This is the third of my We Should Expect Better series.
Now I want to get this out of the way immediately. There is nothing wrong with either music OR sports games. They are designed to do exactly what they do, and I perfectly respect their relatively stable design. There is also nothing wrong with playing them and liking them. The skill of rhythm and understanding the rules of football is quite impressive. There is nothing wrong with them. I even argue that some of them are quite good (rock band, etc).
What I argue is the reason for their existence. As good as these games are, I just cannot support them. Their very is existence are acts in futility and pointlessness. The problem is that while these games may give people an experience they would never have (doing a song in front of a roaring crowd can feel quite good). In fact, as good as these games are, I believe them to be the lowest forms of entertainment and dangerous too.
They arenít real. In truth, they are sub real. Theyíre vicarious alternatives to something you can really do if you put the effort into it. They donít teach you anything about real music and reward as if you did for just being able to keep in rhythm and have fast reflexes. The games show no effort in trying to teach any real fundamentals about playing a guitar, singing, drums, football, basketball. They just turn easy to learn, hard to master real world activities and substitute them for easier digital packages. This is like going to the store and buying frozen desert instead of real ice cream. Itís the nutritional equivalent to the nutritional equivalent of a real active or creative experience.
And the strange thing is, it tends to really delude people into thinking that they can really be a successful musician or play a sport well if they just tried. Yet the ease of the game and itís instant gratification never instills a single ounce of real motivation to actually try for excellence. These games and the rise of rags to riches media (high school musical, Fame, American Idol, etc) give rise to the strange anti Barbie of the new millennium. These games and movies strut around giving vapid praise for minimal talent and effort, raising peopleís self esteem when itís not real and not deserved.
And you know what the really sad, ironic thing is. Itís now actually cheaper to buy a real guitar (admittedly a starter instrument) or football as opposed to rock band or Madden. The fact that music and rhythm games are continuously growing and edging out real music when itís actually cheaper to learn how to play an actual instrument makes me cry and want to tear out my hair.
Oh! And it makes me lose faith in humanity too.
If youíre interested in previous iterations of we should expect better, check out my blog for more.
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