Christmas lights + Guitar Hero = Internet sensation

The California Christmas-light display turns 21,268 lights and LEDs into a super-sized interactive take on Guitar Hero, complete with wireless guitar controller.

YouTube screengrab
A scene from 'Christmas Light Hero,' an interactive Christmas light display in California.

Sure, the 46-inch LED HDTV you got up at 4 a.m. for on Black Friday may be pretty cool for playing guitar hero, but it's got nothing on the setup in one Burbank, Calif. neighborhood.

It's there that Ric Turner turned his garage and entire front yard into a Christmas-themed interactive Guitar Hero-style experience. The display, showcased in the video below, centers on Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover.”

Mr. Turner's LinkedIn page says he's a contractor for nearby Disney Imagineering, with expertise in "non-screen projection, complex distortion correction, moving eye point, spatial illusions and scenic projection," so he's apparently no stranger to putting on a show.

Turner told D.I.Y. blog MAKE (in more detail than we'll get into here) how he linked seven light controllers with 16 outputs apiece to create the display, and adds that to keep neighborhood noise complaints to a minimum, the game's audio is put out over a low-power radio station. "When you play, you watch only the Christmas lights, but the audio you hear is from the Wii, so your flubs are broadcast for all to hear (people in cars can tune 99.1 and crank it up as loud as they want.)"

Turner's YouTube page includes a video of a similar display he put on at his house for Halloween – complete with a 12-foot talking jack-o-lantern in lights. Spooky.

Our only question: What would Clark Griswald think?


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