I was recently in the Baltimore area to visit some family, and while I was there we spent a few nights hanging out at my aunt’s house where I played the new Wii game “Rock Band” with my cousin and brother, and I must tell you that I am completely hooked! Last fall I visited the same cousin and played a song or two on Guitar Hero, which I really enjoyed, and this summer I spent a week in a home with a Playstation and Guitar Hero II, where I joined forces with another counselor to form the great rock band Bandana Bay to conquer the game’s medium level. And while those encounters had whetted my appetite for the guitar video game, I was unprepared for the feeling of exhilaration I got when playing Rock Band.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it takes the concept that is Guitar Hero, where you have a guitar shaped controller and press buttons to correspond to notes and beats shown on the screen, and turns it up a notch by including the possibility of performing on bass guitar, vocals, and drum set, too. Of course, you can’t do all of them at once, but you can play and instrument and sing vocals on your own or create a band with some friends! Now that my visit to Maryland is over, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t try out the vocal part, which somehow registers the note you sing in a way similar to that of an instrument tuner, but I was too enthralled by the drum set.
With no choice of a second guitar, my brother decided our band would consist of him singing lead while my cousin played guitar and I did the drums. I had on occasion played the fight song while in high marching band, and sometimes the Hey Song, too, on bass drum, so in his mind I apparently had the background necessary to take on such a role, even if I’d never really done more than imagine myself jamming out on a drum set. Regardless of my ability on an actual drum set, I pointed the drum’s setting to medium and had at the first song.
And I rocked. After a few songs, I soon coveted the necessary items that would allow me to rock out in similar fashion every night, though once I realized that might cost somewhere close to $500, I decided I could live without. I did begin to realize, however, how one might become obsessed with such video games to the point of shirking homework and life responsibilities to gain the highest skill level possible. With that in mind, though, it is a disappointment that the skills necessary to gain Guitar Hero stardom aren’t really transferable to anything useful once the power is switched off, aside, of course, from one having learned the importance of persistence and dealing with failure.
For the past 10 or more years, video and computer games have remained a bit of a novelty for me, as I’ve only really played them as a treat when visiting others. However, having experienced these new fangled games they’ve begun to create these days, with controllers too large to be held in one hand, I can see myself in 3-5 years owning one myself, jamming out in a basement somewhere, hopefully not shirking any responsibilities in the process, but you never know.