My frustration about Guitar Hero

Posted by steve | Music | Monday 19 January 2009 6:46 pm

So, our teenager has been anxious to have us purchase the Guitar Hero video game, and guitar controller.  It’s an enormously popular video game and I can understand it’s appeal.  I’m going to go out and purchase it.  However, I’m also going to use this BLOG to vent a little about the whole concept.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band (similar video game themes) annoy me.  Here’s the deal.  As a musician, I have a lot of frustration with the general degradation of modern musical values.  I honor creativity expressed in music.  It just sounds like a lot of popular music today is nothing like what I call “real music”.  And, yes I know that classical composers generously “lifted” whole excerpts from each other.  

Yet when I hear modern popular music that has obvious copied sections from music I listened to 20 years ago, it really disappoints me.

I know.  I sound like an old fart complaining about “the newfangled crap these kids call music.”

What bothers me about video games like Guitar Hero is that it seems to substitute learning about playing a real music instrument with learning to play a “fake” music instrument.  The musician in me finds the whole concept difficult to abide.  The best argument I can support is the one where video games like this teach how to play in time and how to recognize chord changes.

It just feels like it further establishes a public acceptance of “just doing” things instead of learning things or gaining a valuable skill.  Learning to play an instrument is difficult and rewarding.  I’m not sure what learning to play Guitar Hero accomplishes.  That’s a bit harsh.  I’m okay with playing video games for the “fun of it.”  I just struggle when I think the video game is a substitute for the fun of playing a real musical instrument.

Okay.  I’ll step off my rant soap box now.