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An Unusual Thank You to Video Game Designers

June 14, 2012

written by: Allister Bradley

Let’s start by getting this point clear – I am NOT a gamer.  Video gaming never much caught on with me.  Sure, I’ve wasted hours over the years on Angry Birds, Tetris, and various puzzle games, but I’m the last guy you’ll ever see playing Halo or Worlds of Warcraft…

Let’s face it, however, I do have kids, and kids love video games – especially young boys. We’ve more or less kept up with game systems, and currently have a PS2, PS3 and Wii all connected to the home theater.  They used to see a lot more action, but now they’re gathering a bit of dust.

When the kids were younger, they’d usually have a video game or two on their wishlist at any given moment.  These ranged from sports games to shoot-em-up games, or games based on movie themes.  My son usually wanted battle games, and my daughter usually wanted sports games.  I’m okay with sports games, but we always explained to our young son that we didn’t want him playing games that glorified violence (despite most of them shamefully veiling the violence in a Disney-esque ‘defend the good guys’ paradigm).

Along came music-based games.  First, the karaoke and dance-along games.  We bought ‘em, and were grateful that our kids were getting exercise and enjoying music.  Then the real revolution came, with Guitar Hero, and ultimately, Rock Band.  We bought ‘em, and even ended up with instrument controllers for two competing game systems (imagine the clutter). But we gladly did, because we love music, and considered this a worthwhile investment of our kids’ time and energy.  It even offered a great pastime for family parties!

Meanwhile, both kids were enrolled in piano lessons, and proved very talented.  We actually had arguments over whose turn it was to play the piano (wow, my problems could have been SO much worse).  But my son really wanted to play guitar.  So, after he finished his fourth year of piano lessons, we agreed to switch him to guitar lessons.  I expected the worst – after playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band on a plastic guitar with five buttons and one ‘string’ to pluck, I figured a real guitar would be too difficult and frustrating, and expected my son’s musical education to come to an screeching halt.  Could I have been more wrong? Instead, he took to the instrument like a fish to water, and looked forward to every lesson.

Fast-forward four years, and he’s playing gigs and writing songs.  But can you imagine the artists this 14-year-old boy is studying?  Kansas, Rush, Chicago, The Beatles, Ben E. King, Bill Withers, Steve Miller, John Mayer, Coheed and Cambria, Dream Theatre, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, and the list goes on and on.  He has an unending musical appetite.  Where did he pick up such a diverse musical appreciation?  That’s right…  Playing video games…

So, I have to offer my humble thanks to whoever it was that came up with the idea for a video game which would let my children play as if they were in a rock band.  Hands down, that beats spending hours shooting bad guys.  My kids are doing even better: as Jack Black would say – we’re saving the universe with face-melting rock and roll…

Click Here to visit Allister’s Songwriters Profile.

Click Here to see original posting of this blog.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 18, 2012 11:17 am

    Awesome post! My brothers spend insane amounts of time in the basement with their consoles, and it was great to see them get into rockband and be introduced to the music catalogue on there. One of them is a real-life drummer now! I’m trying to get him to play in my band :P

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