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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Faux You

If you believe the hype, you now have the ability to rock the world from your living room at any time of the day or night, even if you can't figure out how to properly hold a real guitar or strum something as basic as an E chord. Or simpler still, an E minor chord.

This Christmas two video games are locked in a battle of the fake bands. Harmonix Music System's "Rock Band 2" and Activision's "Guitar Hero World Tour" are deluding tens of thousands of losers into believing they can be rock stars with absolutely no talent.

Even the Sex Pistols at least gave a half-hearted, quarter-sober effort.

Not to be outdone, Nintendo's "Wii Music" game allows its users to "play" 66 different instruments without ever touching a real string, piece of wood, or section of turned brass piping.

Normally I don't have a problem with video games. Hell, I own an Xbox 360 and still have my PlayStation2 and can easily burn hours in front of the television wasting time as good as any 13 year old in America. I even have three "Guitar Hero" games myself and think nothing of blowing through a case of beer to the point I can't complete "Slow Ride" on the easy setting.

But I'm 33. I'm operating under no false pretenses that what I'm doing equates to real accomplishment. Other than breaking my couch in one hockey game at a time and perfecting my ability to hit a series of buttons in the proper sequence, I might as well be staring at the wall.

What's disconcerting is the idea many kids must be developing that playing "Rock Band 2" or "playing" the trumpet on "Wii Music" gives them any sort of legitimate abilities. These kids aren't playing instruments no matter what they want to believe.

Certain video games let the user simulate something they could never experience. I'm never going to take the field in an NFL game, or fight the Nazis through a power plant, or kill mutant aliens in a spaceship. Games that simulate these activities are one thing.

But any kid with an interest can pick up a guitar, a real one. Any kid with half of a fleeting desire can bum a trombone from the school district and actually learn to play it. It's not these video games themselves I have a problem with, it's the idea being pushed that playing these games gives you musical abilities.

You're not rocking anything with "Rock Band 2" or "Guitar Hero World Tour." You're killing time in somebody's living room or bedroom. As long as you recognize these games for what they are, not for what they pretend to be, you'll be alright.

But if you start thinking anyone cares you can get through "Peace Sells" without missing a note, you might want to consider expanding your social circle outside of the comic book store.

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