I’ve always thought Rock Band/Guitar Hero were mildly entertaining, but I never put much stock into them- and I would most certainly never purchase one. I am after all, ahem, A Real Musician (that was slightly sarcastic, though I am a pretentious asshole as well). My feelings towards “fake music” games were further pushed into the gray with the announcement of The Beatles- Rock Band. Luckily we (actually “I”) have Kiri Brown, apparently the person with The Worlds Greatest Job* to explain one of the reasons I (and others, jeez) tend to act like such an asshole towards players of these games- and it’s actually pretty fascinating. (Via)
The hostility that people have toward Rock Band and Guitar Hero, she adds, is an expression of schizophonic anxiety — “schizophonia” being the composer R. Murray Schafer’s word for the split between music and its source, first coined 40 years ago to explain why an earlier generation was deeply troubled by the advent of recorded music. The way people came to terms with the phenomenon of recording, Miller explains, “was to create these really sharp distinctions between the live and the recorded. So we know what’s live, and it has its particular value and authenticity; and we know what’s recorded, and it also eventually has its particular value and authenticity.” Music gaming disturbs people because it upends those distinctions by adding to recorded music “this component of physical bodily performance that we think of as being a hallmark of liveness.”
And there you go. Problem solved. Now I just need another $250. But I think I’d still rather have the remastered mono versions of the early Beatles catalog, because I’m still a pretentious dick, deep down inside (not really that deep down at all).
I also suggest you read at least the next paragraph of the article, which delves into the relationship between schizophonia and homophobia. Not kidding.
[* That is, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Brown University, who “studies video-game music.” Really.]