People who are mourning the demise of the popular family game Guitar Hero: don’t fret. Ok, do fret. There’s a new game in town, or at least under development: Rocksmith. What’s different about this game is that it uses an actual guitar as a controller. (Hence the bad fret joke.) I’m not the biggest video game fan…unless your idea of fan is a hysterical denouncing maniac who refuses to let any video games cross the threshold of my home, cruelly denying my son [and husband] the pleasure of this activity. But I must admit to being intrigued by this particular game. I’ve done a little time with Guitar Hero and while it was definitely more enjoyable for me than any other video game I’ve ever played (again, not saying much) as a person who plays real guitar, I found it pretty frustrating.
But this could be different. For one thing, it could actually be helpful to a kid learning to play guitar. Guitar Hero was supposedly a great entree into the world of playing an instrument. But really, as a teaching tool, Guitar Hero pretty much sucked.
Guitar Hero’s cockamamie push button controller may have had some things in common with real guitar playing (you hold a neck, hit things in a specific place on the neck at a specific time). But the motion was totally different. If I actually knew how to play the song I was playing, I was almost always worse at playing it in Guitar Hero than a song I’d never played before. And the pushbutton situation had nothing to do with how a real guitar is played.
I know there’s a successful kids’ piano teaching method that uses a keyboard connected to a computer game; I can imagine Rocksmith having the same effect. If, in fact, it actually gets released: apparently there’s some grumbling about how other companies have been trying to do this for a while unsuccessfully, and confusion about how exactly the technology would work. It seems like there’s been a lot of progress in analog/digital conversion in the past couple of years- guitar cables that plug into your computer and/or mobile device and such…I’d think they’d be able to find a way to convert the audio to digital information (MIDI)? In any case, I’m still not so sure it’s going to be allowed in my apartment. If I’m going to deprive the rest of my family, I’m going to have to deprive myself, too.