PA’s Very Own Guitar Hero

Whoever said gaming couldn’t bring home any money was clearly mistaken. Perhaps the most embarrassing evening events ever held at Phillips Academy, the Guitar Hero competition, packed the Den with heat, intensity and a great loss of pride for some of its competitors. Filled with rock n’ roll, hard metal and intense plastic guitar playing, the event reminded everyone that we have some extraordinary gamers on our campus. Soon after the competition began, captivated audience members bringing some hardcore, color-coordinated plastic guitar licks filled the Den. After hours of finger-breaking fun, Krishnan Chandra ’10 came out on top. “[I don’t play] much at all. I play real guitar, not much plastic guitar,” Chandra said after the exhausting competition. The first round began with each contestant facing an opponent on the game’s medium-level difficulty. With only one female contestant, testosterone dominated the room, and each plastic guitar gleamed with the oil and sweat of participant’s busy hands. Each player’s eyes burned with fervor and determination as a $25 iTunes gift card awaited the first place winner. Five minutes into the competition, a Guitar Hero-hierarchy quickly formed. The skilled players were the highest on the ladder and quickly became clear audience favorites. The audience tolerated decent players, but for those crawling at the bottom of the ladder, there was no mercy. Rather, each mistake they made was followed by the crowd’s disappointing sighs, verbal abuse and blatant dislike. The top of the ladder included: Cam Pierson ’11, Corey Angers ’11, Scott Sanderson ’09, Chandra ’10 and Jay Dolan ’11, defending champion of the Guitar Hero competition. For these talented individuals, missing a single note on the medium level was considered shameful. “All of the players are so, so very committed! I’m starting to wonder what they do in their free time,” said Nneka Anunkor ’11. Peter Bang ’11 sarcastically said after a disappointing loss against Johnny Carmona ’09 during the second round, “I can’t believe I lost in Guitar Hero. Oh, my God. I don’t know what to do anymore.” After the second round and semi-finals, the finalists were Sanderson, Chandra and Pierson. The heat was on. The three played “Through the Fire and Flames” by DragonForce on expert level difficulty, a task notoriously known as the most difficult in Guitar Hero. All three screens filled up with notes and colors streaming down the screen. No contestant dared to blink even for a second. Their fingers maniacally hit the notes on the plastic guitars, and their anxious hearts pumped surges of adrenaline. Yellow-red-green sparks flooded every screen. “Those three are the best Guitar Hero players I’ve ever seen!” screamed Dan Aronov ’11. Many onlookers were simply dumbfounded, while some were screaming at the top of their lungs. Chandra conquered the song and claimed the victory after a long, strenuous battle. His score was at least 100,000 points higher than the other competitors. Sanderson took second place after defeating Pierson by less than 500. Chandra said, “And I’d like to thank my friends for dragging me here. Otherwise, I would have been doing schoolwork.” All the sweat and tears were not sacrificed merely in the name of pointless gaming, either. Abi Pollokoff ’09, who administered and organized the evening, said that the Guitar Hero tournament was proposed in order to promote Modern Music Production Club, in addition to aiding a meaningful cause. Profits will go to the Mark Sandman project, a charity in honor of the lead singer of a band who died on stage from a heart attack.