The Greatest Guitar Hero of Them All

Chris Chike, a.k.a. IamChris4life, is the Jimi Hendrix of the plastic ax

So Guinness sent Chike an invitation to come to Manhattan to set the record. His mother was surprised, but some quick Googling proved it was legit. "I kept saying, 'Who woulda thought that something like this could really happen, and that you could really be the best in the world at playing Guitar Hero?'" says Claudia Knowlton-Chike. "The real musicians are up in arms that he's getting so much attention for playing a plastic guitar."

On March 11, Chike strapped on his plastic ax in front of an audience of 100 who watched him play "Through the Fire and Flames" on two HDTVs. Among the observers was the game's publisher. "The first time I walked in and saw him and he scored 800,000, I couldn't believe it," Huang says. "That was designed to be the song to test the skills of the highest-caliber players. I don't think anybody had in mind that somebody could get 97 percent of the notes right, which is what Chris hit."

What will he do for an encore? Chike recently won $2,000 in prizes by finishing first in a national Guitar Hero tournament organized by game chain Play N Trade. "All the little kids were so excited, they got his autograph," says Bloomington store owner Tanye Hagre. There's talk of Chike appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show—the host has been known to entertain her studio audience with the game when she's not dancing. And thanks to Guitar Hero, the shy gamer from Poughkeepsie is now the big man on campus. "At all the parties we go to, he gets a lot more notice now," says Sam Behrens, Chike's 17-year-old friend and self-appointed manager.

But one thing Chike won't be doing any time soon is picking up a real guitar.

"I don't think I'd be any good at it, 'cause I'm already so used to Guitar Hero," he says. "I think I have the dexterity for it, but my mind is just so into the five buttons that I can't do 24 frets and five strings."

In the immortal words of Guitar Queer-o: "Real guitar is for old people." 

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