Teen drops out of school for Guitar Hero

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Teen drops out of school for Guitar Hero

Post by hezrock on Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:29 pm



'Guitar Hero' whiz aiming higher

By Matt Ehlers, Staff Writer
http://www.newsobserver.com/2766/story/1155589.html


STAFF PHOTO BY COREY LOWENSTEIN

It's a small plastic thing, resembling a guitar in basic appearance only.
But Blake Peebles brings energy to the room when he slides the strap over his skinny shoulder and steps atop the wooden box that serves as a stage.

As the music begins, Blake quickly presses buttons on the guitar in time to a speed-metal tune blasting from the giant TV. It is an odd sensation, to watch a young man control the sounds of a rock song with a toy instrument, but this is "Guitar Hero," one of the most popular video game franchises in recent memory. Blake is one of the better players in the country.
Other than his fingers, Blake barely moves while playing. His feet are set in place and his eyes are locked on the screen as he peers through a mop of curly brown hair. Gaming for him is serious business. It's his job.

Among the prizes he's won playing "Guitar Hero" tournaments: gift certificates, gaming equipment and chicken sandwiches.

Blake is 16, resides in North Raleigh and lives to play video games. On this night, he's at the Fox and Hound in Raleigh's North Hills shopping district. It's the restaurant's regular Sunday "Guitar Hero" night, and Blake and his family have come to watch and play. His brother and sister are here, as are his mom and dad, an aunt and an uncle, some cousins and some friends.
But in the end, it's not the people related to Blake who confirm his plastic-guitar prowess. It's the group of 20-somethings sitting at a nearby table, who applaud when Blake finishes playing along to "Through the Fire and Flames," viewed as the game's toughest song.
"It's pretty sick," says Andrew Gambling, 27, who describes himself as a casual player. "He's talented."

Blake is appreciative of the applause and grins shyly when it is mentioned to him. But he's not very happy with his score.

"That's probably the worst I've ever done," he says, which seems impossible. The game moves at warp speed, so Blake's fingers do too.

This is not a competitive environment, so the score hardly matters. But his attitude about it underscores some Peebles family truisms: Blake is so dedicated to gaming that his parents let him quit school so he can better concentrate on it.

They pay for home tutors instead. Mom and Dad do this, even though there are very few people in this country who make their living playing competitive video games.

Blake very much would like to be one of them, but a boy cannot live on chicken sandwiches alone.

Leaving school
Blake is the middle child of Mike and Hunter Peebles. Tucker is 18, an honor-roll student who plays football for North Raleigh Christian Academy. Caramy is 13, a dancer with a congenital disorder that causes developmental disabilities.

Mike and Hunter do not believe in one-size-fits-all parenting.

That is not to say that it was an easy decision for them to let Blake leave school last September. They would have preferred that he stay in high school with his brother. But he bugged them until they let him quit.

"We couldn't take the complaining anymore," says Hunter. "He always told me that he thought school was a waste of time."

Blake never gravitated toward sports or drama or any of the other traditional school-based activities. Just gaming.

So they made a deal. Blake could leave school but would have to be tutored at home. In one respect, the arrangement is similar to what parents of gifted child athletes and actors have done for years.

In another, those careers can bring big money. Competitive gaming is still growing. Major League Gaming, one of the field's top sanctioning bodies, holds tournaments in cities across the country.
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Re: Teen drops out of school for Guitar Hero

Post by hezrock on Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:35 pm

Ayos noh? Pinayagan siya ng parents niya na magdrop out na lang sa school para gawin niyang career ang paglalaro ng Guitar Hero.
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