Music Snobs: Please Shut Up About Guitar Hero Not Being The Real Thing

Guitar Hero has become an unparalleled success in this day and age of gaming, and with Rock Band on the horizon, it won't be much longer before we finally get the chance to experience the fantasy of full-on multiplayer rockage within the confines of our own homes. Yet still, many rock band enthusiasts and guitar heroes are consistently ridiculed by those die-hard music snob virtuosos, who continue to make the argument that us “poser” virtuosos would be better served by spending our time with the real McCoy instead of the dinky toy. I have a proposition for these people: Shut up.

For all those who hate Guitar Hero, I ask you this question – how much of Guitar Hero have you actually played? Probably not very much, and that’s fair; you just don’t like it. I mean, it enables some loser who can’t tell a C chord from an A minor to tear your ass up on Free Bird, and since that thing he’s doing it with kinda resembles a guitar, then clearly, he is somehow horning in on your territory. If only you had your custom Ibanez right now! You’d show him how Madhouse is meant to be played and probably throw in a really bitchin’ guitar solo as well. Hell, you’d probably even look way cooler playing the real thing than he ever would playing his dinky little toy guitar and wind up getting more pussy than a litterbox that night. All these things are true. That being said, you somehow remain blind to this one glaring fact:

A guitar is an instrument. Guitar Hero is a videogame.

Can’t rock out at Guitar Hero the same way you can on your Ibanez? There’s a reason for that – you haven’t mastered the game. Yes you can play the instrument. We believe you, please shut up. Please also recognize the difference between a guitar – a tool whose primary uses include rocking out and getting laid, and a videogame, which is a fun test of how well you respond to stimuli a computer throws at you. Mind you, while Guitar Hero simulates the experience of playing guitar, it is not a test of how well you play guitar, it’s a test of rhythm and dexterity based on stimuli you are fed through a TV screen.

That’s right, a TV screen. In case you didn’t realize, you need a TV to play Guitar Hero. You don’t need one for a real guitar. This is just one of the myriad ways the two are completely different beasts. With videogames, visuals are important, indeed the core of the beast. Did I mention that it was a game? Not Photoshop, not Cakewalk Guitar Tracks, not Mario Paint, but a videogame.

Let’s face it – mastering a guitar is hard. It takes practice to be able to play Sweet Child O’ Mine, and many people are, for one reason or another unable to get over the accessibility hurdle. This is one of the reasons videogames are popular – they lower the accessibility hurdle significantly through the power of simulation and allow us to pretend we’re conquering much much harder and far more thrilling tasks. I like Super Mario as much as the next guy, but if someone chastised me for not putting on a pair of red overalls, diving down pipes and leaping over pits, I’d probably think he was a jackass too. Like Mario, Guitar Hero is a game. You will not be able to get creative to your heart’s content. It will only let you play what it tells you to. You get hit? You die. You miss a few notes? You fail the song. Like anything else, and indeed like playing a real guitar, it takes practice. But it takes less practice. The tradeoff is that you get to simulate the sensation of being a rock star -- the sensation of being a Guitar Hero. Simulating heroic situations is what videogames do best.

But we all know that it’s not the real thing. Several of us will probably go on to dabble in, if not actually pick up the real thing as a result of Guitar Hero, and most of us are smart enough to know the difference, even if you think we’re not. We get it: you’re the real guitar hero. You’re a real guitar god. No one is denying that and I promise you, no one cares.

Now leave the rest of us slackers alone with our videogames and go out and get the pussy you so rightfully deserve.