It's interesting to find out how rockers feel about music games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Yeah, they're just games, and we just have fun with them, but it must be surreal to have your art, job and craft appear in a video game. If you've poured your life-blood and passion into a musical composition, it must be really, really weird to have people not so much listen to your music as use it as a scoring system.
At recent Los Angeles press conference, White Stripes frontman Jack White and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page were asked about music games, and neither had a very favorable opinion.
"It's depressing to have a label come and tell you that ['Guitar Hero'] is how kids are learning about music and experiencing music," White said. "If you have to be in a video game to get in front of them, that's a little sad."
Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page doesn't feel music game players get anything out of the games musically. "You think of the drum part that John Bonham did on Led Zeppelin's first track on the first album, Good Times Bad Times," he said. "How many drummers in the world can play that part, let alone on Christmas morning?"
Representing the other side of the coin is G4's own resident rocker Frank Meyer. Here's his take on the positive side of Rock Band, Guitar Hero and the rest of the music game genre.
"I was genuinely scared that rock music was going to become like jazz, this obscure thing that was totally disconnected from the youth, and was the sort of music only your parents like. But I think Rock Band and Guitar Hero have almost single-handedly changed that and saved rock. Now you have all these little kids familiar with Blondie or RATT or Foghat and all this other rock from the ‘70s and ‘80s that they might have never heard. I do think being an actual guitar player hinders you from playing the video game well, so as a guitar player, I suuuuck at those games. But they are keeping the music alive, so WTF."
So, where do you fall on this continuum? Personally, I think Page is wrong. While whaling on Rock Band drums won't ever make you John Bonham, it can give you a rudimentary feel for how to play drums as well as improving your rythym... but as for fake guitar, it's truly nothing at all like a real guitar--those skills don't transfer at all.