Look, I see the point that Rock Band and Guitar Hero are just cop-outs for lazy drunk people who would start a band and be famous, if it were that easy. But hey, lazy, sometimes drunk person right here! And really, who wouldn’t start a band – and be pretty freakin’ awesome at it — if they had the time? Why should I have to go through the sweat and tears, the breakups, the poverty, the rehearsals, the fear that you’ll never be famous, the becoming famous, only to lose said fame and become a has-been, and, finally, undergo the embarrassment of showing up on VH1’s Where are They Now? for my music, when I can just as easily pretend to do that on a plastic controller?
After all, one could make the same argument for Nintendo Wii: Why not just be Tiger Woods? Why pretend to play tennis indoors, on a video game, instead of going outside to play? Well, it’s usually pretty cold, for one. Or it’s hot, and you get sweaty. And it’s expensive to buy a tennis racket. And then you have to get lessons. And wear all white, which, unless you’re in Wimbledon, is kinda weird. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are for us untalented, Mick Jagger (or at least Jack Black) wanna-bes, in the same way that NBA Jam is for those who wanna be like Mike.
That said, I’m generally too lazy and uncoordinated for video games. I never really played them as a kid (except for MarioKart), and I get easily discouraged when the buttons I press don’t make the screen do what I want. So, given that I’m already in a pretty non-committal state of mind when I get around to playing Guitar Hero, you can guess that after a few rounds of missing the green button or the cool flame thing that happens when you get to the riff, I get bored and sit down. But then I watch the awesomeness, which is the thing that rock shows and Guitar Hero / Rock Band have in common. If you have ever taken the time to sit and watch someone play Guitar Hero (and/or are as easily entertained by flashing colors and buttons as I am), you know how Freakin’ Awesome it is. And I bet that sitting around, watching your friend and fellow band mate Keith Richards practice “Paint it, Black” a million times in a row is not nearly as entertaining as watching your roommate drunkenly indulge in Rock Band.