Monday, January 28, 2008

"Nothing Says Writer's Strike More Than Guitar Hero On A Show"

Now that most live talk shows are back on the air, every show host from NY to LA must be roaming the vacant room that used to house their staff writers, looking for ghosts of inspiration. But all they find is a big empty table and a video game console gathering dust. And they've got come up with a segment about something, and they did the table yesterday.

We've seen Conan O'Brien's overbearing Rock Band showmanship, now here's Ellen simply playing two minutes of Guitar Hero to the delight(?) of her studio audience, as seen on her show last week (via, appropriately, Lesbian Gamer). Analysis after the jump.

Obviously this doesn't compare to the made for YouTube brilliance of Conan's sketch, and I think we all know how much fun it is to watch someone play Guitar Hero on easy, but I'm inclined to give Ellen a break. Her performance style is endearingly familiar, featuring what I like to call the "rocker's lean". This is where you slowly lean back, letting the music flow through you, and you use your leg as a counter weight. Anyone? Maybe it's just me and Ellen.

Also notable is that in her intro Ellen says, of game's addictive qualities, "You lie in bed awake and see the notes and lines." Aha, the Tetris Effect! This is the phenomenon of video game imagery occurring in gamer's dreams and coloring their real life cognition. I think we've all been there. For me, the worst was back at the height of my Myst fixation back in '94, when I went to bed and my thoughts played out in still, sequential images. That was not good. Or when I played Galaxies for a summer and started looking around in real life for columns of lights indicating where my next destination was. That was also a little scary. Though it's kind of interesting to flirt with the experience of being insane.

1 comment:

Degan said...

i remember one pathetic evening after a couple hours of freecell, i was watching six feet under and somehow thought to myself, "i can put claire's red queen on nate's black king, and follow that with david's black jack"... i also may have been sick at the time. But that was the worst tetris effect i've ever experienced... you also get some bizarre effects after hours of playing civilization... you should try it. You feel like God