Music Was My First Love

Believe it or not, I was in to other things before games came along and consumed my time and energies.  I used to like playing hide and seek or kiss, cuddle, torture, sometimes I would play football in the park with jumpers for goalposts, I would often go for bike rides with my friends.  During all this and even into current times there has been one consistent force in my life that has never let me down and acts as post-it notes in my head for things I’ve seen, said or done.  Of course, I’m sure you are all aware that this force in my life has been the wonderful medium of music.  I’ve never learned to read music or even play an instrument but I am an avid listener of any type of music, I’m not a snob when it comes to music and I’ll happily listen to anything once, so I’m sure you can imagine my delight when music started to be a part of games.

About a fifth of my CD collection.
About a fifth of my CD collection.

It’s safe to say that my music taste is genuinely eclectic so I could swing from listening to The Eagles then shove on some Metallica and then revert to a little classical along the way.  During my formative teenaged years I fell in love with Heavy Metal and started to listen to some really amazing stuff, bearing in mind this was the late 80s, I was listening to Guns ‘n’ Roses, Def Lepppard, Whitesnake, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Suicidal Tendencies and so on, the list could go on and on.  Flying into the 90s I listened to even more quality music: Lenny Kravitz, Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots, Offspring, AC/DC were some of my favourites and once again I could go on and on with great enthusiasm. At this point in time game music was still Midi produced blips and bleeps, some tunes were entirely memorable like the classic Sonic the Hedgehog while some were entirely forgettable like… um… that one I’ve forgotten.  I never anticipated that in the next decade or so music would become an integral part of my gaming.

One of the best collections of music ever!
One of the best collections of music ever!

As the time line passed in to the new millennium, games heavily relied on licensed soundtracks to further enhance the gaming experience.  My first big thrill from a licensed soundtrack was for Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding on the Playstation 1, from that game I got in to bands such as Goldfinger, The Vandals and The Suicide Machines I loved the music and got the band’s CDs from it and even saw a couple of them in concert, in the case of Goldfinger I saw them five times!  Fast forward to 2007 and I heard that a game I had been seeing stuff about was coming to the Xbox 360, I put aside money I had got for my birthday specifically to buy it, the first week in April 2007 was going to turn out to be an epiphany for me.  Guitar Hero II was about to change how I viewed music and games.

My bedroom wall of fame.
My bedroom wall of fame.

Luckily, when GH II was released I was off work on holiday, I rushed in to Glasgow with my money burning a hole in my pocket, straight to the games shop and in less than ten minutes I was on my way home with a big white box ready to blow my mind.  The house was empty when I got back, I drew the curtains, fired up the 360, attached my white plastic guitar and started to rock out!  I wasn’t instantly good at the game, more mediocre, it was difficult to get used to the new control method but within a while I had blasted through the entire set list on easy, the only downside was that when I looked away from the screen my whole world was moving like the highway on the screen where the notes came down.  I thought the game had broken my eyesight, thankfully it just needed to learn how to deal with it and that particular effect has never happened again.  I instantly fell in love with the game and became slightly addicted to it, I was amazed that obscure songs I had grown up with like “Mother”, by Danzig were there for me to play through.  I felt a greater understanding for the music playing the game, I noticed sequences and rhythms that I had never heard before, songs that I had been listening to for years took on a whole new meaning to me.  It was like re-discovering music all over again and I also felt like a guitar god too, all my musical dreams were coming true.

No, I don't have O.C.D.
No, I don't have O.C.D.

Since 2007, the music game phenomenon has taken off like wildfire, originally just filled by the Guitar Hero franchise it was soon given some competition in the form of the Rock band games, more recently too we also have the Lips games which do away with all the instruments for a microphone to concentrate on the singing of songs.  Of course there has also been the DJ Hero game where you could mix the tunes to a certain extent with the turntable peripheral, there have been other music games too but none have captured me in the spirit of the Hero/ Rock band games.  Currently on my games shelf in the music section I have nineteen different games encompassing Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Lips, yes it is a bit of overkill and the cash cow is geting milked to the max but i love them all with a passion.  Many of the artists I talked about earlier have had tracks in the games and I couldn’t be happier, well… I could, I’d love to have a Guitar Hero ELO or maybe even Rock Band Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds, how awesome would that be?  Just recently announced is the new Rock band game which is going to feature Guitars with real strings, the on screen commands are going to be more like reading real music, there will also be a keyboard controller and the drums are meant to be more like real drums.  Is this going to be the next evolution for the music game?  Am I finally going to be able to learn to play a real instrument through games?  I sincerely hope so, but in the meantime… LET’S  ROCK!


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4 responses to “Music Was My First Love”

  1. Markatansky avatar
    Markatansky

    Those new guitars seem pretty awesome! One of my biggest regrets about high school was never choosing music and learning an instrument. It remains to be see, however, as to whether Rock Band 3 or Powergig will actually be able teach you to play an instrument though.

    In the mean time I need to figure out how to play in-game drums. I’m bloody terrible at it. Although maybe trying the drums on GH: Metallica wasn’t the best way to start. 😀

    Damn you, Ulrich!

  2. Michael avatar

    What would life be without music? NOTHING!

    “I was amazed that obscure songs I had grown up with like “Mother”, by Danzig were there for me to play through.”

    Heard that for the first time in GTAIII, I think. Hmm, no it was San Andreas and I *may* have been in a plane at the time. Brilliant 😀

    Awesome blog man 🙂

  3. G-Force 'well avatar
    G-Force ‘well

    WoW. You have Rock Band 2 – The rarest of rare music games. Great blog mate. Games have now even changed the way bands market themselves. How about this? Guitar Hero Blues Brothers.With saxaphone controller. Awesome.

  4. Martin avatar

    Yeah RB 2 took me a while to find but I got there eventually. You should check out an older blog of mine called “re-united it feels so good” you might like it. A sax controller? You might have something there. Lolz.

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