Last night, as I was preparing to get my full eight hours of sleep, I saw chatter on Twitter advising everyone to watch Justin Bieber’s Instagram Story. Bieber, a pop star known for the time he abandoned a monkey in Germany, was showing off the many things in his house. He sang about his hats. He sang about his indoor putting green and his mink carpet. He sang about popcorn and a plate of fruit, and a Louis Vuitton skateboard.
He also had this one Guitar Hero controller, which confused me. Full disclosure: My brain is broken. His possession of it threw me for such a loop that I lay awake pondering for many hours how, in 2017, Justin Bieber had a readily accessible Guitar Hero II controller that was a decade old and kinda obsolete.
To explain why this bothered me, here is some history. In April of 2007, Activision released a version of Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360. Because it was the first guitar-controller game on the platform, it was initially sold only in a bundle: the game and controller together.
One of the biggest problems with the “X-Plorer” controller, modeled on the classic Gibson guitar shape, was that you had to plug it into the Xbox, despite the fact that the 360 supported wireless controllers. Wired controllers didn’t exactly gel with a game like this: How can you express your passionate playing when you’re tethered to the console. Just six months later, Activision would release the 360 version of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock with a wireless controller.
Justin Bieber would’ve been 13 at the time. I ditched the X-Plorer controller as soon as I could, selling it to a friend in high school along with some extra cash in exchange for a wireless controller. There are many better controllers compatible with this game out there. Following the guitar-game genre’s slow crash a couple of years ago, you could buy most of these controllers for a song (no pun intended).
So why, in the year 2017, does Justin Bieber, one of the most successful musicians in the world, have a decade-old, technically inferior Guitar Hero controller lying around? Why would he do this? Is he still playing the 360 version of Guitar Hero II? Is he using its USB connection for something PC-related? Why? Why is he doing this? Justin … why?