Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Most Fun You'll Ever Have Pushing Buttons

There are few things on this earth more appealing to the ladies than a man with creative talent and ability. For example, women will swoon for a man that can play guitar and croon for them. It requires the complete trifecta: talent, skill and a willingness to put your worries aside and care not if others appreciate the majesty of your performance.

Some of us, however, don't have time for all that crap. Let's be realistic, it takes YEARS to learn how to play those things with any degree of skill. And then even if you learn it, you've got to make sure that the genres of music you play are compatible to the tastes of the woman you are attempting to woo. Go ahead and try to play anything off "Supersadomasochisticexpialidocious" by Elvis Hitler to a girl whose principal musical interest lies in Hank Williams, Sr. and see how for you get. And I'm not just talking out of my ass, here. I've been learning to play guitar for almost a solid week at this point, and let me tell you, it ain't as easy as it looks.

Luckily, there are options for those of us with all the natural talents of a sloth coupled with the attention span of a goldfish. I am referring, of course, to Guitar Hero, the video game phenomenon that has taken the country by storm.

Guitar Hero, for those not in the know, is a video game for the Playstation 2 and XBox 360 systems that allows you to simulate all the awesomeness of being a rock star without all the hassle of learning how to play an instrument. You are presented with a plastic representation of a real guitar, albeit in a smaller scale. Said guitar contains five buttons on the neck, Green, Red, Yellow, Blue and Orange, as well as a bar for "strumming" where the strings would be.

The premise is simple: A well-known (or not, depending on your tastes) song is played with you filling the role of the lead guitarist. The five buttons are represented at the bottom of the screen while the notes you are to play fly at you at a blinding speed. When the note you are to hit reaches the bottom of the screen, hit the appropriate button and strum the note. Play well and you raise your score while delighting the audience. Miss a note and a small squelch sounds. Miss too many notes and the audience becomes hostile, eventually booing you off the stage.

Guitar Hero, much like its true instrumental counterpart, requires practice. Early difficulties have you only managing three of the fret buttons. Expert has you flying back and forth over all five. Like real guitar, practice is the key. Unlike real guitar, you can get pretty good pretty quick. The true masters dedicate disturbing amounts of time to honing their craft.

What the game does offer, though, is a quick thrill. It is exhilarating to get lost in the moment, nailing key passages, solos, trills and whatever else the game throws at you. There are many songs to work your way through, of varying difficulty.

Those that have known me for any length of time know of my love for this game. As I mentioned earlier, I have now been learning real guitar for several weeks, and I can attribute a large part of my interest in learning as a result of my love for the digital version.

However, like any relationship, there is a darker side. The current bane of my existence is Hangar 18 on Expert. No song in this game tripped me up for more than 5 attempts. I number well over 200 attempts on this song and can't get past the 90% mark. To add insult to injury, this song was one of the main songs that bolstered my interest initially. I am a lifelong Megadeth fan and that song is one of their masterpieces.

Alas, I know not whether or not I will ever beat that song. If I were to do so, all I would have left is Freebird and then I could live out my life content with my level of awesomeness. For now I must simply live with the fact that I am only rated at "Super cool" instead of "Wicked bad" when it comes to this game.......sigh......

Addendum as of August 2: I beat both Hangar 18 and Freebird tonight. Now to 5 star everything. I guess I am finally wicked bad.

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Bonez said...

You'll always be wicked bad in my book, E. Don't give up on your dream to be the best Guitar Hero player in gaming history. Your post makes me want to pull out my old concert Bic... flick it and hold it high as I sway back and forth in a semi-trance to the haunting melodious guitar riffs of Freebird as an encore.

E said...

Now you're going to make me cry. I can't GET to Freebird on Expert. Your dream will never come to pass either, I suppose. :(

E said...

Never mind all that. Strike up the Bic. I finished it last night. :D Time to five star every song now. ;)

Jod{i} said...

Wicked bad for sure! And hey playing guitar isnt that hard...

I saw Megadeth, ages ago, great show!

I played the first five minutes of the game and walked away...My son called me a woos!
Sigh...I will never be a hero, you rock on with your bad self!

E said...

I've had the luxury of seeing Megadeth 7 times over the years and the honor of meeting them once. Dave Mustaine is one of my musical heroes. Unfortunately, when I finally got a chance to meet him, I seized up and just kind of squeaked "You're awesome" to him. What a letdown. :P