Thursday, 4 December 2008


It's four hours in, and you've done all this before. Years spent clacking your way through the colour patterns of GH1, days spent screaming as your fingers seem to pass through each other on Fall Of Troy's F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X, weeks with your head in your hands wondering why you can't get the hang of upward strumming.

By the time the Rock Band versus Guitar Hero slugfest has begun, you've become jaded. You don't sit there trying to best a new song any more, because it's not fun to fail. Why practice Knights of Cydonia when I can clack my way through Gallows genuinely getting amped up?

So you've booted up the latest GH as a last throw of the dice. The new guitar glistens in your hand, promising much with its plasticy curves. You crack open a bottle of beer, and hope you can blame it for what is essentially an expensive game of Simon says.

And then it happens. Inch by inch, it starts to take you over. The new set structure kicks RB's into next week. Each gig actually feels like a set performance, full of rushing highs and crashing lows. The movement on the stage as your eye darts around on the quiet bit actually feels like your favourite concert.

And the perfect set comes along. It kicks off with a favourite, something you couldn't wait to play the moment you opened that box. The grin on your face hides the easy bits, and pushes you through the hard. Then the metal kicks in for song two, and your adrenaline spikes as you crash your way through it. Solos punish and mock you, and the slow dribble of that needle into the red sets your teeth on edge, licking up any bit of star power like honey.
Then the slow classic begins. Something from the 70's swirls its way through the speaker, and you realise why your parents were blessed. That moment where GH actually shows you why a song was great, rather than reduce it to its clacky beat parts. Your fingers ache as they rest, then seize as the secret complexities of simple favourites rears its head.
Then the celebrity appears, and you flip out. You're in the moment now, and it's like they've pushed through the crowd just to see if you can hang with them. Their song is an epic, and you want to show what you can do. The difficulty is gone as you ride the perfect score, and there's nothing stopping you.

And then the encore. This is the killer moment. If it's a dud (and it rarely is) the moment is gone. You click through it, waiting to see if you can unlock the Tool set yet. But if it's almost go "YEAAAAH!". Seriously, with no irony.

Admittedly this was slightly less eloquent than I would like it to be, but I can't describe how it happened. It just did.


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