During a recent PBS interview with Tavis Smiley, purple-clad rock and roll enigma Prince said he turned down the opportunity to have his music appear in Guitar Hero. Say it ain't so, Prince. When asked about the game, Prince said:
"Well, I ain't mad at them. I hear it made, like, $2 billion and they came to us and offered us a very small portion of that. But I just think it's more important that kids learn how to actually play the guitar. It's a tough instrument -- it's not easy. It took me a long time, and it was frustrating at first. And you just have to stick with it, and it's cool for people who don't have time to learn the chords or ain't interested in it, but to play music is one of the greatest things. To create something from nothing is one of the greatest feelings, and I would -- I don't know, I wish it upon everybody. It's heaven."
Jeez, Prince, why can't kids do both? I don't think many people really equate playing games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero with actual guitar. Playing real guitar is, literally, hundreds of times more difficult than playing any video game. It's also a hundred times more rewarding. But playing a video game is a hundred times more fun than practicing scales, as long as you don't delude yourself into thinking what you're doing is actually playing music. It's like being mad at Monopoly because you aren't actually making real estate deals!
Playing guitar (or any creative endeavor) is the opposite of playing Guitar Hero, really. The "goal" of playing music is to express yourself. The goal of playing Guitar Hero is to follow along a pre-destined path with as little deviation as possible. Other than the sense of rhythm it builds in a person, actual musicianship ship doesn't even help you play guitar games. I'll bet I could beat Prince on expert. In fact, I hereby challenge him to a game! Anytime you want, Mr. Purple Rain, we'll do it. As long as we then don't have a contest for soloing on real guitars, I should be okay.