A Portrait of the Guitar Hero as a Young Man in a Rock Band

I started playing my mom’s beat up guitar when I was about nine or ten. At the time I thought it was fun solely because a friend taught me to strum and sing the Oscar Mayer wiener song, and I did so – often publicly. In middle school, I found a few others who for various reasons could play an instrument mildly well, and we did so — publicly. Our first time out was the school’s talent show. We were probably there for the sole reason of showing the assholes who beat us up in the locker room that we could do something better than they could. We chose to perform, despite my lobbying for the wiener song, Sweet Child O’ Mine. As I opened up the first few riffs – girls screamed. Girls who I had never seen before, screamed. Girls who I had seen, and who had never seen me — girls with breasts, were screaming at me. For me.

Actually Frank understands EXACTLY how gay works
Apparently they didn’t understand how gay works in the 80s, as this is was how men wanted to look in order to attract women.

I SO wish this were a joke

After using my guitar to hide my first public boner, I decided right then and there that I would forever use it to find everlasting happiness. (Of course, a few years later, I would experience a hopelessly dark and evil tragedy called Superman 64 which would end my happiness and help me become the scarred and cynical a-hole that I am today.) Despite that horror, I did manage to put skin to skin a few times after being approached with the phrase, “Are you in the band?” So here’s where I finally get around to talking about a videogame. If the little Straboni of yesteryear had been exposed to Guitar Hero, he’d never have walked into a music store and bugged the clerks to play every instrument in the shop. He’d might never have played an actual instrument at all, nor experienced the beautiful agony of girls with braces. He’d probably never have had to go through a mullet phase either, but even that had it’s purpose once. “Starscream and the Second-in-Commands” never would have taken the stage if Rock Band had fulfilled the fantasy and kept us glued to the TV.


Imagine the Behind the Music this band could have made
Hellllooooo Cafetorium !!!! Are you ready to ROCK!!??

Guitar Hero is about as likely to help anyone become a musician as Madden is to turn you into a pro football player, or as Sonic the Hedgehog is to turn you into a mohawked homosexual track star. I know that we don’t play video games so that we can actually turn into whatever a Master Chief is, but Guitar Hero, and perhaps even more, Rock Band, have untapped potential to put you on the path.

It just needs one single upgrade: A feature that allows you to not look like a six-year-old because of the pile of toy instruments lying around your house. These games have caught on with a pretty mainstream crowd, but there are still plenty of people, mostly gainfully employed women, who still aren’t on board. From the point of view of the uninitiated masses (read: women who might sleep with you if your apartment didn’t look like Pee Wee’s playhouse) it’s still fucking gay to have toys taking up large amounts of space in your living room. I’m not saying it’s a flaw with the game; it just could be so much more. Video games have been the worst self inflicted cock block since the calculator watch and for once, they could actually help develop a skill that the rest of society will recognize.

So, how hard would it really be to make this game work with an actual guitar? I’ll pay M$ or whomever, whatever they want to make my actual guitar collection plug into the 360. From what my drumming inclined friends say, the Rock Band drum part is pretty close to the real deal. So, why not a set of pads to put on an actual drum kit? And it’s not just for me and my smoldering dream of getting the band back together. It’s for the kids. All of these new potential rockers aren’t even gaining enough transferable skill to play a power chord. Make the game work with even one string and five frets, and for the first time in holymuthafuckingshit history, a video game might actually be responsible for getting someone laid.

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16 years ago

Interestingly, I’ve seen more and more gainfully employed (and even attractive) women interested in Rock Band. I was really surprised to see a friend of mine’s wife take to the drums at a new years party. And she was pretty good at it. A coworker recently admitted she played GH3 during Xmas and absolutely loved it, despite not having played video games in twenty years.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band may be the turning points for gaming where non-gamers become gamers and aren’t ashamed of it. I hope this is the case.

And I too would pay money to not look like I was playing a fisher price guitar.

16 years ago

You might want to check out http://www.otronicon.org/InDash_Display.aspx?PGID=440

It’s homebrew, but it looks like it does the job.

16 years ago

When we can play the games with a real instrument, that is cool.

When they’re making lifelike replicas of instruments to play the game on, that is when I start feeling like the “play a real guitar already” argument starts to make a lot more sense.