Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Why You All Are Backwards

I am left-handed.  This is something that I have always been very proud of.  I mean, obviously, we are smarter and better looking.  But it's more than that.  I enjoy anything that sets me apart and makes me different and more unique.  But that isn't my real point.

I am VERY left-handed.  Most lefties are, out of necessity, a little more ambidextrous than right-handed people.  Righties take for granted the little things such as zipping up your pants or using scissors, and southpaws get used to it.  But I am one of those who has never taken well to the right-handed world.  Whenever I greet someone, I have to suppress my natural instinct and instead offer them my right hand to shake.  Outside of the few absolutely necessary tasks, my right hand is worthless.

That is why I say with absolute certainty that you are all playing Guitar Hero backwards.  Because I play it in the "right-handed" position.  And do so better and more naturally than using the lefty flip.

I can see why you would think that you are doing it the right way.  I mean, the controller looks like a guitar, and you are holding it like you would a real guitar, right?

Well, there is a fundamental difference between the Guitar Hero controller and a real guitar that makes me disagree with this notion.  On a real guitar, you have 6 (or so) strings that you must pluck with accuracy.  Therefore, you want to use the hand with the best fine motor control, your right (my left). 

On the other hand (ha, catch the pun there), chords that you are holding on the neck are a much more static thing.  You will generally play several notes in a row holding the same chord.  You don't need as much fine motor control for this activity.  I am not saying that expert guitarist don't use intricate finger-work on the fret board, but that is a more advanced concept that comes after mastering plucking the correct strings.

But in Guitar Hero, almost all of the action happens up on the fret board.  You have 5 buttons that you press to correspond what is happening on the screen.  Instead of 6 strings to pluck, you have a "strum bar", which you could probably manipulate just as well with a pirate hook for a hand.  Not that strumming correctly doesn't require some degree of accuracy, it's just that pressing the buttons correctly requires more.

Now I'm sure that most of you who might care about this are too far committed to consider making the switch.  And you will immediately be struck  with the main reasons that I initially tried swapping hands.  That is, it is a huge inconvenience to have to be constantly changing the handedness of the guitar, and the guitar is designed like a right-handed one, and the whammy bar and start/select buttons are in the way.  But maybe, just maybe, it will give you the edge you need to beat Slayer's "Reign of Blood" on expert.