Court of the Ginger King: The Appeal of Guitar Hero

Well, this is certainly odd. It seems as if the Ginger King is playing, wait for it, the Devil’s advocate? Just a few weeks ago, our ol’ Ginger bastard ticked off readers by slamming the video game juggernaut, Guitar Hero. Now, he’s digressing on how it’s, well, good? The court’s out on this one. -Michael Roffman, Editor-in-Chief

Sure, I played Guitar Hero (GH) but other than chicks, who hasn’t? I played some GH1, I played some GH2, but I bought GH3 and I fucking loved that game. How could I not? It has some classic tracks and Slash was even in it, and if anyone has read previous posts, I love Slash and all the pomp and circumstance he lends his name and hat to, but that’s beside the point. I got sucked in. That’s all that matters, really — at least for this article.

The first time I owned a Guitar Hero game was when I was a failure, living at home, and in a room next to my parents. In other words, the story of many a gamer. I don’t care though, it was fun and Old Style can only entertain me so long. It wasn’t love at first sight, it wasn’t a “cave in” to a fad, it was simply and strictly boredom.

You pretentious fucks. How can you hate Guitar Hero? It’s an awesome fucking game. I didn’t own the first two, but I played a decent amount. Even game testers like Guitar Hero! It’s one of the all-time purest video games, it’s a rhythm game with colors and buttons. The concept of Guitar Hero is brilliant and is a modern day example of video game perfection. If you’ve hated on Guitar Hero, you’ve had a problem with gamerdom, and to a larger extent pop culture. Really, at what point are you just questioning humanity? As a member of the blogosphere, I won’t stand for it. Guitar Hero is one of the greatest games of all time.
“Whagh! I’m a 22 year old male who wears women’s jeans and wants to be in a noise rock band. I hate games because my lip piercing is magnetized to the circuit board inside the console.”

I enjoy generalizing because the internet loves (and despises) it, but one of the main complaints your everyday garden variety musician has is, “you should spend that effort learning a real guitar.” I have a problem with this logic. Why do you want everyone learning how to play a guitar? The instrument itself is irrelevant in this modern age, so why do I want every guy on the street knowing power chords? It doesn’t do anything for our society. In fact, I love Guitar Hero because I don’t even concern myself with a real guitar, I play synth and write a music article that everyone hates. Why do I need to burden myself even more?

The real problem is the assumption that anyone can learn a guitar, and secondly, that they want to learn the guitar. You can’t fault a 19-year-old college kid for not having time to learn guitar. They can learn how to hold a guitar, hear a crowd, play a song they love and smoke or drink and they don’t have to spend thousands of dollars at Guitar Center to do it. Why do you need to be a buzzkill? The reason everyone loves music to begin with is not everyone can do it. Why make people feel bad for wanting to feel what it is like to be a musician for three minutes at a time? Stop being an elitist. It’s a fucking game. Enjoy yourself for once in your life.

Speaking of enjoyable three minutes, I enjoy myself for longer than that everytime I play the game. In both Guitar Hero and Rock Band, there is a collection of outstanding avatars to use. How can you hate a game that features cliché metalheads and Japanese pop stars? Both games have ’em, and it’s not like there’s a kid who never heard music before making a game in his basement. I love irony just like everyone else, so why can’t we have games that understand humor and irony just like humans. Sure, there are more popular games like Halo and House of the Dead II, but the real argument here is that I love seeing someone’s interpretation of a tried and true cliché. This is all we have left creatively, there is very little originality left, but what is left is a person’s vision of what cliché is, and Guitar Hero is responsible and funny enough to make some jokes about band members and what they always seem to look like.

Oh shit, did I say members? I play sports, make movies, go to the bar, get in arguments, but few scenes match the fun and excitement that comes from three or four friends coming together for a song on Guitar Hero. The skill level is different? Doesn’t matter. Girls and guys? Doesn’t matter. All fucked up on goofballs and cough syrup? Doesn’t matter. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are games that bring people together. Unlike hundreds of other games that provide a singular experience, these games can bridge gaps and connect people like few things. There’s a reason these games are so popular, it’s because they are fun with a group – just like with real music.

I know some people just don’t like games or sitting in a dank college dorm room, but don’t hate on someone’s fun. I don’t criticize you for your shitty taste in music, so don’t criticize me for my love of a game. Most importantly, remember it’s just a game; a fun, addictive and entertaining game that groups of people can enjoy together.

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