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Isn't this a great write-up on Guitar Hero & WSVG?



Area teen rocks ‘Guitar Hero’

              (Created: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 11:38 PM CDT)
Jesse Dalton, 15, an Allen ISD junior and baseball pitcher, never thought his hobby of playing video games would put him on stage in a World Series competition.

Dalton didn’t plan to compete. He heard about a two-day qualifying event in Dallas on the radio June 28. He went that day, and out of about 50 contestants, he won, receiving $175 and automatic placement in the second-annual World Series of Video Games (WSVG).

The World Series took place at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine July 5-8. This year’s series began May in China and continued June in Louisville, Ky.

He said he entered the competition for the money and for “bragging rights at school.”

It was Dalton’s first time on stage and he was nervous.

“Everything changes when you get on stage,” Dalton said. “You can’t really practice for that.”

The top four Guitar Hero finalists from Louisville, the first 20 contestants to register online, Dalton and seven people chosen from an open audition Thursday at the Gaylord made up 32 participants for Friday's competition.

Dalton survived elimination Friday and moved on to compete Saturday as one of the top 16 contestants.

The Gaylord Convention Center was transformed into a dark, adult arcade. Assorted lights, designs and colors flashed across the walls and concrete floors and ceilings. Various music and broadcasts aired throughout the room.

Computers lined the walls and teams competed in games.

Hundreds of people — mostly males, teen and adult — viewed flat-screen TVs or one of four spectator sports.

An elevated boxing ring with an announcer contained two TVs with hand controls. Observers watched from metal bleachers as two “gamers” played “Fight Night Round 3.” Fans watched intently, shouted and clapped.
              Similar reactions came from the “Quake 4” and “World of War Craft” areas.

About 200 people crowded around a stage in the back anticipating the Guitar Hero event.

This is the first year the series included a Guitar Hero competition.

Matt Ringel, of New York, created the WSVG.

“Watching people at the top of their game is very satisfying to the audience,” Ringel said.

He said he wanted to make video games a “spectator sport.” Ringel said he doesn’t use the word “gamers” anymore because different types of people enjoy playing games, different ethnicities and ages. He said adults enjoy games too because they played them as children.

“Guitar Hero 2” is a video game with a miniature guitar. Various colors appear quickly on a TV monitor and players press corresponding buttons on the guitar. Pushing the right key at the correct time creates music.

Game scores are based on the number of notes played.

In addition to the game, three judges gave scores for stage presence, like the TV show American Idol. Sal "Sluggo" Accardo, Senior Editor of PC GameSpy and video game musician Tommy Tallarico helped judge the top 16. Motley Crue's Vince Neil later judged the final eight.

Some participants memorized the songs. Without watching the monitor, some jumped off the stage and played amongst the crowd. Other contenders played the guitar behind their heads and backs, between their legs and with their toes and teeth.

Contestants choose one of 50 songs from the 1970s to present.

Each competitor vied for the judge’s attention. Several contenders wore rock ‘n’ roll costumes.

Some had sponsors and managers and promoted products during their presentation.

Residents from Dalton’s neighborhood and his family accompanied him for support.

Dalton was third to play. The second performer played Dalton’s song, and not wanting to perform the same song back-to-back, Dalton changed music just before taking the stage.

The announcer called Dalton the “local Guitar Hero” because he won the Dallas competition. Participants came from all around the nation.

Dalton performed “Beast in the Harlot.”

People in the audience rocked their heads and bodies to the beat and raised their hands.

“It’s hard with everyone watching you,” Dalton said. “I wasn’t expecting this many people.”

He said it was a good experience and he played “just for fun.”

Dalton didn’t proceed to the top eight.

“They are good,” Dalton said about his opponents. “Video games have moved a long way.”

Judge Tallarico said Dalton chose a difficult song.

“It’s one of the hardest songs in the game,” Tallarico said. “So I got to give him props for that.”

Dalton received his Guitar Hero for his birthday last year and became “addicted,” he said. He plays about 30 minutes a day, but recently more for practice.

“At first I didn’t like it,” said Dalton’s mother, Jeanette, about the video game. “It’s nice because it keeps them out of trouble, and I know where they are.”

She said her son and his friends stay up late hours at home playing.

“They are learning our songs, the songs we like,” Jeanette Dalton said. “It’s bringing back the old rock and their appreciating it.”

Dalton’s dad, Rob, has played the game himself. He said he likes Guitar Hero because it includes musical groups such as Queen and The Who.

“He is a quiet hero,” Rob Dalton. “He’s good.”

Rob Dalton said his left handed son has good eye-hand coordination, helping him in the competition and in baseball as well.

Dalton doesn’t plan to pursue a career with his guitar, but he will keep playing, he said.

The next WSVG is in Los Angeles and later this year in Sweden.


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