Excited? Yes, Wii are! or The Role of a Guitar Hero in the 21st Century

Video games.

At the mere mention of the medium, people either salivate or roll their eyes.   Most of the time, I tend to do both in varying degrees.

Video games are something of a paradox for me – I truly love playing them, but I do invariably feel like I’m wasting my time after a bit, which is probably why Catherine has no issue with the fact that I do love them.  She loves them, too, but we love them in a similar way: we laugh, we have a great time, we find them exciting, and then…we go do husband/wife things.   No matter how much fun The Legend of Zelda franchise may be, I know, with every passing minute of play, that nothing in that game really matters to my life as a whole.  Which actually makes me enjoy it even more.  The sophistication of video games has made some of them seem like real work, which isn’t that appealing when I consider that I’m playing them in my free time away from…well, real work.

So regardless of how fun it is, the all-encompassing obsession people have with “Guitar Hero” is still a bit strange to me.   Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a blast, but this whole gig-bag/guitar case/drum totes/sound-activated lights thing?  Hmm.  Kids, you’re not really in a band.   In fact, many musicians I know think it’s a load of shit since it bears no resemblance to actual guitar playing.  While I see where they’re coming from, I have to wonder if that was ever the point, though it seems that even the makers of “Guitar Hero” have lost their minds and seem to consider it the future of music.  While that’s a bit far-fetched to me, I’ll admit that the whole thing does hold an undeniable appeal.  “Guitar Hero” represents the ultimate expression of adolescent male fantasy – the part that never goes away, no matter how old you are.  The part of you that really, truly imagines – what, honestly, would my life be like if I was in Metallica?  Answer: Awesome.  Hence, “Guitar Hero.”

I was four years old, it was 1978, and I worshipped KISS.   I had a plastic guitar with their faces on it, and little fake vinyl strings.  When my aunts would come over to babysit me, I would make them sit on the couch while I leaped around the dining room while lipsyncing and posing KISS: ALIVE! in its entirety.  I’m sure this was beyond boring and perhaps distressing.   But it encapsuled what many, many American boys wish for themselves.  To that end, I thought, “Guitar Hero” is pretty cool!  And that was about as far as I went with it.

Then they announced this Beatles edition of “Rock Band” due out in September.   And now I am drooling and crapping with the very thought of such a thing.

The thought of an interactive Sgt. Pepper’s stage, recreating the rooftop concert, pretending to cross Abbey Road by walking to my bathroom, whatever the hell they trot out, takes things to a new level for me, since they were the other band I wished I was a part of, even at that tender age.  Getting to “be” the Beatles is maybe the highest form of video game evolution.  I don’t know where they plan to go from here, and I don’t care.   That’s the end of the line, folks.  The only conceivable thing that could compete is, fuck, who knows, “Rock Band: Jesus Christ,” and even that might not sell as well as the Beatles.  (Lennon would agree with me.  Hehe.) 

So the countdown has begun to the pre-order.  For the first time in almost twenty years, I’m jonesing like a pre-teen over the thought of a video game.  As Bono has said, “everyone who has ever wanted to be a rock star for a living wants to be the Beatles, whether they’re even aware of it or not.”  Believe it, friends.  And when we’re leaping about and destroying our TV room as we work our way through Beatles history on September 9th, things will have come full circle.  The goofy, four-year-old would-be-rock-star with a plastic guitar will have become…a goofy thirty-five year old would-be rock star with a plastic guitar.  With my wife on drums. 

And oh, my god, we will rock.  Like it’s 1964, baby.

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~ by thismarriedguy on April 1, 2009.

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