Friday, January 11, 2008

While My Guitar (-shaped Controller) Gently Weeps

I hope everyone out there on the Interweb is having an awesome year thus far. I know that I’ve been MIA for the last week or so, but the strains of some semblance of a social life coupled with a hectic work schedule have left me more or less taxed. And yes, that last sentence was meant to get you thinking about tax season, since it’s pretty much here.

Explanation for procrastination aside, I should admit that I’ve been spending a fair amount of time honing my skills at Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. And before all the naysayers chime in with “James, just learn to play real guitar and put down the plastic toy with the brightly colored buttons,” let me just say f*ck off, first of all. Okay, I admit that’s a bit harsh, but that’s a conversation that seems to come up whenever I mention how fun the game is to someone less guitar heroic. Yes, I’m aware that it’s just a video game and that getting five stars on “Even Flow” does not compare to someone spending hundreds of dollars and countless hours learning to master real chords for real songs on a real guitar. But lighten up. It’s the equivalent of someone saying “why are you playing Super Mario Bros. when you can be a real Italian plumber who steps on turtles, frantically collects coins and eats random mushrooms that come out of flashing boxes emblazoned with question marks?” It’s just an idiotic argument. Video games are escapism, first and foremost.

But after winning a grueling guitar battle with Satan himself, I’m pretty happy with the latest iteration of the Guitar Hero franchise. It’s got a good mix of old and new. You can start off a play session with some vintage Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones and move onto some Tenacious D…yes, I said Tenacious D before rocking out to KISS and DragonForce. Plus, thanks to the aforementioned guitar boss battles, you’ll test your skills against rockers like Tom Morello and Slash, who later become playable characters.

It’s available for just about every system out there, so if you’re not hip to Guitar Hero by now, what the hell are you waiting for?

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