Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Musicians Take on the Gamification of Music... or maybe it's the Musification of Games?

Guitar Hero, Rock Band... We've all played these games at some point, and we've all heard the, sometimes pretentious, arguments regarding their legitimacy. You might especially hear musicians talking about them, derisively:

"It's not like playing a REAL guitar!"
The complaints themselves are understandable. Sure, you got these teens and kids running around, thinking they're hot stuff, because they got 100% on a Buckethead piece. It's no small feat , sure, but it's not like playing a piece on a actual instrument. Playing a real guitar takes years of dedication! It's a craft, and it takes talent, and real musicianship! I mean, where do those gamers get off, huh?

Well... it's really not as bad as all that... I don't think. Actually, I think these games have helped music in a way. I know from personal experience that there are tons of kids who have been inspired to pick up an instrument after playing Guitar Hero. Non-musicians can also get a taste of what it's like to actually pick up a guitar, and have to get all of the notes right(in an artificial environment, of course). It's still not the same as a real guitar, but it's conducive to an understanding of it. Picking up that controller, and sucking it up on your first couple of songs is, in a way, synonymous with picking up your first guitar, and realizing that you won't be able to play your favorite songs right off of the bat. It can be a frustrating experience, on both ends.

I can only urge everyone to look at the issue differently. Yes, it's not like playing a real guitar, but it's not suppose to be. Just like a racing game is not suppose be like actual racing.

To those interested in this issue, I'll be making a more personalized(I.E. a blog with more rambling, and run on sentences) and analytical blog post about this at a later date. This one's just to get my blog-legs stretched!


  1. I remember making this same argument back in high school, both with musicians, and with a neighbor, a Vietnam vet who complained about the Call of Duty games. Although, I definitely didn't make the case for similarity in the latter argument, just the point on how it's not *supposed* to be the same, and that those who confuse the two experiences are the problem, not the games themselves.

  2. Nice rant, I guess so. THese games are made for fun for people who desn't really have much passion for music but want to get the feel.

  3. In my opinion, these kinds of games are just another unneeded ego booster. With parents telling their kids their shit doesn't stink from birth, the last thing we need is this, a screen and a controller that looks like a beautiful instrument that makes them feel like a god.
    I play professional electric and acoustic guitar, and this bugs me greatly.
    Instead of playing this shit, they should get off their lazy asses, go to guitar center, and mess around with some god damn strings.

    Yayrantover :D