Friday, September 19, 2008

Played Lately: Rock Band & Rock Band 2

  • Although I haven't written about it at all, I have become absolutely smitten with Rock Band and, now, Rock Band 2. For the longest time I looked at the smallish plastic guitars with a combination of disdain and a little bit of fear. Disdain that I would lower myself to playing with such a silly toy and fear that I might suck if I did try. After lowering myself and also sucking, I find that it is a lot of fun.
  • Playing Rock Band is a lot like playing Whack-a-Mole with two hands, one to aim the mallet and the other to whack. What elevates the game is how elaboratly the developers disguised this simple premise. Primarily, you could not play so silly a game without the music. Well, you could but the whole thing would be sadly mechanical and not much fun. But with the music added in, it is a huge reward for timely button pushing. You feel pretty bad missing a note in one of your favorite songs. Then with all the rock star presentation and a great selection of songs, it's easy to get lost in the experience.
  • The best part of all this is that it makes you an active participant to the music. This is not to kid myself that strumming a plastic guitar instead of a real one makes me a musician. However, I have found a greater appreciation for the individual parts that make up a song. It's really a different experience to turn music from something you put on in the background while you're blogging or, I don't know, grinding MOBs, into something you have to pay close attention to. How can that be a bad thing for music?
  • And speaking of the music, the first game has a nearly impeccable collection of favorite tracks. There are a few clunkers, but there are several more that I hadn't heard before and rather enjoy. The fact that you can use all those songs and the downloaded songs in Rock Band 2, even in the tour mode, made me grin when I discovered it. I'm not deep into the second game yet so I don't know if the selection gets any better, but the ratio of good-to-bad songs isn't as high so far.
  • Oh and if someone from Harmonix happens to run across this blog, can you please add an option to either rate songs or tag songs as favorite? I would love to sort my songs based on how much I like them. Having to scroll though a really long list to get to Dani California can get old.

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