I’m a big believer in Rock Band‘s ability to get “non-gamers” to play; there’s just something about holding an instrument that lures people in, and the expansive soundtrack means there’s something for everybody. Case in point: my girlfriend had never played the game before we started dating. Her best friend (who does play) actually laughed at me when I said I was going to get her into it; seven months later, she’s gone through Easy and Medium on guitar and is learning to play on Hard. I’ve even let her pick a few songs to download.
Of course, the fact that I spend way too much time playing the game probably helped; one of those “I’ll spend time doing this because he’s into it” scenarios, y’know? This is actually where the biggest problem I’ve had stems from: I felt very conscious of how good I am when we played side by side. Here I am, shredding away on Expert, and she’s plucking a few bass notes out right next to me. The problem is twofold: (1) I worry she’s going to be discouraged by watching something so difficult, and (2) I’m especially worried I sound condescending when I say things like, “Great job!” or “You did really well!” I’m sure I’d feel the same way if Dave Mustaine complimented my Rock Band skills, then proceeded to play his actual song on guitar without missing a note.
[[image: ar_101508_rockgirlfriend_01.jpg:Girls totally dig my singing.:center:0]]
Part of me suspects that this is the actual key to the Wii’s success: by making the thing so accessible, it effectively evened the playing field between “gamers” and their families. No prior experience is needed, and unlike Rock Band, the gap in skill in, say, Wii Sports can never be too great. With both the Wii raising the mass populace’s interest in games and those of us raised on gaming getting older and going out into the world to play with other people, though, I have a feeling this issue is going to crop up a lot. The good news is that, should you take advantage of this opportunity and avoid scaring people off, it’s pretty great to have more people interested in playing games you like with you.
Just try to be nice.