Who Invited That Guy?

Generally speaking, I am an embarrassing person. Roughly every two minutes I make a fool out of myself in some manner. I embarrass not just myself, but also friends, family, my partner, co-workers, acquaintances and even my enemies. My evil twin is still not speaking to me after I accidentally decapitated one of his best henchmen with a mop.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band magnify this sort of behaviour. They serve as a large, thick window into my distressing world of clumsy oafishness. They render proceedings to nothing more than a grisly parade of off-key, off-beat finger-snapping humiliation.

I am truly abysmal with these plastic instruments. I’m abysmal with the real ones too, but I can at least paw ineffectually at the strings of a real guitar or smash my blunt, dull forehead against a real cymbal to make some sort of noise. This at least alerts others in the vicinity that there is someone of questionable rhythmic ability nearby, so that they may hold an impromptu X-Factor audition or something. With the plastic Rock Band and Guitar Hero instruments though, I am truly lost. The best I can manage is a confusing clacking cacophony, producing the aural effect of a terrified three-legged donkey heard at full gallop on a concrete road, being chased by a pack of carnivorous coconut shells jumped up on acid.

My gaming friends are much, much better than me at Guitar Hero and Rock Band. My friends that never play video games are much better than me at Guitar Hero and Rock Band. My parents are better than me at Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Even my girlfriend kicks my ass with extreme prejudice in these games. I once threw my plastic guitar at my cat in a fit of rage, and in the resulting scuffle he completed Through The Fire and Flames on Medium, which I once accidentally tried and it caused me to slip into a hallucinogenic coma. I know someone who has unlocked the achievement on The Beatles: Rock Band for hitting 100% of the drum notes on Helter Skelter on Expert, the concept of which I don’t think I even understand. The last time I tried the drums on anything higher than Beginner I punctured my own liver with one of the sticks and my blood smelled of wood for 6 months afterwards. Also, one time, Sloth from the Goonies turned up at my house and kept thrashing me in duels and clapping and jumping up and down until I gave him a Baby Ruth bar and he went away again, having already set new high scores on every song on every game.

Hey you guys! I owned Simon on Guitar Hero! And I'm better looking than him.

So when I’m at a gathering, and I end up holding one of these plastic guitars, or I’m sat behind the drum kit (no one ever gives me the microphone), a feeling of dread fills me. For there are several different ways in which I can ruin things for everyone else.

In mild circumstances, I end up making them look uncool by proxy. Part of the appeal of these games is that they can immerse the player and, for a few minutes, make you feel like you’re in a rock band. This sense can be destroyed by the likes of me, wailing “What do the pink lines mean? What do I do? Do I have to shake the guitar? Do I take this bit off? Is it on?”. I’m pretty sure Mick Jagger has never had to show Keith Richards where to put his fingers on the neck of the guitar, or that Kurt Cobain ever had to show Dave Grohl where the pedal was on the drum kit. People who have played Guitar Hero or Rock Band with me have had to do these things.

I don't think it's synced up properly Mick. Can we start again? I need to change the difficulty.

Other times my crummy performance can hamper the performance of my band mates. If System of a Down are on the set list, and I’m on guitar, on any difficulty, by the time I’ve fumbled through the intro the virtual crowd will not only be booing; some of them will be in tears. Another common scenario is when I get distracted at the wrong moment and forget which corridor of notes scrolling down the screen belongs to me. I’ll stop, point at the screen and ask the nearest band mate which one I am. This will put them off their stroke and cause them to question what once seemed (and is) so simple. This spreads through the band, and before long the singer is trying to vocalise the drum notes – “Yellow, Pink line, Greeeeeen, ooooh-Pink line, Green”.

I'm the green gauge thing in the top left then? How do I check my inventory?

Also, sometimes, usually when I have to go from Blue to Red on guitar, my fingers can fly off and get stuck in people’s eyes.

The absolute worst though, is the humiliation that cuts the deepest wound, and befalls me most regularly. At best, onlookers will merely tut loudly, ask who invited me and remark under their breath that I truly am useless. A few times it has caused people to just turn off the console and cancel the party mid-song, kicking everyone out. It has probably happened to other people, but they are more likely to learn from their damn mistakes than me.

When I put a few notes together, and I start to believe that I am not going to make a fool of myself this time, a thought instantly enters my head. It is instinctive and guttural and I cannot control it. My brain tells my body to lean back, and raise the guitar upwards.

I try to engage Star Power. When I have not earned the right to engage it. So everyone watching sees me trying to engage it, but nothing happens. There is no time in life when you will look more purely like a tool as when you try to engage Star Power at the wrong time. I do it three or four times a song.







8 responses to “Who Invited That Guy?”

  1. Mark P avatar

    I to was wildly amused and let out an extended “ROFL”. Epic blog!

  2. Ninja avatar

    What they said.

    I also think “I once threw my plastic guitar at my cat in a fit of rage, and in the resulting scuffle he completed Through The Fire and Flames on Medium, which I once accidentally tried and it caused me to slip into a hallucinogenic coma.” is the greatest sentence I’ve ever seen. 😀

  3. SteMacD avatar

    Why you used a picture of Dirk Kuyt I will never know. Good stuff though!

  4. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Funny as always. I can play guitar on medium but put me on a higher difficulty or sit me at the drums and I have less co-ordination than a drunk trying to negotiate a straight line while riding a unicycle across a trampoline. Although that would probably be more amusing.

  5. James avatar

    Jokes Power engaged.

  6. Rose avatar

    bringing somebody who thinks they are cool for playing rock band or guitar hero back to reality is a noble cause indeed. i commend you on each and every one of your failed attempts to engage star power. it’s the power of cold, hard truth that you employ whenever you hold that piece of plastic aloft.

    i’m not sorry.

  7. MarkuzR avatar

    Really funny Si, nice one 🙂

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