Rock out with your drum sticks out
August 2, 2007 – As many fans know, this holiday season will bring us a couple of high profile opportunities to be guitar legends in our own minds, but there will only be one that will allow you to be a part of the band. Harmonix, the originators of the Guitar Hero franchise, is the developing team behind the new competition in rock music. Some are speculating the price of the entire set needed to fully appreciate the game will be so astronomical that some fans may pass up the opportunity.
How will they ensure us that it will be worth it no matter the pricing? Song choices, of course. That is exactly what it appears that Harmonix and MTV games are doing for the game. Instead of using a lot of cover bands the way Guitar Hero did, Rock Band will have songs from the actual artists. Bands like The Who have announced that not only will the game come with a few of their songs, but they also revealed that we would be able to download an album from them as well. The album in question will be “The Who.” Additionally, Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” will also be available. This feature could be the stand apart addition from Guitar Hero. When you have fans of a certain band salivating at the chance to play an entire album as opposed to one or two of the more known songs, it certainly seems more appealing. Queens of the Stoneage are also keeping things interesting by allowing one their songs from their forthcoming album, “Era Vulgaris,” to make its debut on Rock Band. Some other noteworthy songs confirmed for the game are “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” from Blue Oyster Cult, “Learn to Fly” from the Foo Fighters, “Vasoline” from the Stone Temple Pilots, “Wanted Dead or Alive” from Jon Bon Jovi, “Enter Sandman” from Metallica, and several others. With the confirmation that five record labels will be cooperating with Rock Band to bring some of the more memorable songs to the game, it is no wonder that interest in this game is starting to surpass that of Guitar Hero.
Some other information released about the game is how the equipment will work in the game. The microphone will work the same way as they have for other popular games like Singstar and the Karaoke Revolution games. However, we will also be able to use the microphone as a tambourine or cow bell when there are no lyrics. This will be interesting to see and should keep the lead singer busy while they wait for their next opportunity to wail out some lyrics. For the drums, players who have played the DrumMania arcade game will find this very similar. Four foam pads will act as your snare drum, tom-tom, hi-hat, and crash/ride cymbals. We will also have a foot pedal to represent the bass drum. Harmonix is also packing an authentic pair of drumsticks in with the drum set. They have even stated that if you can play the drums in Rock Band on hard, then you can probably play the drums. An interesting aspect to the game will be a variation on the “Star Power” we have been using in Guitar Hero. If a player fails at any part during a song and the “Star Power” is activated, then that player will be able to reclaim their honor. If the entire band is still around at the end of the song, then they will be treated to a special “Jam Session.” Another aspect is that if you want to make your band avatar representation look a different way, you can. We will be able to adjust everything from hair, clothes, stage movements, body type, and even the band’s logo.
The pricing of Rock Band may not be official yet, but even if it is around 200 bucks, the information that continuously pours out about the game can be justified with a high price tag. The only problem I see is if you have a band and members bail out on you constantly, then you may have a hard time finishing the game. Hopefully, with the mention of possible online gameplay for the game, it will become easier to have the band of your dreams, even if it is only in the digital form. Rock Band may not be entirely new in concept, but no one can deny that they are at least attempting to broaden the appeal of the game by including all forms of what makes a good band great.
Not just a guitar anymore! Rock Band gives you control of the whole band!
May 14, 2007 – One of the biggest buzz-getters so far this year has to be the much anticipated joint venture between the creators of Guitar Hero, Harmonix, and MTV games. There are many who say that this game will be the future of music-based games. But what’s all the fuss about?
First of all, Rock Band looks to offer a previously unparalleled level of interactivity with the songs you perform. You will no longer be regulated to just singing a part or playing a guitar; with this game, you’ll be able to play any part, be it bass, drum, vocals, or guitar. You’ll have the option of fostering and developing your talent with just one instrument, or you can try your hand at them all! Now I know what your thinking: what kind of peripherals does this mean I need? Well, unfortunately, there will be quite a few you’ll need. But the good thing is that they’ll more than likely be sold in a bundle. Also, if you don’t want to suffer the cost all at once, Harmonix has confirmed that the X-plorer control from the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero will be compatible with Rock Band. No word on if any microphone peripherals from other games will also be compatible with the game.
Now that you know the different parts you can play and the equipment you’ll need, what can you do with it? Well, of course, you can play music by yourself, but what fun is that? The online support is where the most exciting possibility for this game lies. Rock Band will be giving gamers a unique opportunity to connect with other gamers from around the world to create their own four-person rock band to jam online. There will even be support for camera peripherals so you can see each other while you’re rocking out.
And once you’re done with your online jam session, you can take your band to an online battle of the bands. Although it’s not quite certain how the visuals will work, and whether you’ll be able to see your competition as well as your band-mates (can you imagine a screen split eight ways?) But, nevertheless, the idea is to connect live with people around the world and showcase your band’s skillz in an online forum. One might say that this type of communication really helps bridge the gap between gamers and creates a really special type of relationship between them. This is a sort of proactive gameplay that online facilitation can create.
Of course, if you want your band to stay more local, there will be a party mode where you can invite friends over to your place, plug in your respective instruments, and rock the night into the early morning. And who said gamers weren’t social? This game will do for the musical genre what Mario Party did for mini-games. It’ll be the life of the party!
Another very cool and new thing about Rock Band is that the backing tracks will be original artists. No more obscure singers humming along to classics like on Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution; now you’ll get the real thing! And this is all thanks to MTV signing on and lending their tremendous influence in the music world. If the record companies didn’t want to work with the gaming community before, hopefully the success of this game will encourage more cooperation between the two entertainment sectors.
As of right now, virtually nothing is known about what the game will look like, or even what songs will be featured in the game. Both Harmonix and the publishers have been keeping a very tight lip about any specific details regarding these two issues, but hopefully they’ll deliver a beautiful game with an amazing soundtrack with something in it for everyone!
Rock Band, is truly going to be a trailblazer in the musical gaming genre. Not only does it allow you to play one of four instruments, but the online capabilities are just amazing. You’ll be networking and playing music via your console with your band-mates from around the world. And that’s something that I don’t think anyone would have imagined could be possible with a game system. But it’s simply amazing, and I’m so excited not only for this game, but for what else lies ahead in the future of gaming. If we keep making these types of leaps and bounds, who knows what’s possible?