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Monday, November 15, 2010

Metal and Gaming, A match made in Heaven/Hell?

Many great minds have wondered over the years, what sort of music goes best with gaming? Well on Wednesday the 10th of November Playstation, Activision and Metallica set out to put the case for Heavy Metal to take the gaming music title.
With a group of friends and family I set off to see one of the biggest metal acts on the planet, Metallica. The week prior I had received an email stating that PS3 and Activision would be running a Guitar Hero promotion before Metallica took the stage. Being an avid gamer  and not being interested in the support acts, I convinced the rest of the crew that this would be a great place to get a few drinks and to fill in some time before Metallica took the stage.
So with this in mind we all set out to look for the PS3 bar. Once found we were greeted by some big GH: Warriors of Rock promo material and a couple of security folk ushering people in. As we were allowed in we were all handed a voucher for a free drink (which immediately settled my non-gaming friend’s apprehension at being there) and an entry in the lucky door competition (The prize, a brand spanking new PS3).  With a free drink in hand and a raffle ticket safely tucked away I turned my attention to the stage area.
The stage area was dominated by two massive screens, both showing two keen Metallica fans fumble their way through “Nothing else matters” on Guitar Hero Metallica. This brought about my first revelation for the evening; being a Metallica fan doesn’t automatically make you good at Guitar Hero as these two contestants were clearly demonstrating.  After finishing the contestants were thanked and rewarded with GH merchandise by an eager and competent MC. The MC then went on to explain that the best GH player of the evening would receive a sparkling new PS3/Warriors of Rock bundle.
The rules for the winners were strange however. The difficulty of the song was not taken into account and score didn’t matter. The winner was based firstly on percentage from their chosen song and secondly on their note streak, leading to some contestants being dumped from the competition when they were clearly better players then those that were winning.  A promotion for hardcore gamers this was not.
The crowd in the bar however were clearly enjoying themselves, watching the screens and singing along. I was also having a great time, the anticipation of the upcoming concert mixed with my love of gaming and a splash of alcohol was creating somewhat of a euphoric state for me. As the night wore on and the line-up for a turn shrunk I decided it was time to put my formidable GH skills to the test (I am the greatest GH player ever, as long as we only play on medium) so with a friend in tow I wandered towards the stage.
Once in the line I managed to have a small conversation with the MC. He went on to explain that while GH: Metallica was being played this was a promotion for GH: Warriors of Rock and the only reason that this wasn’t being played on stage was due to the crowd begging for GH: Metallica. Obviously in a room full of large, long haired, heavy metal fans the smart move is to do as they ask, hence GH Metallica on stage. I also asked him about the strange rules. His response was that he was instructed to use these rules by Activision who felt that it was the fairest way for noobs to be scored (and yes they apparently used the word noob.)
My attempt at getting on stage was cut short by the announcement that Metallica were 10 minutes from going on stage.  At this point the winner was announced and with a strangely appropriate score of 100% and a note streak of 666 (proving that Metal is still the devil’s domain) a young fellow by the name of Phil was ushered to the stage to be presented with a picture of his winnings, which luckily  he would receive by mail and wouldn’t have to look after it during the concert (which would be quite the task in the mosh pit).  With the formalities wrapped I made a mad dash to the floor to witness the night’s main act. But on my way I couldn’t help but contemplate the evening so far, as far as pre-concert entertainment goes it was a somewhat unique but entertaining way to begin the night. It also served to highlight gaming’s continued march into the mainstream. If a room full of hardcore heavy metal fans can participate and be entertained by some time with a PS3 surely it shows there is fun to be had with gaming by just about anyone.

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