What Can We Learn From Guitar Hero 3?

   Recently, like the masses of North America, I’ve been caught up… mesmerized by the game Guitar Hero 3 (as it were).  I’ve never been a big “gamer”… and many of my friends would call me just the opposite.  Usually I only fancy the simulation-type games (i.e. SimCity and Flight Sim, etc.).  But having no real talent instrument-wise, I decided to give it go over at my friend Chad’s house.  I instantly became hooked and inwardly vowed that once I got my new computer, it would be the first thing that I loaded.  

For those that aren’t prevy to the game, the guitar is your controller.  You have FIVE colored buttons (for our left hand. Green. Red. Yellow. Blue. Orange.) and an up/down flapping button (for your right, where you’d be strumming a normal guitar).  After you start up the game, name your band ( I named mine Bohdisattva… isn’t that a cool name for a band?), and set the difficulty level… you are off to the races.  You begin by playing your first gig, choosing from four of the simpler rock ballads and once it starts you begin to get the feeling as if you were truly performing.  More than half the screen is composed of a guitar neck where color-coded buttons run down the screen and must be met (at a certain time) with the corresponding color (or colors) as they travel to the base of the tele/computer screen.  If you hit a color and or strum the guitar with the wrong button, an off-beat blurp occurs and therefore, makes the music less enjoyable.  The trick is to develop some serious eye-finger reflexes while at the same time… enjoying some popular rock songs (my favorite might well be, Cherub Rock. Jennys is Cliffs of Dover).  

I just recently beat the game on medium and I’ve tried desperately to finish a song on hard… but to no avail.  But if I recollect to my days at medium… I remember (since it was only last week) that occasionally a series of difficult note combinations would run down the strings and I would… somehow… manage to strike all 5 or 6 notes in one fluid motion.  Directly after experiencing what seemed like “magic,” I focus on the next note intensely and I’d (without fail) miss the note.  It seemed that… in order to achieve a quality performance you would have to incorporate a bit of wu-wei (no mindedness).  This just fascinated me because this is one of the hardest principles to instill in any beginning martial artist.

My taiji classes, for example… So many of them watch me perform the movements of the form.  They make sure they take note of where I step, how I step, the small wave that my left hand draws, and also try to shadow the pace at which I perform the postures.   Their mind is completely full, scattered-like and in a desire to copy all the moves… and copying none.  Through repetition, they eventually get the footwork, then the choreography of the hands, but then comes the rhythm and breathing.  This always leaves the beginning student, somewhat frustrated.  There seems to be a myth out there that since taiji is supposed to soft, slow and flowing that it is all supposed to be easy.  Well….  I believe that if we took at good look at my example of learning Guitar Hero 3, we might be able to see that if we try to find the chord… the note… the beat of the movement and concentrate on moving/dancing along those similar lines… we will be performing it the it should be performed, with great heart and spirit.


~ by chencenter on May 16, 2008.

8 Responses to “What Can We Learn From Guitar Hero 3?”

  1. I hate guitar hero.

  2. Guitar hero is pretty cool. Its a fun game to test your relfex skills…especially when you get to hard or expert. It takes a tremendous amount of work to be able to master guitar hero in perfection which im sure applies to tai chi as well. Takes a lot of work to master the moves to a perfect point. In turn you will inherit disapline and perhaps much more…plus you can pat yourself on the back when you beat the game 🙂

  3. As a profesional guitarist, my question is: if you are going to put so much time in learning to play a game about playing the guitar, why not go for the real thing? The study of the guitar “played well” is one of the most rewarding tasks you will ever do. It is mastering the art or “controlled abandonment”. It will teach you how to master your body for the high purpose of music making.
    A good analogy is, doing Tai Chi or Yoga for the excercise disregarding the spiritual teachings behind it.
    The guitar is a complex instrument and its sound reaches the soul deeply. The father of the classical guitar, Maestro Andres Segovia’s famous quote captures it all: “The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice”.
    How would you like to have that at your disposal?

  4. Why is it that guitarists make the claim of “why don’t you just play a real guitar”?

    Is it some form of inferiority complex that is naturally ingrained into users of an instrument that has them stroking their hands up and down some phallic-like object? 😛

    But really, I have yet to see a race car driver claim that video gamers should be out racing instead of playing racing games.

    Nor have I heard a soldier complain that kids should be out fighting real wars instead of playing against their friends online.

    It’s a video game that just about anyone can get into and it’s fun regardless of a user’s skill level.

  5. wow, you wouldnt think this would be a controversial topic, but lo and behold, it is. hehehe

    i agree, a game such as this can improve reflexes and concentration and learning to have “no-mindedness” (which is especially helpful to one who is prone overanalyzing or second guessing)

    there are also setbacks to videogames (generally speaking) but this particular game is about shooting people up or anything…lol

    so play on! haha 🙂
    (me and my friend play rockband so i know what ya mean)

  6. @ ADAM: What?

    @ PAT: Well, it’s really not a lot of time. It takes years and oodles of practice time to become a “rock star.” With Guitar Hero, you can simulate a concert without any previous musical experience. I like the instant ability to “rock out” since before, I hadn’t been able to (except for my infamous “air guitar”). It’s less embarrassing.

    @ TYLER: I can’t speak for Pat, but it is my guess that since the guitar is her profession, her love, her hobby,…she is just wishing to pass on the encouragement to pursue the arts…(and not the video game). For those with the inclination to play music and for the love of music, it benefits others to have you out playing and sharing the real thing (compared to you playing for your friends indoors on your couch). I DO see your point though.

    @ CAITLIN: Hehe. Gotta love it. You do a lot of second guessing? I’ll be moving on to rockband at some point. Rock on yoself! wooohoooo!

  7. second guessing is what i do best 🙂

  8. Interesting thread…mmm…as a guitar player I don’t see any problem with the game, if you want to get good at a game, play a game, if you want to get good at guitar play guitar. Perhaps you may learn some timing skills that will cross over…Cheers

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