I love video games. Who doesn’t, right? Well, some people, but they’re not technically human anyways.
I recently purchased the Squier Stratocaster by Fender that acts as a controller for Rock Band 3. This is the world’s first real guitar/game controller. Unlike the previous plastic Rock Band/Guitar Hero guitars, this thing is an actual factual guitar that you can plug into an amp with and jam, as well as use as a game controller for Rock Band 3. The guitar has sensors built into the frets that sense where your fingers are pressing down, as well as which strings you are strumming with your strumming hand.
The reason I spent my hard earned cash on this art and science amalgam is that I wanted to teach myself guitar. I correctly assumed that I would be able to use the fact that I love video games to trick my brain into learning a difficult task. Rock Band 3 has so called Pro Guitar Tutorial mode which slowly weans you onto the instrument with increasingly difficult fingering exercises (hold the sex jokes, I’m not talking about summer camp). These exercises are made, like all good video games, to provide the perfect level of challenge and reward so you gradually improve your skill without becoming overly frustrated.
The ultimate goal is to be able to play the songs in the game on expert mode, which is exactly what one would play in order to play the real guitar part in that song! Pretty sweet! I’ve only been playing for a few weeks now, but I am already able to play most of the basic chords and I’m learning some advanced ones as well.
It has previously been discussed on this blog how video games can be used as a tool to teach us new things. This is just one example of how such an idea can be pulled off so well.