My family knows me pretty well.  This is why I’ve wound up with Guitar Hero World Tour as a graduation present.  I played it a fair amount in school, as we had it in our house, but never with the drumset until now.  And it’s gotten me thinking; I’m pretty sure this game could actually make you better at the drums.  I’m not saying it’ll replace lessons or owning a real kit, but as an introduction to the principles behind drumming, this is much closer to actually playing an instrument than its guitar counterparts.

The drum parts seem to be pretty well transcribed, too.  The fills the game has you play on Hard and Expert are generally what the original artist did, and playing these fills and odd patterns actually causes you to examine nuances you had never noticed in classic songs.  The physical layout of the kit is decent, and they’ve programmed the parts to mimic the actual placement within a real set: hihat on the left, snare right under that, causing you to cross over.

What really intrigued me was the MIDI-in port on the back.  Apparently, Guitar Hero will accept any V-Drum kit with a MIDI output (as long as the note assignments line up).  This means that you could hook up a less toyish kit, and actually get some real practice going.  Taking it one step further, you could use the sounds from your kit’s brain instead of the in-game samples, and feel/sound like you’re really playing the music, while the game grades you.

I’m probably the 400th person to make these observations, but it’s still really cool.  I’ve wanted to get better at drums for a while now, but I don’t own a set, and can’t justify buying one for what would essentially be playing around.  So for people like me, or kids experimenting with instruments for the first time, this is a decent introduction to one of them.