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Opinion: Why I hate music games

James Naysmith reckons it's More Than A Feeling

Music games, they used to be so inoffensive. A few cheeky steps on a Dance Dance Revolution, the odd weird peripheral that could never catch on and then suddenly Guitar Hero and its ilk comes along and we're looking at not only a new genre, but the saviour of the industry, a new gaming supernova which brings casual and hardcore together in perfect harmony, one gaming nation under a gaming groove...

Norks, say I. In 2008, we (well I say 'we', I mean 'you', you idiots), spent a massive $1.4 billion on games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero and their many irritating imitators. This should not be a source of pride to you ladies and gentlemen, it should be a source of shame.

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This is what you don't look like...

So first up I'll admit I'm biased, I play guitar relatively okay and a few other instruments fairly badly and yup I can hold my hand on my heart and say as a muso I'm a massive snob about it and righteously offended by the success of these games.

Okay so first there's the caterwauling, then the endless entreaties to join in the 'fun' and worst of all the thumpy-thumpy of those diddy plastic drums. . But I suppose my biggest objection is that if you're going to spend all that time learning to play Rock Band, you might as well do the job properly and learn to be in an actual rock band.

Consider this: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and all those guitar gods you see as unconvincing cartoon characters in the background of your moving fretboard, did not get laid so often or so spectacularly because they could clear Through the Fire and the Flames on expert.

Oh I'm familiar with all the music games lovers' arguments too. They say 'not everyone's a musician, not everyone's got the time or talent to make a go of it and it's harmless enough, giving non-musos a little sip, a tiny taste of the feeling of what it must be like to be a rock god.'

True enough I suppose, but at the end of the day when the music stops you're still a grown man/woman holding a plastic guitar and howling like a twat at your television, having shelled out a veritable shed-load of cash for the privilege.

Still, for the fearsomely prejudiced such as myself, things could all be about to change. Industry analysts are predicting that this year you'll spend half as much as you did in 2008 on music games, which is welcome, but that's still $0.7 billion too much in my humble opinion.

Still at least it's a step in the right direction - but here's a thought, instead of spending your ill-gotten gains on DLC, track packs, replacement plastic peripherals etc. spend it instead on a Fender Stratocaster and check out a few learn to play videos on the web.

Give it a year and as you roar up to Christmas 2010, you might be good enough to experience a bit of rock god action of your own.

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