I grew up playing Super Mario Bros., and not once did anyone suggest that I go through town busting bricks searching for magic mushrooms, mercilessly stomping any turtles which may get in my path.
I grew up playing Pac-Man, and not once did anyone suggest that I wander through a dark room, popping pills, attempting to eat ghosts and fruits. (Well, it was suggested that I eat more fruit…)
I grew up playing The Legend of Zelda, and not once did anyone suggest that I seek out treasure by burning away bushes, digging up yards, or bombing through labyrinthine caves.
I grew up playing Super Mario Kart, and not once did anyone suggest that I get a Go Kart or race them at Wally World (no, not Wal-Mart).
I grew up playing GoldenEye 007, and not once did anyone suggest that I purchase a silenced pistol and venture forth to Russia as a spy.
I grew up playing Duke Nukem, Doom, Turok, and Quake, and not once did anyone suggest that I seek out bigger and better weaponry for relentless alien, demon, and dinosaur slaughtering.
I grew up playing Populous, and not once did anyone suggest that I wage war on my neighbors for the sake of expanding my own property.
I grew up playing SimCity, and not once did anyone suggest that I unleash natural disasters (or, in Super Nintendo terms, a giant King Bowser) upon my own property.
I grew up playing a great many things, and never did anyone suggest that I should instead do the real life variant. (Okay, due to my LEGO addiction, I was told on more than one occasion I should be an architect or designer, but we’re talking video games here…)
So why-oh-why is it that now that I am grown up, if I play Guitar Hero, people do suggest that instead I play a real guitar? What is it about that particular game that people seem to have such a problem with?
I’ve even seen numerous Web comics which point out how much cooler you are if you can play a real guitar as opposed to Guitar Hero. Great, but so? I wonder if it has ever occurred to such people that maybe Guitar Hero is just a fun game which can be enjoyed without the hours of practice, commitment, and finger-callousing which goes along with a real guitar? That alone makes it significantly more accessible to a much greater portion of the populace, and of course the more people who can play it, the funner it becomes. (And the more who enjoy it, the better the games get… Guitar Hero 4 looks like it is going to be incredible based upon what I’ve read about it.)
I realize that Guitar Hero may only be a suped-up version of air guitar, but listening to music while air-jamming along is a very effective stress-reliever (I can only wish that someday Guitar Hero has Metallica’s “Whiskey in the Jar” for that very reason). It’s escapist. It’s fun. It isn’t real guitar, but it isn’t meant to be. Get over it.
(Pictures in this post are linked to their source; none of them are of me.)