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Guitar Players vs. Guitar Heroes

guitar heroes video game



By George Dickson
The crowd is going nuts, the drums are driving the rhythm, and you’re unleashing hell on the guitar. The average person doesn’t get to experience this—unless they’re playing Guitar Hero. This innovative game gives players a chance to glimpse rock superstardom. Even simple things like the game’s guitar-inspired controller help to immerse a gamer in the rock star mentality (minus the gratuitous sex, money, and drugs). The soundtrack of hard-hitting rock songs spans several generations, making it fun for almost any age group. Music and video game fans all over the world have fallen in love with Guitar Hero, and a host of similar rhythm games. Their popularity is spreading like American obesity, and isn’t showing any signs of abating either.


There have even been several Guitar Hero contests, the winners receiving small amounts of cash and fame. Yes, there are some people that practice diligently with a plastic guitar, and in return they sometimes experience the same skill-related perks that a real guitar expert might. Both guitar players and guitar heroes play in front of a crowd and are given recognition for exemplary achievements. There’s also the crazy sex appeal. So what is it that actually separates a guitar player from a guitar hero? Ask someone who plays.


Many guitarists feel that the artistic merits of their instrument are cheapened by Guitar Hero, and hate the game with an unearthly passion. Why is this? Are they simply frustrated at their lack of skill at a guitar-centered game? Is the irony of that too inescapable? Speaking of cheapening, it might have something to do with the plastic guitar/controller. Maybe the real-life guitarist prefers playing original tunes over playing covers. The frustration could lie in the fact that it only takes a few weeks to start getting good at Guitar Hero. If anyone can practice for a few days and then stand up and play big gut-wrenching solos, what’s the point of spending years practicing a real instrument? Practicing the real guitar will only make you worse at Guitar Hero anyway.


The game’s interface can be counter-intuitive for someone with a carefully ingrained knowledge of guitar chords and finger positions. A practiced guitarist might reach for a note that exists on a fret board, but doesn’t on a controller. To their horror, the guitar hero standing beside them just whooped them with a perfect score on hard, click—click—click—clicking their way to victory. This makes most guitarists furious, because the guitar hero has never even touched anything but that stupid plastic controller!


The feud may never end. The guitarists will continue to call foul on the guitar heroes. The guitar heroes will play on, unperturbed. The guitarists will tell the guitar heroes to get a real instrument, and the guitar heroes will tell the guitarists to let go of their prejudices. No matter the outcome of this ongoing battle, the game is probably here to stay.

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