Friday, December 21, 2007

I need to get out more...

This snippet from Andrew Sullivan makes me feel...I dunno...old, maybe?

Go there to see a You Tube video consisting of eight minutes of a young man playing a video game application, Guitar Hero. Instead of a joy stick, the player handles a guitar with buttons in the place of strings on the fretboard.

For the full impact, read this first-person description of kids playing.

As I stare wistfully down the PC game aisle, the posse approaches. Four teenage boys (it always seems to be boys), not so much walking, but dancing, like poised ballerinas. Their torsos are almost entirely motionless as their legs slide along the floor. Their pants are ridiculous: large enough for two and beltless, each clearly a plumber's apprentice. They wear unmatching zip hoodies. The tallest of the boys is perhaps 6 feet. His skin is pasty white and pimpled, with what might pass for baby-soft stubble. His hair is a mass of center-parted brown grease. I feel a deep sympathy for him.

As one and with purpose, they stop in front of the GH3 shrine. Choreographed in their movements, the smallest of the clan hands the well-used Gibson Les Paul reverently to the leader.
As the stage swirls on the screen, a calm comes over Kyle. His face slackens a bit. He closes his eyes. His lieutenants absorb his tension, shuffling their feet, biting their nails. The highway of the fret board starts rolling, and as the first note falls, Kyle's eyes open.

The entire intro of Fire is hammer-ons. There's no preamble. There's no warm up. It starts hard and it stays hard. Both of Kyle's hands are poised over the fret buttons as he taps out the notes. He is not looking at the screen. He is looking at his fingers. His long neck and arms make the guitar controller look even more diminutive than it is. He is curled over it, completely motionless but for his fingers. I look at the screen as he passes "200 note streak."
At just over 6 minutes, the song becomes even more ludicrous. While actually playing it will ever remain for me an uncrossable gap, I am enough a student of the form to recognize the crux. He is Lance Armstrong approaching the bottom of Alpe D'Huez: Will he attack? Kyle has yet to use the Star Power crutch he has carried throughout his meditation.

He continues to ignore it.

His posse is immobile now: brows furrowed in tension, fingers white and digging into palms. I realize I haven't blinked in too long and force myself. My palms are sweating, my left hand cramped in sympathy. As the song comes to it's unrelenting conclusion, I can only stare at Kyle's face. His eyelids have dropped, half covering his irises.

He hits the last orange note. He lets the guitar fall from his hands onto the floor. It's not an act of disdain or bravado, his hands simply open and then there is no guitar. I look at the screen. "You Rock!" Jake echoes with the screen. 500,000 points. Kyle isn't looking. The small crowd claps for a second, then starts to disperse.

I really want to feel good about the next generation, but it's not easy when I come across this.

But I have a flashback to Pinball Wizard and start to feel a little better.

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