The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

My Name is Ava. What is a Plastic Guitar?

November 21, 2007

Maybe it was that I had absolutely no musical ability. Maybe it was that my real guitar was sitting at the bottom of my closet gathering dust. But when I threw the strap of the small electronic guitar of Guitar Hero III around my neck for the first time, I felt extremely awkward.

I couldn’t resist but to try a few air-guitar moves while the game was loading, which did not work out so well. I began scrolling through a few easy songs. Unable to choose one, I closed my eyes and picked one at random. When I opened them again, my scantily clad bubblegum-pink-haired character was in front of a large audience, and a series of  multi-colored dots were flying down the screen.

A few seconds after staring at the screen blankly, I came to the realization that this was a less active, guitar-shaped DDR game. I began to push the colored buttons to match the notes on the screen.

After a while I noticed that instead of the sweet, sweet music of rock and roll, all I was hearing were out-of-tune guitar notes. Next thing I knew, I was virtually booed off the stage (a traumatic experience which no one should ever have to go through) and had no idea why.

Instead of dumping this guitar in the closet with the other one, I decided not to give up on the game completely and invited a couple of friends over to see if they could figure it out for me. As soon as they started playing I saw a little black “strum” bar on the guitar that simulates strumming the guitar (onscreen directions popped up that I had missed the last time); the bar had to be hit simultaneously with the colored buttons.

Soon enough, my friends, who also had never played Guitar Hero before, and I could complete a song and not fail. Playing songs with familiar tunes made it that much easier to find the rhythm and beat of and consequently the right “notes.”

Sadly, the game began to lose its entertainment value once we heard the same songs that everyone liked over and over again, so we started to experiment with different songs and different types of game play. That’s when we found the Battle Mode where two players could face off against one another while throwing attacks (such as broken strings) at the other player. From then on out, it was no longer friends playing a video game together. It was an all out war to see who literally rocked and who did not. Friendships were lost that day and enemies gained.

By the time everyone had left (some in tears), I had seen something that I hadn’t since my Pac-Man playing days. A simple, fun game that wasn’t only for those people that spend all day behind a controller, but also people who just wanted to have a little fun with a guitar (or picking up what is left of their musical dreams). Guitar Hero III is a game worth buying for a good time to have by themselves or with others.

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