Plastic guitars and video cards at SXSW

I just got back from the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX, this week. As with CES 2008, the big gimmick for attracting visitors to your booth was Guitar Hero III. I saw at least four booths with GHIII running and, being a nut about Rock Band and Guitar Hero (as Tigger Two documented in this photo), I did some rocking in my spare time.

Me and Freddie

The man, the myth, the legend... oh, and Freddie Wong, too.

Turns out that Freddie Wong, the #1 Guitar Hero player in the world, was helping Microsoft promote Silverlight. After playing him in a qualifying round, I was invited to play him in the finals at the main Microsoft booth on the trade show floor. As you can see in this video, it turns out that Freddie is actually pretty good at Guitar Hero. I hung in with him pretty well, hitting 97% of my notes, and ended up finishing third (he hit 100% of his notes). Watch the video of our battle on Vimeo.

Not deterred by my defeat, the next day, I entered another Guitar Hero competition. This one was sponsored by AMD in the BlogHaus. I ended up faring much better without that pesky Freddie Wong being there and took first place.

ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2

My prize for winning the AMD SXSW Guitar Hero Challenge ended up being pretty sweet. It is the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 video card, which Scott Carroll from AMD claims is the fastest video card on the planet. It features dual GPUs, 1GB of onboard RAM, and a custom paint job. It even came in its own black carrying case, which the TSA screeners had a blast with at the airport.

Now I feel like I need to put together a gaming PC, but I don't think the PC version of Guitar Hero would really push the limits of the card :)