For Christmas, my boyfriend’s brother bought him Guitar Hero 3 for the 360. Although this was around the advent (no pun intended) of the much larger Rock Band, he was excited to own one of the hottest games of 2007. After all, he is a hardcore gamer. However, due to his OCD and the need to complete things in a linear fashion, something I wrote about here, he only started playing it towards the end of February. It seemed like the kind of game I might enjoy, so after showing me how to play, he handed me the toy guitar it comes with. The game has several levels: Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert, and has songs that progressively get more difficult to play. After my humbling inaugural song, Foghat’s “Slow Ride”, I knew I had to practice a lot, and that was fine by me.
What’s the biggest appeal? My philosophy is really cliche: if you work hard at something, you’ll get good at it. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that the songs are played at virtual concerts, and the video game audience can be a real motivator. Who doesn’t like applause? Pretty soon, songs like “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Sunshine of your Love” were child’s play, and I wanted more of a challenge. When you play GH3, it’s advisable to actually like some of the songs, especially the more difficult ones. I was led through the nightime fog of songs that I didn’t know or didn’t like, so that I could reach the goal of playing some of my favorites. When I first started playing the game on my boyfriend’s profile, I was booed off the stage within the first twenty notes of Slayer’s “Raining Blood”, but after unlocking the song on my own I managed to pull it off. Boy, does that feel good!
The game also does wonders for the forearms, because they’re often neglected when people work out. I used to play volleyball, and I remember the countless forearm stretches that we had to do to make up for this.
More importantly, the game has inspired me to pick up my old and dusty Fender acoustic. While Guitar Hero isn’t a substitute for a real guitar, it made me realize how much I missed playing the instrument. In a way, it was like the game is a warm acquaintance of an old friend whose purpose is to reunite us. Now, if only I could play my Fender the way I play the game!