September 1, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
72°F
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‘Guitar Hero III’: No amp required to rock

ELYRIA – Cory Landis has everything he needs to become a guitar hero.

BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE
Markus Younkin, 18, of Lorain, takes his shot at the “Guitar Hero III” tournament at Lorain County Community College on Friday as Cory Landis of New London waits to play.

The 19-year-old from New London sports long, rock-star style hair – with the requisite navy blue bandanna keeping it away from his eyes – and the finger velocity to make any fan of video game “Guitar Hero III” wince.

“You just have to sort of zone out and rock,” he said. “I played for four hours the other night. I`m pretty decent.”

So on Friday, Landis decided to put all that practice to the test – joining other Lorain County Community College students who took on the popular video game, which uses a guitar-shaped controller and color-coded buttons to play out the notes of popular rock songs, during a “Guitar Hero III” tournament hosted by the college`s Anime Society.

The game includes rock classics from artists such as Santana to current favorites such as the Killers. It has sold more than 1.4 million copies since its release in late October. It`s also the only video game to make it on the Toys “R” Us Hot Toy List this year.

Joe Yagielo, 23, of North Ridgeville, events coordinator for the Anime Society, said using a popular video game to drum up interest for the society was easier than they thought.

“We put the ‘Guitar Hero` banner up, and we just started getting e-mails,” he said. “The turnout has been great. It`s the popularity of the game. It`s just unbelievable.”

More than 30 people stopped by the college`s Student Center during the two-hour event.

Yagielo and 22-year-old Brandon Hayes, a fellow Anime Society member from Oberlin, called out to passers-by who couldn`t help but to turn and look to see what everybody else was watching.

“You guys want to play? Just sign up,” Hayes said. “It`s free. You win prizes. There`s nothing to lose.”

Following a successful 300-note streak jamming out to Weezer`s “My Name is Jonas,” Jill Monda, known by those watching as the “silent assassin,” hammered out one of the highest scores on the expert level.

The 17-year-old from Avon said the secret to making it in the “Guitar Hero” world comes down to learning how to hammer-on – a technique that allows a player to hit more notes with less work.

The fact that she was one of the only women to land on the top of the high scores meant nothing, she said.

“I usually go over my friend`s house to play,” Monda said. “It`s all we do. I beat him every time.”

No matter who wins, the Anime Society members said, the headphones and MP3 players given away as prizes were well worth the many names and e-mails they collected.

Ben Mattin, 18, of Lorain, said he had no problem taking the bait.

“I`ve known about their group, but I`ve never been to one of their meetings,” he said. “If I can hang out and play this game, I might even join.”

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.