Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rock Band: Your Stories

A few notes and then a couple of stories from you guys.

There are a few details in this game that are so off the hook. One is when you're playing in a small club, and from the perspective of the audience, you can see the street through a window behind the band.

Big deal, right? Well, it is until you see traffic driving by. That's the kind of tiny detail that has a huge effect on how I perceive the game world.

Another detail is hearing the crowd singing along when you're really nailing a song. I will never get tired of that--it's a great, great bit of detail.

Several of you let me know that the screen turns blue during a guitar solo. I've never even noticed, but that would really help me know when to move my hand to the neck, so I'll start paying attention. The Strat actually has some nice little bits of tactile feedback to help you know the borders of the button group, but I'm so busy playing the song that I don't notice that, either.

I still haven't played Band World Tour yet, although I'm sure I will this week. I'm through about 40 songs on the Drums on Medium, and it's been fantastic. So many of the songs, even on Medium, are incredibly fun to play, and the experience of playing the drums is so fundamentally different from playing the guitar that it's given me a huge appreciation for what real drummers actually do.

Plus, it's unbelievably demanding physically. If I play six or seven songs in a row, my arms are tired. I swim 10,000 yards a week (thank you, NPR), so it's not like my upper body is soft, but drumming noodles me. I can't even imagine how strong drummers in real bands must be.

My main problem on the drums at this point is the kick pedal. I still have a hard time timing it, and of the notes I miss, the vast majority involve the pedal. I keep it pressed down, which is much easier physically, then lift it and depress it as needed, but I'm still not doing very well yet.

I'm playing guitar as well (through about 30 songs on Hard, and about 15 on Expert), and it's definitely easier than the Guitar Hero note charts, although I think quite a few of the Rock Band note charts are more fun. The timing, though, is considerably tighter in Rock Band, so it rewards precision as much or more than speed, at least so far.

Okay, here are a few of your stories. First off, from Keith Marsteller:

A friend of mine actually managed to get a copy of Rock Band (360),and had an after-work party last night for a few of his closest friends. You probably already know this, but HOLY S--- this game was just so much straight-up fun!

At least, it was fun right out of the box for the first six hours with five guys/girls tearing it up and switching instruments every song! We'll have to see how it holds up, and what the online play is like,but last night it was loud, it was chaotic, it was a blast, and we all totally wanted more. I looked around at one point and realized that everyone was smiling or giggling. Awesome. I even got up and sang a few tunes, which would be scary to you if you knew what my voice sounds like (think the Brady Bunch kid when his voice changed, only permanent). But I didn't care how bad I sounded, we were having a blast! There was jamming. There were "alternate lyrics" to songs. There was lots of showmanship. I got to scream, "THANK YOU, CLEVELAND!" at the end of my song.

Next, from Logan Griffall:
Oh wow, I just got done with a 6 hour session of Rock Band with 3 other people. THIS IS THE FUNNEST GAME OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!

We started our band with the awful name '**** Jobbers' and named all our characters after Snack foods (ding dong, ho ho, nutty bar, and snoball). Since we are all just medium players, the first thing (that was not epic) was we found ourselves maxing out how many fans we could get. So having all expert players will allow your band to get bigger, but you can still play everything and every event (well, so far anyway, and we played 100+ shows).

The best part was when we developed a strategy to use the overdrive, basically it all depends on the drummer. Every one saves up their overdrive until the drummer and get his power ready, when he hits his solo we would all activate and get the band 8x. I didn't even notice the chime you mentioned, but then again we had 2 guitars, the drums, and someone singing the song. You absolutely need to get 3 people together and play this game!!!

Our lyricist would occasionally interject new lyrics into the songs causing us to screw up our parts laughing. I also flung one of my drum sticks on accident, and had to use my hand to finish out the song. We also reveled in the little awards you get at the end of every song, most sought after was 'Savior' which you get if you save a couple people after they fail out of a song, since we had plenty of those, lol.

Finally, here's a classic from Chris Kessel:
I walk in the door with Rock Band and my 2 sons take the box and eagerly set up the drums and get ready. Jack (15) has played with me a lot in Guitar Hero and is better than I am, but Ryan (13) never played much. Ryan is stoked about the drums though. A short while later we’re in the menus and setting up a band to tour.

“What should the band name be?”, I ask.

“Ryan is awesome!” shouts Ryan.

I chuckle. Fine, we’ll go with that. I can pick something else for the single player mode or a different band later. We play a couple songs and my daughter comes home and she becomes our singer.

An hour later, we get the tour bus and all crack up as Ryan points at the screen and shouts, “Look!” On the side of the bus it says, “Ryan is awesome!” Later, in a venue, in lights it says “Ryan is awesome!” My daughter flips out her phone and takes a quick picture of the TV proclaiming Ryan’s awesomeness, which he vows to send to all his friends.

4 hours later, we’re exhausted. Probably the most time we’ve spent together as a family in along time. And, we all are anxious to see the next in-game proclamation that Ryan is Awesome.

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