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Playing Music VS. Music Games
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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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September 30, 2013 - 11:11 am
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Good morning and happy fall everyone!

 

So, there has been this raging debate going on for a while between myself and my friends from previous bands & orchestras.  Now, they've been playing for many years and some are pretty stuck in their ways to say the least! LOL  I wanted a little more variety to the discussion and figured, what better place than this forum? :D  

Okay, here's the argument.....er....battle with many casualties!  rofl

What are your takes on music video games such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Song Pop, Smule Magic Piano, etc.?  

My take has always been that if it introduces someone to music, it can't be a bad thing!  Now granted, some of the music used in these games can hardly be called music, but it just may inspire someone to pick up an instrument and try to play.  Something the education system has failed to do recently.  

Other friends in this debate argued that games promote laziness and an unreal perception on playing music.  I even heard comments such as "Guitar Hero?  How about:  Learn to play the freakin' guitar."  .....to put it in PG-rated terms! LOL  

Honestly, some of those games helped me with staying in time as I like to "free-lance" from time to time.  dunnoexactly

What are your thoughts on the issue?

 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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HatefulPain
Trondheim, Norway
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September 30, 2013 - 12:01 pm
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I'm not quite natural to this, since I'm a big game enthusiast and collector. But in general I think games are a good thing, you interact with other people (online or in real life with friends and family.) you could also learn various skills from video games. (Depends of course on what game it is. I don't think so many people learn much from pac-man.) 

However, games are usually meant to be pure entertainment and not a supplement. If it's a trigger to make someone want to play an instrument, brilliant. But a game is a game, and should be used as a game. In my opinion games are great and a nice way to relax and cooperate with others.

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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October 1, 2013 - 1:23 am
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That's a very good point regarding the entertainment aspect!  

Games are meant to be fun and entertaining.  When it adds educational value, it's a major bonus!  Plus, having fun makes learning much easier!  

The question I keep getting though is "when does a game take away value from playing an instrument?"  Some seem to believe that it is an insult to say, guitarists, who spend years mastering their craft only to be "upstaged" by gamers scoring perfects on Guitar Hero.  

 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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DanielB
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October 1, 2013 - 2:31 am
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I don't know much about the games, since I've never had much interest in them. 

But if people have fun playing them, that should be cool. 

I wouldn't expect it to necessarily result in the people playing the game becoming interested in becoming musicians any more than people who played Mario Bros necessarily ended up becoming plumbers, though.  Or, for a maybe more serious example, the assorted cooking and surgery games.  Some, maybe, but probably not a lot. 

I can see where games actually intended to teach or coach on playing music would be *possible*, but that isn't usually the priority of game company marketers. Educational games are out there, I'm sure (like the ones FM has here on the site), but they probably aren't the "hot" games.

I don't see any harm from there being some games out there that people like to play. 

I've played guitar most of my life, but I wouldn't assume that would mean I'd do particularly well on "Guitar Hero", if I ever played it.  A game controller and a real world instrument aren't the exact same things, and I would think the only way one would be good on both is if they actually practice on both.

I have kinda wondered though, if the game controllers could maybe be hacked into a sort of musical instrument.  That might be kinda fun, though I wouldn't trade in my guitars for one. LOL

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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EJ-Kisz
Midwest, US
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October 1, 2013 - 9:24 am
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You said it best, games, much like playing an instrument, take time and practice!  

I think some games do have transferable skills, but in subtle ways.  As you said, learning is not the priority, but entertainment.  Plus, who wants to go to the store and buy a wonderful copy of an.......Educational Game! LOL  When I was younger, I'd run away from that prospect!

You know what's funny?  There is a game out there that actually turns your guitar into a controller!  It's designed to teach you how to play guitar in a video game manner.  I've never tried it, but it looks interesting!  I just wish they made one for violin!  

Check it out:

Rocksmith

http://rocksmith.ubi.com/rocks.....index.aspx

Now for the game controller being used as an instrument, I don't see why it hasn't been done!  I've watch a friend of mine solder bit's and pieces of electronics together to create all kinds of sounds.  Some of them even look like game controller components.  Why not take an existing controller??  ........ah yes, the wonderful world of synths and modules! LOL  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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HatefulPain
Trondheim, Norway
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October 1, 2013 - 10:14 am
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Rocksmith looked like a whole lot of fun. Kinda makes me want to take up guitar haha.

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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DanielB
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October 1, 2013 - 1:39 pm
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Rocksmith *could* be promising for learning.  Maybe eventually.  Probably fun as a game right now, though.  

Some obvious points I see to criticize:

The only songs you can play with it are apparently cover tunes.  So you can't write anything new or edit existing arrangements (which are things you *can* do in a regular band).

They say they have "over 100" songs available for it.  That isn't a very large repertoire.  Not compared to the planet's worth of songs that are available if you learn to read music or guitar tab. 

The special cable isn't quite as unique as they try to make it sound.  You can buy a basic 1/4 inch to USB cable made for plugging an electric guitar or bass directly into a computer USB port for 10$ or so, if you look around.  Don't know if those would work with the game, but they do work for recording and etc.  And no reason they wouldn't also work with electric violin or and acoustic violin with a pickup.

The big assortment of effects and amp emulations also isn't at all unique.  You can find free software for that online.  By the way, if you have an electric violin and some way that you patch it directly into your computer for recording, then you definitely *should* look into the free ones that are available, since effects and an amp to play with your electric making cool sounds can easily cost you more than you paid for the electric.  The technology is already out there.

They were very careful with how they answered the question about latency in the FAQ.  So read that as "yeah, there's some, but with some tweaking it will be liveable one most computers and etc that aren't *real* old.

 

But some good points too:

It apparently does come with some lessons.

It's not very expensive. A quick look on amazon and I found the current/old version that isn't the soon to be released 2014 edition going for about 30 bucks.  Comes with the cable and if you already have an electric guitar lurking somewhere or can find a cheapie at a yard sale or on ebay, that would be a very inexpensive startup for what looks to be a cool game.  

Since it does apparently work by notes played on an actual guitar instead of a game controller, probably it would at least be a fun game and maybe practice aid. 

 

So it looks better than I expected, anyway.  For the buck, it's a decent amount of bang, if this sort of game is your kinda thing.  PC version available as well as the usual popular console versions.

Not my cup of tea, but it does look at least promising. 

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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HDuaneaz
Chandler, Arizona
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October 1, 2013 - 2:31 pm
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I really like some of the games Pierre has on here. I think they can be helpful to a beginner.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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