Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Every Bunny Gets Drunk After Easter #4

We're a bit short this week. First, trail breaker John Harwood checked in with this:
Looks like the tortoise is catching the hare--for this week anyway. I only had an hour of play on Wednesday and a few odd minutes here and there practicing chords at my desk. Had fun, but life obligations combined with stupid Lord Of The Rings Online taking time away again hasn't left me with much time or anything interesting to report for the week.

In truth, he didn't mention one more thing. It seems that he stated repeatedly that he would NOT be being a 3DS at launch. No real interest, and no time. Today, he texted me:
3DS makes me a bit nauseous. How are you doing with it?

That made my week.

Disabuse yourself of the notion that the tortoise is really catching the hare. John will spend five hours one day playing next week and almost double my weekly output. So I'm not catching up as much as I'm temporarily not losing more ground.

Next, expedition guide David Gloier is working on a post about his first month learning guitar--you know, back in the dark ages when we couldn't use a game to help us. That should be in next week's post.

For one week, then, you're stuck with Expedition Member me.
Total playing time (through Monday): 11:00 (2:30 last week)

It was a tough week for me to find playing time as well, since Eli 9.7 had a hockey tournament last weekend (details tomorrow), plus he woke up sick Monday morning and has been out of school the last two days. So I only played five days this week, because life has really been kicking my ass lately.

If you're wondering how playing in Pro and learning how to play the real guitar differs from the little plastic instruments we all knew and loved, I can easily describe the difference: because of the complexity of an actual guitar, the adrenaline rush as you move up the learning curve is substantially muted compared to the plastic toy version. I felt I was racing along with the five-button controller, and it was a great, fun feeling.

Real guitar isn't like that, at least for me. I can feel myself improving, but it's glacial, because there are so many things to learn, and every new piece of knowledge requires more time to absorb.

I'm not saying that a bad thing, because I'm learning something with a purpose, just that it's inevitable that the rush is going to be limited for a while.

Having said that, though, Harmonix, as always, has done a wonderful job with difficulty levels. It is a million times more fun to play actual songs, even if I'm not playing chords yet, than it is to slog through lessons non-stop. I think Harmonix's ability to manage difficulty has always been underappreciated, but it's never been demonstrated as well as now, when it's being learned to use an actual instrument.

It's not like I'm saying this for the first time, but damn, these guys are good.

I've noticed there are a few things in particular that my brain is crawling through. In particular, there are times when my left hand wants to move in the wrong direction, instead of moving in tandem with my right hand. Because my left hand is curled around the neck of the guitar, it almost reverses my perception of movement, so that up feels down and vice versa.

It's also quite a learning curve to pick interior strings easily. The middle two strings are still giving me quite a bit of trouble, although I seem to (finally) be competent with the other four.

Whenever I get frustrated, though, I remember that even two weeks ago, anything but the top or bottom strings were absolute wastelands. Certainly, that's not the case anymore, although I still have a long, long way to go.

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