Musings Of A Mad Hatter: Rhythm Games Changed My Life
I’m going to be talking to you lovely, vivacious people on a more personal level this week. You see, back in the “olden days”, which are admittedly just a few years ago, I discovered something that would change the course of my entire adolescence dramatically and probably my entire life. That thing was Guitar Hero. I know some of you are donning some confused facial expressions so I will explain myself accordingly. It was mid 2008 when I was still a clean, innocent and, for the most part, idiotic 14 year-old. I downloaded a demo off Xbox LIVE of something I had a little interest in. That was the Guitar Hero 3 demo. I played the three songs that came with the demo numerous times on my controller.
I was so in love with it that I saved up some money, went to a local gaming shop and bought myself Guitar Hero 3 with the Les Paul guitar controller. I was all bright-eyed and happy when I returned to my humble cesspit of a room where I as quick as a flash connected the controller and started rocking out. Like most people, I sucked big hairy genitalia when I first started playing even on Easy, but I was confident that I could do better. And I did. After a few months of playing my fingers to early onset arthritis, I finally managed to bump up the difficulty to Expert. After struggling again for months I finally became good. I was even able to five-star Raining Blood on Expert and as any Guitar Hero player would know, that is no small feat to pull off.
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That’s just how I got into rhythm games. The main reason why I said that it practically changed my entire existence is because of the music. Back in my 14-year old Idiot stage, all I listened to was rap and those stupid pop songs that they played on the radio. With Guitar Hero I was discovering all these mystical bands such as that small thrash band Metallica and those little upstarts with the name Rolling Stones. I was infatuated with the genre of rock and metal that it was all I could listen to. I couldn’t stand the atrocious music I was listening to previously and I was thankful for that.
In 2009 I went to the annual geek feeding grounds we now as rAge and was employed by a small gaming shop to exhibit their stand. Basically what I did for the entire three days was just standing there and rocking out. I still fondly remember it to be the best time of my life. Nothing is more awesome than jamming Master of Puppets in front of hundreds of people and having your fingers filmed because people were in awe of your mastery of fingering. That phrase didn’t come out as well as I planned. That one neither. The fact remains that I was paid to play amazing music in front of admiring audiences. The epicentre of epic as it were.
After that my life changed and for the better. Music became a passion of mine and if I wasn’t so into gaming I would have been in a band or be an amazing drummer. That’s another story. In Christmas 2008 I also got the Guitar Hero World Tour set as a present from my parents. I already played the guitar to death, but now there was something else that I could focus on. The drums. Of course I struggled again to get my rhythm on and after quite a while I mastered the craft. Quite a while is a bit of an understatement. It took me years to really get good. I think the moment I realised that I was doing quite well was when I finished Through The Fire And The Flames on Expert+. For the non-Guitar Hero playing people out there Expert+ is where you have to also play the double bass notes of a drum track. Trust me when I say this: they can be insane.
It even encouraged me to buy a real drumset. The drumset itself was horrible and I couldn’t really do anything substantial with it, but it helped. Since then I pretty much destroyed it and it is now just ornament pieces. The bass drum as a coffee table does look pretty epic though. I couldn’t buy another drumset because of the insane amounts of money I already spend on games and that makes me sad. As any good hobby drummer will tell you, drumming is insanely expensive. Cymbals, bass pedals, regular replacing, stick breakage and all sort of expensive things. If I wasn’t gaming as much as I do I would have invested all I’ve earned into drumming, but sadly that is just an improbable dream.
The main point I’m trying to make is that a game changed my entire lifestyle. I was wearing metal t-shirts, wore jewellery that expressed my love for metal and was obsessed with the history of music. For crying out loud I know more than my dad that was born into the great times of thrash and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. I foresee that this love for music will transcend into my adulthood and I will always be a devout metal head. All this because I decided it would be fun to play on a plastic guitar in my room.
That’s the majesty of gaming. It can literally change your life in more ways than one and I will always be thankful for that. In closing I would just like to say that I really wish the rhythm genre would pick up speed again because I miss it with a bleeding heart.