Keyboard Hero

TheMurph

As a PC enthusiast, I've always been quite saddened to watch my console brethren get all twitchy-finger and stompy-foot on their respective addictions of choice, Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution . Sure, your average game of Command and Conquer is pretty akin to their button-mashing, but deep down, it's just not the same. I want to rock, damnit, and computer keyboards just weren't made for music.

Until now.

In researching our " best games to waste time with at your work day" feature for the June issue, I reached an epiphany of sorts. As we were tasked with looking for the best browser-based games, I couldn't include my findings in the feature. But it would be shameful of me to not mention them somewhere, as I feel like a total n-e-w-b for not noticing them for so long.

Frets on Fire
Left Rock Hand:
It's a Guitar Hero clone, specifically designed for PC-based rockage. Bind your keys however you'd like, and strum away; it's the closest you'll get to "Stairway to Heaven" without plunking down $infinity for an XBox / PS3.

Right Rock Hand: The game is fairly lightweight, so it won't kill your system. And it apparently has yet to be given that ol' C&D by a certain major developer, so you can actually find a good amount of support / updates.

Too Much Rock for One Hand: Frets on Fire not only lets you import all the songs from GH1 and GH2, but you can create your own jams. Be sure to check out the two big community forums -- Keyboards on Fire and fretsonfire.net . Odds are good that someone, somewhere, has created a version of your favorite song... unless you, too, love nine inch nails. Slim pickings there...

StepMania
Left Finger:
This game looks suspiciously like a port of DDR that uses your fingers instead of your feet because, well, that's what it is. Although you might not get as much of a workout, you'll definitely frighten your coworkers with all that knuckle -cracking.

Right Finger: As you might expect, there are a ton of songfiles / dance mixes / less-than-legal-DDR-rips floating around on the 'net. We recommend a hearty Google search, which will surely take you to whatever destination can best serve you said files. Yeaaaah.

That V-for-Victory-Sign Thing: If you're truly 1337, you can use a Playstaion-to-USB converter to actually use dance pads with StepMania. Although we're pretty confident that if you're trying to tap-dance to, say, One Winged Angel ... you're going to die. Seriously, don't mess with Sephiroth .

The Challenge!

Download Frets on Fire, register for fretsonfire.net, and go find Panic!!!!! at the Disco's " Arms Race " song. Play it through once, and just try to beat my score. Now don't go back and replay it 30 times and get a perfect. We're doing this sniper-style; one shot, one kill. Or one try, I should say. Your first try. Beat me, and I'll totally blog about it to the envy of all your peers.

I blame a bit o' keyboard lag for this fine rendition:

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