For those about to rock: a message by G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton is, by far, my favorite thinker. He is also one of the most underrated thinkers in history, in my humble opinion. I am currently reading his marvelous “Tremendous Trifles”, which you can access for free online, and his fourth story, called “The Perfect Game”, drew some special attention from me.

Some time ago I was talking with a few people, and they said they’d never play Rock Band or Guitar Hero games because they were just too difficult and they’d never be able to play them. When asked if they thought the games were cool, they always replied that yes, they were incredibly awesome, but unfortunately they didn’t have the skill for them.

I always get a little frustrated when people quit music games while still on Easy. And I get frustrated, not because I think they suck, or they should try harder, but because I love the games so much that I want everyone to share my enthusiasm.

I think the words of G. K. Chesterton might help the wannabe rockers who just need a little push to start their fake musical careers. In the story, Chesterton is talking to his friend, Parkinson, while playing croquet, about the uselessness of skill. I hope you enjoy the read!

“how far you really are from the pure love of the sport—you who can play. It is only we who play badly who love the Game itself. You love glory; you love applause; you love the earthquake voice of victory; you do not love croquet. You do not love croquet until you love being beaten at croquet. It is we the bunglers who adore the occupation in the abstract. It is we to whom it is art for art’s sake. If we may see the face of Croquet herself (if I may so express myself) we are content to see her face turned upon us in anger. Our play is called amateurish; and we wear proudly the name of amateur, for amateurs is but the French for Lovers. We accept all adventures from our Lady, the most disastrous or the most dreary. We wait outside her iron gates (I allude to the hoops), vainly essaying to enter. Our devoted balls, impetuous and full of chivalry, will not be confined within the pedantic boundaries of the mere croquet ground. Our balls seek honour in the ends of the earth; they turn up in the flower-beds and the conservatory; they are to be found in the front garden and the next street. No, Parkinson! The good painter has skill. It is the bad painter who loves his art. The good musician loves being a musician, the bad musician loves music. With such a pure and hopeless passion do I worship croquet. I love the game itself. I love the parallelogram of grass marked out with chalk or tape, as if its limits were the frontiers of my sacred Fatherland, the four seas of Britain. I love the mere swing of the mallets, and the click of the balls is music. The four colours are to me sacramental and symbolic, like the red of martyrdom, or the white of Easter Day. You lose all this, my poor Parkinson. You have to solace yourself for the absence of this vision by the paltry consolation of being able to go through hoops and to hit the stick.”

I can’t help but think that if Mr. Chesterton was still alive today, and enjoyed playing Guitar Hero, he wouldn’t be bothered if he never left Medium at all. And neither should anyone. The fun of the game is on the game itself, not on being able to FC all the songs.

Edit: and by the way, this is the reason why I, so passionately, write in this blog about the details most people don’t even think about in music simulation games. It’s because I love even the tiny details. I can’t FC songs on the “Challenging” tier, but boy, do I love the game.

Leave the FC videos to the pros. We, the true fans of the genre, will carry on having fun with all the little magical attributes of the games.


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