Text satire pushes Guitar Hero's buttons


The current management of
this rather seedy venue doesn’t much care about appearances,
apparently. Nonetheless, it’s become one of the hottest spots in the
area, attracting surly alcoholics from all around. A variety of local
acts, the vast majority unrelentingly terrible, play here every Tuesday

Coincidentally, it’s Tuesday night. A
host of unsavory-looking people makes up your audience for the night.
They’re all staring at you expectantly.

A fake plastic guitar lies on the ground in front of you. Bolted to the wall is a television screen, dark and foreboding.


So it begins. Text adventures, in which a world is presented in prose and interaction is through typed commands, are one of the oldest forms of computer game; music/rhythm games like Guitar Hero, in which a world is presented in dazzling color and blaring sound and interaction is through an instrument-shaped novelty peripheral, are one of the newest. When programmer Bill Meltsner combined the two recently in the satirical Champion of Guitars, the result was a textbook example of how an amusing artwork can catch on and go viral in a wired-up community that loves poking fun at itself. It’s also a textbook example of the power of the so-called “lazyweb,” the blogger practice of tossing a good idea out there in the hope that someone, somewhere, with more resources or less sloth, might make it a reality. — Darren Zenko, The Toronto Star