In Short – Pick up an Actual Damn Guitar
On September 9th North America will finally have The Beatles: Rock Band, an instrument-based game hot on the lips of today’s pop culture. The Beatles have, through their final breathing members, finally agreed to put together a video game that would appeal to the masses through an iteration of the already popular Rock Band franchise. The obvious impression is that if you like the Beatles or music games you should buy this ritualistic birth, and bring it home to display in front of the family. When all is said and done, the three microphones, a guitar, and a drum set will be laid upon the home’s entertainment alter and used to deliver the divine into our hands. As expected, a sacrifice will have to be paid, inevitably spending an awkward sum of currency and living room liberty.
As another duplication in the most resented video game genre in the tertiary sector, The Beatles: Rock Band continues the trend of instrument-based games which occupies large amounts of retail and personal room, in an effort to improve upon the current viewable failures of the compact disk industry. In this way, September 9th represents the eighth release of rhythm games (without including any of the minor band exclusive game which only exist due to stubborn marketing executives, and children whose parents refuse to buy the songs online)with this degree of plastic physicality. They all carry instruments are
made to imitate but not replicate their real life equivalents. In fact the most recent Guitar Hero game was released hardly over a week ago to a stagnant audience, who merely walked to the store with the vague impression that they had been given more of what they wanted. Perhaps as an anecdotal awareness that consumers’ entertainment stations are being overrun by these mock guitars, drums and microphones, Guitar Hero 5 (their newest release in the series) now allows multiples of the same instruments to be played simultaneously, which is a contrast to their previous mantra which only permitted two guitars (rhythm and bass), one set of drums and one microphone to participate in a “full band experience”.
The irony is that like most intriguing toys, this near-reality consumeristic invention is not North American, as much as one would like to hail Harmonix (the original developer for Guitar Hero and the current developer for Rock Band) as the rhythm gaming emperor. Konami, a Japanese company, was the first to publish a game that simulated being a rock star within their Guitar Freaks and Drum Freaks titles. Unfortunately, as the first to create it they were hardly the best at implementing the series, limiting the release to arcades and a small home console release outside Japan, and even then it was poorly made and too complex to use. Yet, it could never inspire the riot the genre causes today, as it didn’t have many licensed songs, which meant playing it was like hitting a random string of buttons on the side of a plastic rod; the music being of complete insignificance.
What this history and mass deliberation of human consumerism brings us to is time. No matter how enjoyable the game is, it requires practice and effort to attain true ersatz rock godhood. After the game is brought home and placed in within the family temple, it must be studied and worked upon until one can whammy through plastic buttons, karaoke, and near effectively play a diminutive set of drums to claim a score that is worthy of the money you have allocated and the landmass that is now covered by different sets of imitation musical instruments. However, what encumbers all the time and effort taken to glorify one’s rock dreams could have been better utilized achieving them in some state of reality. What games like The Beatles: Rock Band tend to kill, and by no fault of their own (they merely seek to expand those who listen not new musicians), are potential players of music. If these games were a better simulation of what it was to play these instruments, and then there would be no issue as it would be an inspiration of creativity. Yet as it stands, Rock Band and Guitar Hero only seem to distract from creative endeavors due to the huge obsession and the unfortunate fact that real instruments do not have leader-boards.