It's about the time of year in which I could really use a little recess. How about you?
The other day, during my semi-regular interweb check of what is out there in the piano world, I typed the word "piano" into my search box. I was going to type "piano blog" but the helpful suggestor had various ideas, the first of which was "piano games" and I thought, What The Heck, and clicked on it.
The first site was a place called pianogames.org which features several fun little games to play. Not too surprisingly, they are heavy on the game aspect and light on the actually having anything to do with music aspect. In other words, you don't really need to know anything and you aren't going to learn. But I have observed that very same observation previously on a very old page on pianonoise in which I had linked to some musical games from various places. One of those places was a website belonging to a French fellow who had created some cool video games which, however, do actually require some musical knowledge of the beginner variety: one game that involves reading notes on a staff and another that involves rhythmic recognition. Both have things like falling bombs, limited numbers of lives, scoring, and, of course, shooting things, so they are the perfect marriage of video game and music education. These were not.
I had some fun playing the game in which you try to avoid pianos being dropped on you. That has to be a seriously expensive game. Even a used grand piano usually costs around $10,000. I must have gone through a million dollars worth of pianos, and I only played for a few minutes. I didn't last more than about 5 seconds on their "difficult" level. I better hope I'm never in a situation like that in real life.
Some of the others were not really what you'd call 'games.' The one that said you could "play some classical music to impress your friends" (why else would anyone want to bother with classical music?) was simply a piano keyboard on which you could click on notes and play melodies, or whatever vaguely melodic thing you had in mind. The keyboard consists of alternating white and black keys so recognizing actual note positions on an actual piano does no good. It's kind of like an actual guitarist trying to play guitar hero--forget what you know and just hit things.
There was another game that promised you could become an "instant virtuoso" which consisted of boxes that could be turned on and off. Once turned on, they each would play for about a 16th note's duration in allegro as the game repeatedly wrapped around the set of boxes, playing them again and again as you turned them on or off. Turning them mostly on and then mostly off made for some nice dynamic variation. It was another game where the musical work was done for you and in which it is nearly impossible not to create cool rhythms totally by accident. (These games always avoid anything resembling real musical notation.)
Another game that I did not play said that you could became "a musical artist in an instant." Oddly enough that didn't appeal to me because I already am one. My only concern is I will have to share with all the people playing that game, and life is competitive enough. Oh, well. There is another game in which I could "win the heart of a girl by playing the piano in a romantic way." I'll have to give that one a try. After all, our tenth wedding anniversary is coming up.