I don’t think that I have been able to comb through my usual sources of classic rock news lately without coming across at least one story about these new video games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band.”
The games have become wildly popular, and although some bemoan the possibility that the games end up discouraging kids from playing a real instrument, others applaud the revival of interest in rock music that these games probably deserve a lot of credit for.
I prefer to side with the more optimistic camp, and agree that keeping a whole generation of music alive for a new generation of fans is a good thing. In fact, I think it may even contribute to the inspiration of young people who have a genuine desire to learn to play a real instrument.
I think what we are seeing now are millions of kids who otherwise never would have considered learning how to play a real instrument picking up these plastic replica instruments for some fun, just as they would with any other video game. Those who really want to rock, will put down the plastic guitar and start saving money for a real guitar, or perhaps hope that one appears beneath the Christmas Tree.
The latest news from the creators of the “Rock Band” series of video games is that they will be making available an entire album of music from Canadian rock trio Rush available for download to game consoles. The classic Rush album Moving Pictures will be available to download for about $11, with individual songs from the album available separately for about $2.
As for the band, they seem fully on board with the concept of these new games, since they see them as an avenue that can be used to expose their music to a new generation. I’m not going to pretend that Rush is not raking in some cash from a deal like this, but of all the groups I can think of, I doubt that the guys from Rush would be the type that would embrace something that they believe might discourage young people who otherwise would have taken on the task of learning to play an actual instrument.
You also have to remember that with 40 gold and platinum records to their credit, I seriously doubt that these three guys really need the money they will make from these video game releases.
I say keep these games coming, and with decades worth of music to draw upon, there seems to be a lot of room to keep kids rockin’ for a good long time, as long as the makers of these games are able to keep them fresh with new innovations and improvements.
I seriously doubt that “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” are a threat to the development of any potential Geddy Lees or Alex Lifesons of the future. Let the kids rock on with their plastic guitars, because I am reasonably certain that the ones with the genuine passion for making music will soon trade their toys for the real thing.