Okay, I understand that Guitar Hero/Rock Band are “good” games, in that they are fun for a lot of people and are well-constructed to deliver an intended experience. It’s just that I find them horribly boring, full of terrible music and misleading, giving people the false impression that they’re doing anything remotely musical.
First, let’s take a look at a basic chord on a real guitar:
Note the number of strings (6), and the placement of my fingers. Does this resemble anything done on a plastic controller? (Holding two buttons doesn’t count.) No, and yet it’s part of the basic grammar of guitar playing. Guitar Hero would have you believe that playing a guitar amounts to plucking one string while pressing your fingers on areas vertically aligned on the neck (those colored buttons). Yes, I know it had to be simplified to be accessible, but as someone who’s played the real thing, it annoys the hell out of me that these games claim to be about the love of music when they get the basics so wrong.
As for the gameplay itself... again, the spirit of music (expression, creativity, SOUND) is all pushed to the outer regions. Instead, it has you playing Simon Sez by watching moving colors and mechanically pressing required buttons. Yes, yes the newer iterations let you “create” music, but without actual CHORDS (see above picture) you’re not making anything like real music.
Above: Yes, truly HEROIC and ROCKING
Ugh, and don’t get me started on the songs. Glam Rock should’ve died a painful death in the 80’s and been swept under history’s rug. The Star Power tilt says it all: a dated, pathetic “look at my surrogate penis." Yes, let’s glorify a douchebag maneuver.
There are a few songs I can tolerate, but trying to play with my friends forces me to slog through cheesy phallus/butt rock because playing the same three good songs gets old fast.
For the love of the Rock Gods, if you find these games fun, please try playing a real instrument. It will be vastly more rewarding.
If you manage to find a group of like-minded friends and form a guild, you can look forward to tiring marathons and repeated deaths as you attempt to conquer the game's hardest dungeons in raid parties. Frustration from failures in these epic trips will eventually turn you and your friends against each other before your guild dissolves and joins the ranks of other burnt out crusaders.
But for me, World of Warcraft’s biggest crime is that it perverts the simple joys of questing, leveling-up, and exploring into an obsession. Before long, it becomes less of a game and more like a never-ending checklist of chores that grows each day. Eventually, you’ll skip past quest descriptors just so you can get your reward a few seconds earlier. You’ll find yourself grinding in fields of monsters long after you’ve reached the level cap just for the chance that you’ll find a rare material.
In the end, you’re no longer enjoying the moment. Instead, you’re forever chasing an ephemeral carrot-on-a-stick. You want that new piece of loot. But as soon as you get it, it’s no longer good enough and you’ll be obsessed with finding something even better.
Sergeant Paul Jackson’s death had as much emotional impact as a Tom & Jerry episode. He’s a voiceless, personality vacuum with no discernable personal motivation. So he carks it in a moment of existential brilliance that leaves the player feeling utterly helpless, mimicking the futility of war. Blah, blah, blah. If that scene really had you blubbing, tear up your man card right now.
Above: No more man card for you, Dawson
Want to see a scene that really sums up the disquieting power of war? Pick up a copy of the original Call of Duty. The Russian charge on Red Square easily trumps anything done in Modern Warfare.
And screw Price. An iteration of him has been in every Call of Duty game Infinity Ward have ever made. Why would I cry when he bites it when I know the next Cap’n clone is just around the corner?
Technically, the game’s also infuriating. How the hell can you fight 100 guys spawning from an unseen location, kill them and then be left with four corpses when the dust has settled? "Gaylo" might have its faults, but at least everything makes logistical sense in the Chief’s game. Every single alien you murder stays on the battlefield. I. F***ng. Hate. Disappearing. Bodies.
Above: 100 dead men equal four dead bodies, apparently
And the multi-layered, ever evolving multiplayer, with its peerless sense of reward and ingenious perk system, can take a running jump. If the core game can’t grip me, why the hell would getting shot by shouty 15 year olds - calling me "teh Suxorz!" - change my mind?
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