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Guitar Hero E3 attempt cheapens Guinness World Records

A phenom at the hit guitar game is attempting to reach an all-time high score. But why should anyone care about a record for a game that's just five years old?

With E3 just two days away, I got a press release this morning announcing that some hot-shot, young gamer known as Ph3nom will be attempting a world record at the huge convention with the hit game Guitar Hero.

This isn't just any record attempt. Ph3nom, otherwise known as Danny Johnson, is going to boot up an Xbox 360 and try to break the Guinness World Record for the game.

To which I say: Who cares?

I mean, sure, maybe Johnson will top the current record--the release doesn't say what it is or who holds it--but I find it very hard to get excited about someone trying to hit the highest-ever score in a game that's just five years old. Worse, Ph3nom's PR people likely wouldn't have sent out the release unless they'd either had some sort of buy-in from Guinness, or unless the famous compendium of world records had previously crowned a Guitar Hero king (or queen).

It used to feel like a Guinness record meant something. Maybe someone had bested a record that had held for 20 years, in a competition that has been going on for 100 years. Or perhaps it was something that a thousand people got together to do. Whatever it was, it was worthy of attention.

To be sure, Guinness has in recent years been promoting its list of video game records. But a high score in Donkey Kong (or at least an attempt at that record) is one thing. A top number in a game that's younger than Facebook is another.

In that context, Guitar Hero has just barely come onto the world stage. And for Guinness to even bother worrying about who has the highest-ever score in the game seems to me to cheapen the ancient brand name. Shouldn't a record have to have a little bit more history behind it before getting the imprimatur of the famous book?

On June 24, CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman and his Geek Gestalt blog will kick off Road Trip 2010. After driving more than 18,000 miles in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the Southeast over the last four years, I'll be looking for the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more throughout the American northeast. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. In the meantime, you can follow my preparations for the project on Twitter @GreeterDan and @RoadTrip.