Your Virtual Self

Some folks are really into that whole Second Life thing. Some folks have avatars that represent their idealized self. Some folks have video games that allow them play in a realm where they probably wouldn’t want to inhabit for realz – well, maybe they would.   I was reading Salon.com about how the game “Guitar Hero” has saved guitar music.  Um…the article’s title is misleading because while the game does spark an initial interest in real guitar playing, many kids give up on the real playing because it’s too difficult.  To stroke their deflated egos, they turn back to the game so they can feel better about their virtual playing.   

Playing a musical instrument is not easy, and while I don’t deny that it takes a special combination of eye-hand coordination to be an awesome video game player, I think when it comes to replicating the “real thing” like playing the guitar, Guitar Hero does what most video games do:  inflate one’s sense of self to the point where the virtual world is preferred to the real one.   Is this a bad thing?  I suppose it depends on what you want out of life.  If you want to be world-class guitar player (or even just a decent player), you’re not going to get there by wood shedding with Guitar Hero. I’ve been trying to play guitar for a quite a few months now and to say it’s a challenge is an understatement.  Maybe I’m just not that coordinated, but some chord changes are just bafflingly hard. I don’t know how some of these players do it. Really, I do know and it’s a little thing called practice + talent.    So, are there any added benefits to this game besides, you know, carpal tunnel syndrome?  Well, it seems there are two: 

  1. Playing the game can give potential real guitar players a better sense of rhythm.
  2. It increases downloads of classic rock songs featured in the game.

–PK

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