Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rock Like Nobody but the Digital Eye Attached to Your Console is Watching

My sons have been playing a lot of Guitar Hero lately. This is great for two major reasons. First, it keeps them in the basement and away from my Xbox. When they aren’t playing Xbox, their Madden skills atrophy so that I still have hopes of beating them head to head and I get to play Modern Warfare 2. Second, it gives me a legitimate excuse for grabbing the guitar and rocking out to a quick song without my wife thinking I’m a goofball.

Just trying to play with the kids and make them laugh a little.

But thinking about Guitar Hero and Xbox at the same time caused a crazy idea to pop into my head. Anyone with an Xbox Live membership has seen advertisements for the Kinect. This is the Xbox camera attachment that is so hot right now and involves games you play by jumping around in front of the camera like a fool, trying to hit a moving a ball or trying to copy the dance moves someone else is performing before you.

When I play Guitar Hero, I can’t hold still. I strut around the basement like I should be wearing Angus McKinnon’s schoolboy outfit. I perform spins during the parts I manage to remember the buttons for and can afford time with my back to the screen (thank God for wireless controllers). Occasionally you’ll see a leg kick in order to accent a particularly important musical burst. And the crowd definitely gets a lot of crotch thrusting in their direction, though I try to tone that down when my sons are in the room.

Now, imagine if such movement during the game got you extra points. Perhaps the Kinect camera could be combined with Guitar Hero in order to create a new challenge category. You could receive extra points for showmanship.

Rock Band’s vocal aspect already calls for a little ad lib singing. That’s how you activate the bonus star power. So why not reward the rest of the band for a little creativity.

I strongly encourage…scratch that…I implore the developers of the newest Guitar Hero and Rock Band games to incorporate this aspect of rock into their games. Moving around the stage and entertaining the crowd is, after all, a central part of being a true and successful rock performer. More importantly, not only would I have an excuse to play the occasional game, I would finally have an excuse for jumping up on to the couch or lying on my back on the floor and kicking my legs in the air during the solos.

What? I’m going for extra points.

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