Last night I had only my second go at the band version of Guitar Hero. My first attempt a month ago had left me with the realisation that I wasn’t a natural drummer – despite my skill at air drumming. Fortunately, my coordination is improving and so is my rhythm. Given a bit more practice I might even manage the transition from ‘easy’ to ‘medium’.

Since my last efforts, the friend who owns the game has also thoughtfully created a specially designed ‘Liz’ avatar for me. At home I have ‘Judy Nails’ who’s been my chosen player since I was first introduced to the game months ago. She’s nothing like me – has red hair, a rather daring electric blue outfit (with matching Gibson guitar), stripy socks and blue converse (the only thing we have in common). She can also be rather slutty, but that seems to be a feature of most characters!

Sure, creating personalised characters is fun. That’s been hours of entertainment on the wii – creating (amongst others) several good friends and key figures from history, like Jesus. Always a bonus to have him on your side in baseball! My wii mii looks a lot like me and its hair gets changed according to my haircuts. (Though, as with my own hair, I’m kind of longing for the day when the two plaits look can make a return.)

Anyway, I was a little intrigued to see what my friend had come up with. Actually “worried” might be more appropriate. What would his interpretation be?

What I got was something essentially a close match to me – or at least the me that I often look like when wasting hours playing senseless computer games. Baseball t-shirt (colours matched to one I own), cropped jeans (a shade lighter than I’d usually go for), short blonde hair, blue converse.

However, there was one thing that disturbed me. How shall I put it? The proportions of the avatar were a little, well, surprising. I realise that this is the second time in three posts that I’ve mentioned my cleavage, but, honestly! With these things you get options in the design as to how big/small, tall/short & light/dark certain aspects are.

So my question is, are they that much of a feature? Really? Did they have to be so prominent? Or perhaps, it’s just in line with the aforementioned slutty nature of the game’s characters?

I think I’ll be sticking with that last theory. Anything else doesn’t really bear thinking about and I will put it straight out of my mind.

Acquiring new skills

I’m an eager beaver when it comes to learning things. (I blame my parents.)
I’m also a little bit competitive.

Both these facts might explain how I came to be playing Guitar Hero till nearly 3am on Saturday night.

I went to bed honestly believing that I’d finally acquired the ability to play the guitar. (This being the instrument that I feel would be most useful to play at my current stage of life!)

This may be an opportune moment to share with you an amusing discovery I made about a year ago…actually, two discoveries. In chronological order:

(i) The ‘Worship Team Hero’ group on facebook.
Basically, it develops ideas for a Christian rock version of the popular game, with various challenges. It includes such gems as:

“Every song will use a mystical progression called “The Jesus Chords”, consisting of G, D, Em, C. Should you decide to alter this progression in any way, brace yourself for mass confusion amongst team members and congregation alike.”

“It is possible (although difficult) to unlock a bonus level by successfully turning off the volume for “the bad singer”; leaving their voice only coming through their own monitor, yet convinced that everyone in the congregation can hear them.”

There’s also a ‘Worship Sound Team Hero’ suggestion, for all the die-hard techies out there, including the challenge of: “Managing a band consisting of bass, drums, 3 guitars, 2 keyboards, a piano, and 4 vocalists on a 16 channel console without anyone noticing which instrument/vocalist has a “dummy” mic. Bonus points for dealing with that last minute accordion player without breaking any commandments.”

(ii) Guitar Praise, as discovered on Gizmodo last summer.
Essentially, Guitar Hero with American Christian rock tunes instead of Aerosmith…

At the time, I thought this was a slightly ridiculous idea. On the way home listening to a rather cool sounding chord progression that was probably in a Tim Hughes song, I got thinking that maybe this would be rather fun. (As long as it was more British/Antipodean based, I don’t get American Christian rock unless it’s Switchfoot or DC Talk.)
Who says you can’t be competitive, have fun and praise the Lord at the same time?!

A virtual musical?

Exciting news in today’s Guardian – apparantly there are plans afoot to extend Lord Lloyd-Webber’s empire into the world of computer games!

The article in question appeared to deride the idea, but honestly, I can’t think of anything better. So it got me wondering exactly what form such a game might take…

Scenario 1:
Your standard Singit/Guitar Hero/Rockband format. Sing along to the songs of the Lord, graded for rhythm, tune and words. Would be fun, but essentially musical theatre karaoke.

Scenario 2:
Take a Lloyd-Webber show and jump various hurdles to create a West End standard production. Choose a cast, creative team, backers, producers and overcome the challenges of a credit-crunch impacted Theatreland.

Scenario 3:
The I’d Do Anything/Any Dream Will Do/How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? format. You are a contestant battling to win the lead in a new production of a hit musical. Each level requires new skills, from proving you can dance and enchant small children, hit a top C or turn John Barrowman straight (not to mention the ability to sing, dance and rollerskate simultaneously).

Which one do you reckon they’ll go for? Personally, the third’s my favourite. That’s probably just because I have unreasonable aspirations of one day actually entering that kind of show!

Of course, the only downside would be that the Lord didn’t write Wicked – and that’s one show I’d love to recreate in a virtual world, but I guess Starlight Express could be just as good!

Wii Fit?

This is the extent to which NaBloPoMo has taken over my life:
It’s five minutes to midnight on the penultimate day of November and I’ve escaped into my friend’s bedroom to blog before the day ends!

I’m taking a break from wii fit, a simultaneously hellish and heavenly device that may be about to take over my life. There are many things I hate about it – it’s made my lovingly created wii mii fat, and it cries “ouch” every time I stand on the board, not to mention its many and varied patronising comments.

However, it’s amazingly addictive. Last night I was on it for nearly an hour. I became obsessed with slalom skiing (which it turns out, I’m quite good at) and was determined to beat my friend’s highest score. I failed to do that last night, but on my 10th attempt this evening I succeeded. What an amazing sense of achievement!!

You’ve also got to love any device that decides that you’re “unbalanced” at the end of an activity – I’m not sure whether it means physically or mentally, given the amount of profanity which emerges from my mouth every time I make a mistake.

Not sure if I care enough about it to actually buy one though. That’s what I pay an inordinate amount of money to my gym for…and at least the treadmill doesn’t shout at me.

Activities to keep you occupied in church #2

Play golf on your mobile.

Far more irritating and far less interesting than the girl spotted knitting a while ago.

In fact, as the guy sat next to me played golf all the way through the testimonies of those being baptised this evening, I’d say it was pretty much inappropriate & insulting…

There you go, rant over.

Incidentally, I often find myself sat near knitting girl and it’s still very intriguing watching her knit through the sermon. She makes very pretty things.