Monday, May 12, 2008

Guitar Hero as the Ultimate Guitar Trainer

Like everyone I’ve seen millions of references to Guitar Hero but was surprised on seeing it featured in Guitar World (June 2008). It seems the editors of Guitar World have reconciled themselves to the existence of Guitar Hero after feedback indicating the game has given many first time players the confidence to pick up the real guitar. Anything that gets someone interested in the guitar is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. But, what happens to your Guitar Hero playing once you do get interested in the guitar?

I picked up the guitar at age 50 and now that I’ve played for awhile I view playing Guitar Hero as taking away from practice time. While the game is lots of fun it always comes down to how much better I would be on the guitar if I invested time in it vs. Guitar Hero. Since I really need the practice I opt to play the guitar. This is not the usual 'why play a game when you can play the real thing' post but an 'I want to have my cake and eat it too post'. Why can't they invest development effort into an interface so a guitar can be used as a controller and create the ultimate guitar training platform?

Guitar Rising and Guitar Wizard coming out later this year both provide a guitar interface. The full integration of this type of interface into Guitar Hero would be the best of all worlds, especially for us aging rockers learning the guitar. We could play the game and get our guitar practice at the same time. Anyone reading my articles knows I’m a big guitar trainer fan. We’re talking the ultimate trainer here.

In addition to all the benefits of a standard guitar trainer you would also get continuous quantitative feedback on your playing as you will get the clam sound for missed notes and an actual score for accuracy. You also get what traditional guitar trainers cannot offer, rock and roll initiation of the sort depicted on Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. The game may not throw things at you but you will get booed off the stage if you suck!

If games like Guitar Hero are indeed creating interest in the guitar like the Guitar World editors say, these game makers are well served by full integration of the guitar in order to hold on to the fans they’ve created for the long run.

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