Rock Band: The Lego EffectFor several weeks, I've been thinking about Rock Band and why it's always so interesting. Yesterday, I think I finally figured it out.
The easy distinction is clear: Guitar Hero III is a game that happens to have music. Rock Band is a musical experience that is presented in the context of a game.
There's something more, though. When you factor in the four difficulty levels, the four instruments, the ability to play solo or in a band, the downloadable content, the game becomes something else.
Rock Band is a musical Lego set.
Is it absolutely free-form, like Legos? No, not yet. But there are nearly infinite combinations of what can be done with the blocks (songs). And it's the variety that reminds me so much of Legos--I can take a pile of Legos and build almost anything I want. I can take a Rock Band song and do almost anything I want, too. I think it's that variety that's so obsessively attractive.
The note charts also give you insight into how individual songs are built, piece by piece. It's the kind of thing I never thought about before, but because of this game, I think about it all the time now. I certainly appreciate music on an entirely new level now.
So of course I play Rock Band all the time. I love music, and I love Legos. For many of us, that's a perfect match.