Friday, September 26, 2008

Plastic Guitar UPDATE

Okay, this "Update" thing is not going to become a habit. This space is reserved for recorded music and the practitioners thereof, and is not going to become a bastion for clicka-clicka-clicka-ing kids who wouldn't know a whammy bar from a whammy pedal.

Except sometimes things are too ridiculous to ignore.
Girly guitars. Pox on our fair nation, or a mere embarrassing offense? Wait - it sounds like we can have both on this one. And these are plastic girly guitars, so they don't even have the saving grace of making real music. These are new Guitar Hero/Rock Band guitars from these idiots, and like everything else made for little girls in a little guy's world, they are hideous.

Now I know some things about girls. I know two things about them, in fact, and here they are:

1. Girls like pink
2. Girls like other things, too.
That's the intel I'm working with, and they both seem like pretty iron-clad assumptions. Now the problem with marketing people (and video game marketers in particular,) is that they've lost the second half of the list. They assume that girls only like girly things , and that's dangerous. I'll take a second to illustrate by showing you the opposite end of the spectrum.
Behold: the pinnacle of Mantastic Enterprise's demographic research. What stands before you is the toughest, manliest, race-car driving-est, tire-squealing-est, rockin-est, humbucking-est piece of badassery ever assembled. Yes sir, you can shift gears mid-solo, and it's even got a speedometer so you can see how fast you're SHREDDING! Lost your place in a song, you say? No problem - just use the handy, color-coded notes inlaid on the fretboard. Or better yet, distract the crowd with plumes of exhaust from the set of scorching-hot chrome pipes!
Actually, do you know where I could get one of these?

Exactly. Even Ace Frehley would be offended. Part of the problem is that girls are multi-faceted and toy companies forget that. Despite enjoying a variety of things—like the humans they are—they keep getting fed the same old pink/purple/teardrop/heart-shaped bullshit by executives who think it's what they want.

I've seen women in the DemoWAR army wearing pink, only it's been scuffed, scratched, and smeared with space dust from whatever moon their battle took place on that week. Either that, or they've liberally applied a paint called Foe Spludge™, this rudimentary paste made from the jugulal spray of a downed opponent and whatever indigenous berries they can find. It's your basic intimidation tactic, like a Vietnam Ear Necklace or a picket fence topped with trick-or-treaters' heads. Even then, as far as pinks go Spludge is more of an mulberry than say....fuchsia.

But really, what do you think is really going to encourage young girls to play guitar and be bigger and badder than their predecessors?


For the record, there is only one "Girly Guitar" that is allowed here at DemoWAR HQ. And if your stomach feels especially strong after that, the full, genderly-embarrassing girly-story can be found at Video Games Blogger.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News: Parenting Takes a Backseat

to ROCK 'N' ROLL! (or a reasonable facsimile thereof.)

Beedledy whaow!

A few weeks ago, one enterprising youth from Raleigh, North Carolina was able to convince his parents to let him drop out of school and pursue a career as a professional Guitar Hero competitive gamer.

I'll pause for a moment while that sinks in. And in case some of you, Dear Readers, are in shock—unable to speak—I'll read it again, inserting an inner monologue for your convenience.
A few weeks ago, one enterprising youth from Raleigh, North Carolina was able to convince his parents (HIS WATERBRAINED, PREMATURELY-SENILE, DRUG-ADDLED PARENTS—SO UNFIT TO RAISE A CHILD THAT I FEAR THEY POSSESS NOT EVEN THE STRENGTH TO RAISE THE ROD WITH WHICH TO STRIKE HIM) to let him drop out of school and pursue a career (HOLD ON... Career: -noun- an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one's lifework. RIGHT , THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT IT MEANT) as a professional Guitar Hero competitive gamer. (INSERT STRING OF *&^#$*$* CARTOON EXPLETIVES HERE)
And fine, there are professional gamers that make a living doing this. There is a skill in the mastery of a specific rule set - like chess, or chess. This set of rules belongs to video games. Fine. I dub thee "acceptable." There's just one problem. This kid is not that good. He's taken home a total of about $1000, a number that includes free Chick Fil A sandwiches. And that's certainly not good enough to do it full time while being home-schooled. (read: stripped of all viable social skills, doomed to date your cousin, etc, etc.)


Another problem I have with this story is that it's lazily cobbled together, as illustrated by this quote from the journalistic giants at North Carolina News Observer:
"It's pretty sick," says Andrew Gambling, 27, who describes himself as a casual player. "He's talented."
Talented. This is the best quote they could get? One can only hope that it was due to their deadline, looming like a drunken clown at a children's birthday party, that was forced to cut some other choice quotes from the final edition, like these!
"Dude, I don't know how he does it. " says Gabe Featherton. "It's like he's sitting at home playing Guitar Hero all day, or something."

"I mean, I don't know. It's cool, I guess." says Kara Lottaboudit. "Can I go now?"

Blake's former girlfriend, Lisa Catera, had a different perspective, however. "He spent more time fingering that plastic guitar than he did [hanging out with] me, that's for sure."
The full (but too brief to really be considered full,) story can be found here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Men=No Maids

You're aware, I assume, that there exist very real threats to our livelihood. We're surrounded on all fronts by faces of terrorists and journalists; war criminals and rock music critics. And trust me, they are cut from the same cloth. Their intent is to instill fear and self-doubt. They have chosen to destroy rather than create. They are instigators.
What is our reaction—Do we negotiate? Do we panic? Do we hide up in our hidey-holes with our lil' hidey-blankets, calling up imaginary hidey-friends on imaginary hidey-phones?

Don't be ridiculous. We build missile laser defense shields. It's what the big boys do.
How else to make sure that those ne'er-do-wells are kept outside our nation's borders? And for those of you worrying about your own private borders, this tech tree trickles down to consumer products like Illegal-Immigration-Laser-Defense-Shield, Unwarranted-Wiretapping-Laser-Defense-Shield and Definitely-Not-A-Recession-Probably-Laser-Defense-Shield. All pocket-sized, on-the-go like. Which brings us back to the age-old equation:

X + Y = (^_^)

In which X = Tax Dollars
Y = Flagrant Government Spending
(^_^) = Cool Gadgets For Me To Buy
Even with all of these precautions, the breakdown in security starts with the introduction of the human element. How else to explain this recent lapse in protocol, that another article of DemoWAR contraband has been discovered on the premises? A bootlegged song à la Meredith DiMenna, no less. This is disquieting.


I've got no choice left but to slowly shake my head in consternation. I try to tell you men that this stuff is dangerous - you don't listen. I tell you that you're furthering the breakdown of our puritanical society - you label me a paranoid old coot. These pirate broadcasts offer nothing more than empty promises! Trust me - there are no women coming to visit you in the wee hours, bearing gifts of sonorous song and bountiful bosom. There are no maids coming to make your meals or tuck your sheets under your chin like mommy used to do. There is only a progressive weakening of your manlinesses, resulting in a feminization of the entire corps.

The truth is when you bunk down, listening to these...these "records," our squad of MACHO Operatives (Muscle Atrophy CHecker-Outers) is sneaking into your dormitories with calipers—big, shiny calipers—to sure your muscles aren't atrophying. But it turns out they are atrophying, like bananas in the sun.
Imagine you took a bicep and hollowed it out, but instead of all that bicepy stuff, you replaced it with gummy-bear gummy-stuff. And now that the temperature has hit 90°, the melty-gummy-stuff is trickling out of your pores like high-fructose sweat. So here you are stuck to your clothes, your copy of Jet magazine, a nearby picnic table and oh look, it won't be long before bees arrive. Oh god, the bees!*

So let that be a lesson learned. No golden radio voice will save you from the horrors of sticky magazines. Wait, that came out wrong. ...damnit!

*...and the horseflies! Whence these plagues were visited upon us?!