If you’ve ever seen someone play Guitar Hero, you’ve probably had the same five step reaction that everyone has:
- First you think the person with the plastic guitar in their hands is a total dumb-ass. You look at the brightly colored buttons and think, “I would never be caught dead playing that. It doesn’t even look fun,”
- Then you stand there watching because the music is good, and there is something about the game, and the idiot playing it that keeps your attention in some strange way that you cannot explain.
- Soon you find yourself thinking, “That can’t be too hard. I bet I could play that.”
- Next thing you know, you’re the dumb-ass with the plastic guitar in your hands.
- Shortly after you find that you are hesitant to give the plastic guitar back to your friend.
Why is it so much fun to jump around with a fake guitar in your hands?
It’s not really different from any other video game experience. If you have a desire to race cars, play professional football, blast out a crazy solo in a gigantic arena, shoot Germans on the beaches of Normandy, dogfight over the pacific, or slaughter aliens in a far away galaxy, video games let you do that. It’s just good escapism.
It’s also a great, nonviolent, accessible game for everyone. Female, male, young, or old; there are songs for everyone.
Anyone who has ever played guitar (for real) and tried out Guitar Hero knows that they don’t have much in common, but that’s not the point. They are two different skills serving different purposes. A lot of musicians don’t quite get that. I know some great guitarists who get so pissed off that they aren’t good at Guitar Hero (and some great Guitar Hero players who absolutely suck at playing guitar).
I play guitar and I play Guitar Hero. Nine times out of ten, I will pick my real guitar, but every once in a while I need to escape to my magical video game land where a packed arena is cheering for me as I play Free Bird.