Guitar… Regular Guy?

January 11, 2009

With so many people bashing Guitar Hero and Rock Band for not actually teaching to play real instruments, it would be inevitable that developers would attempt at making a version using real instruments. Video: The Holy Grail of Music Gaming

There is also LittleBigStar, with the premise to “play games with music instruments / make music by gaming”.

And then there is the Tomy Air Guitar Pro, which I acquired in Japan. It deserves a post all of itself, but here is an interesting one nevertheless.

I myself have been playing Guitar Hero lately, and I must say that this game may be a good tool to introduce players to basic music skills and stir the taste for playing a musical instrument. Still, as put by Gonzalo Frasca during his lecture at Interface Culture, it’s mostly about performance: feeling like a rock star while actually acting silly 🙂

As with many aspects in Ubiquitous/Pervasive Gaming, when does this stop being a game and begins being a glorified learning software?

As an additional note, you can hear the news reporter saying at 00:18 seconds: “Finally, a guitar that you can plug into a computer and play a guitar-hero-like game without pressing silly plastic buttons”. Most of you will realize that the guitar is absolutely normal, although this guy still retains his focus on the physical interface. Interesting, no? Does this go on to show that the principle of Ubiquitous Computing is well applied here, since the user has come to somehow perceive an otherwise ordinary device as the source of computational magic itself? I’m pushing it here, I know…  

What it all reminds me, though, is that there could be a Pergame making use of (read: requiring the players to play tunes on) real instruments. Although kicked out of the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, there is a player class, not uncommon to fantasy RPGs called the Bard. Asides from being a jack-of-all-trades (master of none), the Bard is usually able to cast spells using his musical performative abilities. Why not have a real guitar hero, meaning someone who goes around vanquishing perils by playing a Guitar of The Heavens (or of the Hells, if you prefer)?

In what concerns videogames, I might have been beaten to the idea by Jack Black (and developer Double Fine).


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