June 30th, 2011
A scant four years ago, music titles like Guitar Hero and Rock Band were a dominant force in gaming. And while musicians the world over derided the games and their players for somehow cheapening the sacred rite of the guitar solo, they managed to teach an entire generation of gamers that music could (and likely should) be a multi-sensory experience. The hum of an amp, the shifting polygons of an on-screen avatar and even the glossy feel of the fret buttons added something to the traditional aesthetic of the songs themselves that could be experienced by fans with no traditional musical training. But these games disappeared just as quickly as they came to prominence, an unfortunate casualty of sequel-itis.
My children were a bit too young to get into the whole rhythm game phenomenon, and, though there is still a pile of plastic guitars and turntables in the corner of the den, they just don’t seem to have the drawing power they did back in their heyday. For my kids, music play has taken a new name, and we call it Paper Jamz.