Drennan shows off mad Guitar Hero skills

April 3, 2008 — by

Sophomore Eric Gast arrived at school on Monday, Oct. 29th, with bandages wrapped around the blisters on his left hand. These blisters came from his most intense workout yet: playing 12 consecutive hours of the popular video game Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero is by far the most popular rhythmic game in the gaming industry, allowing players to rock it out in a battle of extreme finger dexterity. Armed with a plastic guitar, players strum and fret simultaneously to hit notes on the onscreen fret board.

“I beat the whole game in one day,” said Gast. “I’ve never played that many hours in a row before, so I ended up getting blisters.”

Gast, a passionate Guitar Hero fanatic, bought the latest addition to the franchise at seven in the morning and played late into the evening to complete the tracks.

He first learned about the game nearly a year ago when friends started to talk about it at school. It sounded interesting, so he went out and bought Guitar Hero II for his birthday last February. Now it’s nearly impossible for him to put it down. He shreds four to five days a week for about three hours at a time.

Gast submits his high scores to an online Guitar Hero community, along with videos as proof of his expertise. The online ranking system places him in the Top 50 Guitar Hero players in the world, making Gast fair game for any challenger.

He has attended several Guitar Hero tournaments so far at local gamer venues such as Gamestop and Gamecrazy.

“I’ve gone to Gamestop to play and some people saw me playing and invited me to a tournament,” said Gast. “So far I’ve attended two tournaments in Los Gatos and San Jose.”

He won guitar accessories such as faceplates and Guitar Hero T-Shirts, which he proudly wears to school nearly every day. Guitar Hero tournaments are still mostly underground, but Gast hopes that more will begin to rise out of their sporadic states.

“It’s not an actual league or anything,” said Gast, “but I’ve been looking out for some in the area.”

Keeping his hands in as prime shape has been a key to Gast’s success. He stretches his fingers and warms up before playing to avoid joint problems.

“I also use stress balls or resistance exercises to strengthen my fingers,” said Gast.

Gast said his key to success is getting comfortable with hammer-on’s and pull-off’s, which includes being able to hit a series of closely spaced notes at a rapid pace.

“If you’re trying to strum every note you won’t be able to beat the harder songs,” said Gast.
Gast hopes to continue to improve his skills until he can claim to be the greatest Guitar Hero player in the world.

Originally published in the Feb. 1 issue

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