Guitar Hero Star

by Wencke Schuncken

We present a special gamer girl; someone who understands the meaning of gaming, who rocks and isn't afraid of showing her talents. Let us present to you, the one, and only Ciji Thornton AKA StarSlay3r! She's a pro-gamer / expert on Guitar Hero and brings the in-game virtual rock legends to life during her performances. We're pleased to meet her and that she took the time to answer a couple of questions, which you can read in the below interview.

How did you got into Guitar Hero in the first place?
I used to play Guitar Freaks ( at an arcade called GameWorks in Auburn Hills, Michigan a couple times a week. While the game only had 3 buttons and the occasional wailing bonus you had to hit, it was amazingly hard! It took me a long time to work my way up to the hardest songs in the game, and even then I wasn't that good. December of '05 my boyfriend at the time and I were in a Game Crazy store and we saw the very first Guitar Hero demo set up for people to try out. I immediately grabbed the guitar and played "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath on Hard. I was surprised to see I got 5 stars ninety some odd percent my first try and everyone in the store was amazed because apparently no one could even do that well on easy or medium. I looked at my boyfriend and said "I want this for my birthday!" and the next day he bought it for me... I then became addicted. I worked my way up to Expert within a week and was 5 starring songs shortly after. August of '06 I moved to Texas and started competing in the Midnight Gaming Championship for Guitar Hero 1 making it to state finals for the first time. I placed 16th overall and was determined to keep practicing so that I can one day take home 1st! After that I got every guitar hero game as it was released and dedicated all my free time to the game and perfecting my scores, trying to become one of the top scorers on and trying to win every tournament that came to town while still taking the occasional break to do cosplay and have fun with fans of the game at local events.

What did you play before guitar hero took over your life?
Before Guitar Hero came around I was a big fan of Konami's Guitar Freaks. Guitar Freaks was a game much like Guitar Hero but had more of the look and feel of the guitar track on Rock Band. Before that I was a big fan of arcade DDR, Soul Caliber and Quake on PC. I've always been a gamer but since Guitar Hero came out I've found the one game I've truly fallen in love with and I plan to follow the game and compete as long as it's around.

Have you played a real guitar anyway before Guitar Hero? Or were in a rockband?Actually everyone tends to think this is the oddest fact about me... I've been playing Guitar rhythm games for about 6 years now and not once have I ever picked up a real guitar or ever taken lessons. I'm told that the fact that I haven't ever learned to play guitar in the past is probably one of the reasons why I do so well at the game as most guitarists will instinctively move their hands to correspond with what notes they are hearing which may not be the same way the song is note tracked in Guitar Hero. I'm definitely willing to learn how to play guitar if the opportunity ever arises though. For now I'll stick with what I know best and keep strumming on my plastic guitars!

What's your favorite Guitar Hero song?
My favorite guitar hero song so far would have to be the song "Arterial Black" by Drist. It's not the most complicated song in the games history but it's definitely one of the most fun and definitely catchy songs. Being a big fan of Drist and Marcus Henderson makes the song all the more fun to play!

How many performances do you give per week / month and where can we see you in action?
In a month I usually do one large performance at a place called Azteca in Garden Grove where people come from all over So Cal and the LA area to try to beat me at guitar hero. It's a ton of fun! Other then that I usually go to every place that has guitar hero that I can find at least once a week or so, but right now I'm preparing for the big tournament season so I've been practicing as much as possible up to 60 hours a week! Performing dates and times are usually posted at Also I am going to be showing up to all major gaming events such as E3, E for All and other large events where Guitar Hero tournaments are held.

Aren't you nervous showing off in front of guys?
I rarely get nervous showing off in front of guys... the sex of the gamer doesn't really determine whether or not I get nervous more if the people who are watching me are competitors or well known high scorers of though.

Where did the name StarSlay3r come from?
My name StarSlay3r comes from a combination of Starscream from Transformers (I'm a huge transformers fan), Slayer from Halo's team slayer and the 3 is just for the 1337 speaking nerd in me. I also earned the nick name Judy Nails from many fans when I was competing in the Midnight Gaming Championship series in Dallas, TX. I had the bright red hair, the "rocker chick" look and was making my way up in the ranks at the 8 week long series of tournaments into finals and people started noticing I looked a lot like a character in the game and started calling me that. After the name caught on and people everywhere started calling me Judy I decided to start cosplaying as her at the tournaments for fun.

Other information you would like to share?
Regarding videogames when I'm not playing Guitar Hero I'm practicing my rock band skills or honing my FPS skills on Halo 3! Further on I would like to thank my biggest sponsor Digital Camo Skins ( for supporting me and sponsoring the events that I go to, it's an amazing company. I am also part of a team that is sponsored by UGS also known as the Underground Gaming Series.

If the above interview made you curious how StarSlay3r handles Guitar Hero, check out the impressive video: