in the right order. Plus, that little guitar controller looks ridiculous. Really ridiculous. It's kind of nice in that it gets kids off their butts and get them headbanging, kind of like the Wii, but it seems to me that after adding up the cost of buying a Playstation 2, the game and controller, and any extra crap like a new faceplate for the guitar, I could get a cheap guitar for the same price (about $220). And then I'd be learning a useful real-world skill. But, I guess it's comparable to learning a race track in Gran Turismo 4. It's nice if I don't feel like purchasing an old Cizeta Moroder and heading down to the Laguna Seca course. Well, actually, no, learning to play the guitar is more realistic a goal. So, instead of spending the cash on that game, go get a real guitar. NOW!


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