Leo’s Den was the site of a rock concert like no other as students participated in the ultimate game to see who was the best at “Guitar Hero.”
The Campus Activities Board sponsored the event and snacks were provided to keep audience members occupied until the start of the competition.
“It was a good turnout,” Claire Bodenhoefer, CAB’s games and recreation/spirit chair said. “I wish there were more girls.”
Before the start, participants and audience members got a chance to practice before show time to perfect any last minute concerns.
The competition began with the intermediate players.
Annie Parker, the only woman participant in the competition, faced off against Chris Beltran to ZZ Top’s “La Grange.”
Parker proved to be the victor at the end, and Beltran was the first person to be eliminated in the competition.
In the next round, Michael Fausto and Mario Pamplona squared off to “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse.
Fausto said this is the first time he played.
“It was fun. Nerve-wracking, but fun,” Fausto, a junior music major, said.
The championship round was next as Pamplona and Parker got down to Metallica’s “One.”
At the end of the song, Pamplona was crowned the winner of the intermediate competition.
Pamplona was excited to be the last guitarist standing.
“I feel like a guitar hero,” senior history major Pamplona said. “It was really cool.”
After Pamplona’s victory, it was time for the headline acts to grace the stage as the advanced and expert players competed.
The first matchup pitted Chris Kaelberer and Mike Shater.
The two competed to “Through The Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce.
Shater was so involved in the song that his guitar flew out of the system.
The game went on pause for a few moments, then resumed. Shater eventually won the round.
The next match-up was between Tyler Cantu and Benjamin Balderrama to the song “Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson.
Balderrama won the round with ease.
Joe Padilla and Kyle Quintero were the last participants in the first round of play. Quintero and Padilla competed to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘N’ Roses.
The game started off evenly, with Quintero winning marginally by a couple of points.
But Quintero broke free to take the lead after Padilla said his guitar was not working.
People in the audience questioned Padilla’s motives and ask that Quintero play his side. Sure enough, Quintero played his guitar and missed no notes.
Both players agreed to start the song over and Quintero advanced past Padilla to the championship rounds.
“I’m not taking anything away from the other guy, he was good. I still feel I’m the best ‘hero’ here,” Padilla said.
“I came here to see both of them (Padilla and Cantu) win and none of them won,” freshman Chad Norys said.
The final rounds of the game left three people standing. Balderrama faced Mike Shater first and won to the song “Running Blood” by Slayer. The next round saw Shater bounce back to defeat Quintero to the song “Can’t Be Saved” by Senses Fail.
Unfortunately, the two were not able to defeat Balderrama as he ended the night as the “Hero” of the event.
“It feels pretty good,” Balderrama said. “I was just expecting a great time. I didn’t know I would win.”
He wound up taking home a Best Buy gift card.
“Guitar Hero,” developed by Harmonix Music Systems, is a game that uses a guitar as the control pad as players must punch in the correct button at the correct time in the song, similar to the dance movements of “Dance Dance Revolution.”
“‘Guitar Hero’ got me hooked on playing a real guitar,” Padilla said. “In the summer, I played every day for two hours.”
“We have been practicing for the last month,” Balderrama said.
Many of the participants were familiar with the system but not the version that was played.
While the game guitar is fictional, some players know how to play a real guitar. Some felt the game was accurate in its portrayal of guitar movements. Others felt the game could be deceiving.
“I guess if you play you have some sort of edge, but it’s anyone’s game,” Balderrama said.
“If you play guitar, you can see how it’s almost like playing guitar,” Fausto said.
Nevertheless, the participants would love to play in another competition.
“Next time I’ll bring my own guitar,” Padilla said.
“I need a little bit more practice on medium,” Pamplona said.
Balderrama also said he will compete again to uphold his title as the ‘Guitar Hero’ if he can find someone that can beat him.
Jonathan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.