I know that, in the beginning, the idea of DJ Hero appealed to me. As a fan of house and related genres—Renaissance The Master Series Part 13, mixed by Hernán Cattáneo, just hit the Internet—I was looking forward to playing the role of a big haired animated DJ. But then I realized: what a minute, actually DJing isn’t that hard at all! Why bother playing a DJ video game when you can actually DJ?
It’s a similar argument to the one often used to belittle Guitar Hero: why bother playing on a plastic guitar when you can learn to play the guitar for real? Well, hot shot, because playing the guitar is hard; playing the guitar competently is harder still! But DJing? With technology today, it’s never been easier to pretend your Carl Cox or Jojo Flores.
Here’s what you need to be a DJ in 2009: a MacBook, preferably one with a lot of stickers on it; a pair of over-the-ear headphones (as much as for looks as it is an actual tool); some sort of mixing software that you can pirate in five second, like M-Audio’s Torq or Traktor; and, if you want to impress your friends, a mixing device, like this cheap one from M-Audio. Bam! You’re a DJ.
Of course, having this type of low budget setup won’t get you onto the cover of BPM Magazine, otherwise every guy named Joey or Nicky or Tony from Bergan County would be interviewed. But the fact is, DJing—beat matching, blending songs, etc.—really isn’t that hard to do. Yeah, there’s a skill (again, otherwise our friends from Bergen County would all be superstars) to it, but it’s awfully easy to trick your friends into thinking you actually have a talent. I say this having created plenty of “sets” in Torq and Traktor over the past two years.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the barrier to entry to becoming a DJ is a lot less than it is to becoming a competent guitar player—there’s less of a “need” for DJ Hero than Guitar Hero. Will the game still be fun? Sure, probably. But I think you’d have just as much fun, if not more, actually DJing, even with a hastily put together, low budget setup.