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Most music games ask if you’re ready to rock, but only one rhythm game is asking a slightly different question: Are you ready to blow? Why, yes! Yes, we are, actually, thanks to brass-puffing pro Courtney Sexton and his Trumpet Hero creation; Sexton rigged up an ordinary trumpet to work with Guitar Hero, meaning you can now play your favorite guitar parts with a, uh, trumpet. ‘Bout frickin’ time is right! That’s why we contacted him to find out why his game blows…in a good way.


Bitmob: So what made you decide to turn a trumpet into a game-playing hero?

Courtney Sexton: Well, I had a trumpet laying around. Then one day I saw a Guitar Hero controller for really cheap, so I picked that up with the intention of doing something weird with it. And later thought it might be cool to mix the two together.

Bitmob: You don’t hate guitars, do you?

CS: No. I’m actually not a guitar player.

Bitmob: So you don’t have any beef with guitars?

CS: No, no. I’m actually more familiar with brass instruments.

Bitmob: OK, just checking.

CS: [Laughs]

Bitmob: Playing Guitar Hero on expert kills our digits. We can’t even imagine huffing and puffing our way through that DragonForce ditty. Should asthmatics refrain from playing Trumpet Hero on the hardest difficulty?

CS: Yeah, they might. I haven’t gotten good enough at it to pass the easy level. And I think I may have gone through a medium song once. Part of that is, it’s a little more difficult — the reaction time might be a little delayed. Plus, you’ll need to play the orange and blue buttons on the higher levels with your left hand. So the coordination is a little bit different, I think.

Aside from that, yeah, the wind — I was happy to see that when I showed it the other day some people could make it through the songs who weren’t brass players. There were some horn players who played it and were really good at it. So I think there’s a little bit of an endurance level that you get from playing a real instrument.

But you don’t exactly play it the same way that you would a brass instrument — there’s no bending of the lips. You just blow the air straight through.

Bitmob: Rock Band is fun to play, but really, really annoying to listen to. Especially if you’re a neighbor. On an annoyance scale of 1 to call-the-cops, how bad is Trumpet Hero?

CS: [Laughs] Well, it’s the same thing — it’s playing the same Guitar Hero game. There’s no noise involved other than the clicking of the valves.

Bitmob: So there’s no BUR-BOW! BUR-BOW! BUR-BOW!?

CS: No. There’s no sound. Other than the game itself.

Bitmob: Phew. So, “Stairway to Heaven” is an iconic guitar tune that most fans want to see in either Guitar Hero or Rock Band. What’s the trumpet equivalent? It better not be that stupid Kentucky Derby intro.

CS: Oh, I know that one right away. There’s a song called “Open Wide” from the band Chase. It’s just a screeching, super fast trumpet jam rock song.

Bitmob: What’s your favorite song to blow on your trumpet?

CS: Well, I’m in a band here in San Francisco — the Extra Action Marching Band. And we’re a 26 piece brass and drum band. Not very traditional, more punk rock than you’d think. So I play a lot with them, but I play a different horn called the baritone.

But we play some Black Sabbath — that’s a lot of fun. Most of the stuff I play with them I really like.

Bitmob: What’s your favorite song in the game?

CS: I like playing the Primus song “John the Fisherman.” That’s a fun song to play on the trumpet.

Bitmob: Are you secretly developing Marching Band Hero?

CS: [Laughs] Maybe.

Bitmob: OK, Trumpet Hero is pretty cool, but we have a special request: Triangle Hero. Think you can whip that up for us?

CS: [Laughs] Hmm. Maybe. You’d have to have some circuitry built into a triangle to activate the right buttons when you hit it in a certain place.

Bitmob: Yeah, you can do that, right? Hell, you made a controller out of a trumpet. What’s so hard about putting some circuits in a triangle? Come on!

CS: [Laughs] That’d work out pretty good.

Bitmob: Alright! We expect that in a week.

CS: [Laughs] And a cow bell. Gotta have more cow bell.

Bitmob: This is true! Maybe it can be co-op: One person does the triangle, the other person does the cowbell.

CS: Sounds good.



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