Champion of Guitars

by Bill Meltsner

Slice of life

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
One-Note, March 21, 2014
by Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle)

In order for parody to work, it has to be salient criticism: it needs to articulate and illuminate a problem with its subject.

I haven't ever played Guitar Hero - I'm not a console gamer, timed pattern-matching isn't a mechanic that appeals to me very strongly, guitar-driven rock music isn't high among my musical preferences - so I don't have much invested here, but I know that it's a timed pattern-matching game about music. Champion of Guitars demonstrates that if you remove the timing and the music from this formula by making it a turn-based text game, and make no attempt to replace those features with any of the strengths of that medium, it becomes trivial and boring. This is kind of like saying that Adventure is boring if you take out the puzzles, navigation and room descriptions. It's a feeble argument.

Of course, Champion of Guitars is kind of a tedious game - that's the point. But if you're going to waste anybody's time with a crappy game, your point had better be a good one. Parody works best when it wants to understand its subject, when its mockery gets to the heart of something important. When it demonstrates a wilful ignorance, a refusal to try and understand what's going on, it becomes nothing more than a loud, sneering expression of dislike.

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Victor Gijsbers, March 27, 2014 - Reply
Are you sure the game is meant as a parody of Guitar Hero? It so obviously fails at being so that I'm inclined to categorise it differently. It's more a moment to revel in pure absurdity, as with a game I once played called "Play Quake in a forum thread!" (You just wrote down how you killed or was killed by your opponents.)

Not deep, not spectacular, but good for a smile.
Sam Kabo Ashwell, March 27, 2014 - Reply
Your reading might be plausible. My take, though, is that among People Who Like To Deride As Worthless All Game Genres That They Do Not Personally Enjoy, obviously dead-on-arrival criticisms are common currency.

I dunno. I'd expect a revel-in-pure-absurdity game to aim to be more fun, along some axis or another.
Victor Gijsbers, March 28, 2014 - Reply
I'm tempted to see this game almost as a piece of concept art. It's basically

"Hey, let's play guitar hero ... as a turn-based text adventure!"
*cue a smile at the absurdity of the thought*

except that the idea is easier to convey by actually taking the 5 minutes needed to make the game, so the maker did that.

Maybe I'm being to generous, but I guess my personal goal in life is to become more generous in my criticism. ;-)
Janice M. Eisen, November 9, 2014 - Reply
I happen to know the author (he is my son), and Victor is exactly right. Those are very close to the words he used to tell me about it. It was intended as a loving nod to both Guitar Hero (Bill's generation) and text adventures (mine). Now, obviously, like any work, a game has to stand on its own, and I'm while I'm fond of some of the details and the different endings available, it's not my place to argue with anyone about its quality. Since you were discussing the intent of the game, though, I thought I'd pipe up.
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