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Guitar Hero Night at LBIF Rocks Out!

Last night, August 21 2009, I hosted an awesome Guitar Hero competition at the Long Beach Island Foundation. Not only did I have a fantastic time, but so did about 50 kids between the ages of 8 and 15. Many, many parents came up to me afterwards to say that this was a great, fun event and we should run more of them. Everyone was also very impressed with Activision's generosity as a corporate sponsor.

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The event itself got off to a roaring start at 8pm when several vans full of little tan kids pulled up. We had 4 stations set up around the room. Three were for practice and one was for competition. Of the three for practice, one was Guitar Hero World Tour, one was Guitar Hero Metallica, and one was Guitar Hero Smash Hits. Then, we did the greatest thing ever, which was to set up some small amps and a projector which gave the appearance that the Guitar Hero band was up on the stage.

Some of the kids had come as entire bands, but others came as singles or doubles. We had everyone rotate around and make new friends.

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At the end, we ran a single elimination tournament where each band got to pick their own song and play up on the stage. We compared points and the top 3 bands won the game of their choice. There were two bands that totally rocked, especially the last one with some kid who must be the next Jimi Hendrix and nailed every note on expert. The most popular songs were "Livin' on a Prayer", "Eye of the Tiger", and "Beat It".

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As we were cleaning up after the event (you know that it's a good event when you have to ask the kids to leave because they want to keep playing), we decided that we should do this more often. We can actually do this regularly now that I own 4 Xbox's (I had to buy them when Microsoft dropped out as a sponsor, more on that later). The parents and the kids loved it. It was good clean fun. Kids met new kids, parents met new parents, and I loved it because it was a video game that brought us all together.

I owe Activision a debt of gratitude - they really came through for us. They provided twice as many full Guitar Hero World Tour kits than we asked for and a box literally filled with games for us to give out as prizes. This is in stark contrast to Microsoft and MTV. MTV promised that they would donate Rock Band kits and then at the last minute told me that they couldn't afford it. Microsoft was much worse. After agreeing to help me in March, they then strung me along for a few weeks in August and then just flat out stopped answering me. I can understand not putting their money where their mouths are, but to avoid giving me a definitive answer not only did a disservice to the children but threatened to ruin the entire event. It seems to me that Activision has a better attitude about helping out communities. Either way, there are about 20 families on LBI who had a great time on Friday night.

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