It’s 4 a.m., and somewhere, someone is rocking out to Metallica, Blink 182 or Queen. Unless you’ve been living under a pile of typewriters and floppy discs for the past few years, you’ve at least heard about Guitar Hero by now. But how many of us have stopped to think how it’s changed the very fabric of our lives?
Au contraire, my friend.
Guitar Hero is arguably the greatest thing to happen to music since the Internet. I’m not talking about teaching people to play guitar – which it doesn’t do. I’m talking about the playlists. Look back at the original Guitar Hero game. There was some serious variation: everything from Boston to Ozzie to Hendrix populated the queues of countless consoles. It was this “forced inclusion” that made the player respect the music for what it was – and introduced a lot of younger kids to old(er) music.
Since then, the franchise has grown to incredible proportions. Guitar Hero graces the shelves of millions of game collections around the U.S. This widespread popularity, combined with extensive and ever-growing playlists compiled from the plethora of music available on the Internet, has sparked a renewed interest in music across the decades. Ask an eighth grader who Journey or Santana is and chances are, they’ll know, because they’ve played their songs.
Guitar Hero is also helpful for people who jump on the musical bandwagon a bit late. Now, it is relatively easy to reference a fair number of bands that might have slipped under the radar while your dad was filling your head with all the music he grew up with and caused you to completely miss the ’90s and ’00s. This new method of exposure have shaped and will continue to shape the way we consume music, old and new.
If nothing else, Guitar Hero is a great way to spend an hour or eight with your friends rocking out to music none of you would normally listen to. So bring it on. I love rock ‘n’ roll.