Jan 1, 2009

A sign of the End Times?

Happy New Year everyone. I won't be doing much of a year-end wrap up this week because NEXT week marks the one-year anniversary of ASK A PUNK... so I'm planning to do some wrapping-up (wrap-upping?) then... Meanwhile a reader asks a post-Christmas question that has been on the minds of many folks lately...

Dear Ask A Punk
Are games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band going to kill rock and/or roll ? - Concerned Punk Rock Mom

Dear Concerned Punk Rock Mom,
I don’t think so. There will always be some percentage of kids who just want a damn guitar and nothing else will do. For older gamers who never learned to play a guitar etc, it’ll be, like all video games, a nice retreat into fantasy land, and I think (or at least hope) that younger gamers will at some point want to graduate to playing the real thing once they’ve gone as far as they can with a plastic guitar-shaped controller.

In fact I think these games might eventually increase the number of beginner musicians. One thing about video games is that they can tend to increase peoples’ confidence levels in certain tasks. I know golfers who have told me their REAL golf game has improved since they started playing Tiger Woods Golf, so I have to imagine that a kid who learns to keep a beat on the drums in ‘Rock Band’ will be just that much further along, confidence-wise, the first time he/she sits down behind a real drum kit… and god knows, the world needs more drummers.

For me personally? I’ll admit I AM a bit of a gamer, but after playing guitar for so long, playing pretend guitar is incredibly counter-intuitive. I like video games that let me do things I CAN’T do in the real world… like fly ‘Banshees,’ shoot par or point shoulder-mounted rocket launchers at people’s heads... although that last skill might come in handy if/when society completely breaks down.