Back in the day, there were a few things we became by playing video games: lazy; fat; broke, and hopelessly addicted to escapism. Yes, those were the good old days. Now there is a trend loosely referred to as "games with benefits." I knew this would happen. Pinball would never turn on me like this; no matter how good a pinball player you are, it will never teach you how to fly a helicopter.
Video games have the power to empower. It's possible to learn something, or at least gain some extra benefits to go along with your entertainment value. Dancing games will help keep you fit and trim. Sims will help you land a plane, allow you to play professional league poker, or develop and manage a business. And when alien zombies overrun the Earth, we know we can count on you, Sparky. But there's a valuable lesson to be learned here. The lesson of learning things the hard way.
Let's discuss music games, such as Rocksmith. Since I'm a professional musician, as well as a professional video game reviewer, I feel my opinion holds some merit. Furthermore, as a professional comedian and general pain in the ass, I feel the need to assert opinions that will anger, delight, and confuse readers.
Guitar Hero had its day. It was fun, but it leaned toward cute. Yes, I said it. "Cute." C'mon, all you were doing was pushing buttons on a plastic toy. You weren't any more of a guitarist than I am a murderer for wanting to kill you for thinking you were an actual guitarist.
So here comes Rocksmith, a game that uses a real guitar, along with a series of techniques that may actually turn you into an actual guitar player. This may be great for you, but not for me.
I am friggin' jealous. I had to take lessons with nuns that hit you across the knuckles with a wooden ruler for making a mistake. That's incentive to get your lessons right. I had to walk to my lessons in thirty-below weather. I had to sit in a cramped room that reeked of mothballs and vinegar. And I had to learn songs such as "Etude in G" and "Camptown Friggin' Races." Damn you, Rocksmith! Where were you when I needed you?
You don't know how good you've got it. The ability to learn through osmosis while being entertained is a technological wonder. But what if some gamer kid is able to take to the stage in a few years and blow me away? Where is the justice in that? I went through the school of hard knocks, and you are in the School of Rock.
I guess I can take comfort in the knowledge that the Guitar Hero fanatics will finally realize how complex mastering a musical instrument is, compared to pounding on a plastic toy.
My only hope is that you and your "entitled" generation won't take Rocksmith seriously. It will come too easy, and anything that comes too easy is too easily taken for granted. If you learn a lesson the hard way, you never, ever forget it. You also appreciate your accomplishments more deeply. And even though they may be minor, no one can take away that good feeling; the satisfaction lasts long after Game Over.
By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*