So today I got Rockband, and then my afternoon disappeared. Rockband is a lot of fun. Originally I was worried that I would have to have friends around to play the game properly, that fear was quelled both when the game didn’t seem to care whether I played alone or with others and when my little sister immediately jumped in. This is really one of the better things about Rockband, I hardly ever do anything with my little sister other than begrudgingly go to a recital of some sort, it really is a fun family game. I’d played Guitar Hero at other people’s houses before, so I knew what to expect from guitar, and immediately jumped on the drums, which Harmonix did a great job with. I never played with the RB1 drums, but supposedly the RB2 ones don’t clack as much when you hit them and have a little more bounce. They are extremely satisfying when you hit your stride, and not that hard to pick up. There’s a big debate raging out there over whether the RB drums serve as an intro into real drums. Obviously guitar is completely different from game to real life, but as far as drums are concerned it’s still pretty much the same thing. Obviously you would have to adjust a little to a real drum kit, but when you see someone able to do this you have to admit it would probably not be a big step for them. This afternoon alone I ascended from hardly being able to keep a simple beat in the drum trainer to medium difficulty and there’s some songs I can do on hard. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get better yet. Rock Band 2 has by far the best track list of any music game to date. Looking at the list before purchase I knew it was for me even though I didn’t recognize a majority of the songs. So far I don’t actually hate the other stuff as much as I expected. Unfortunately there’s too much metal, too much being any. What I want from this game is classic hits most people know and can easily get into with maybe some lesser known modern stuff thrown in, and Rockband 2 comes oh so close to that mark. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best yet. You can also fill out your track list with songs downloaded from their store, admittedly at a cost, but if you absolutely hate most everything on the disc you’ll almost definitely find something there. You get “Still Alive” from the excellent video game Portal and “Charlene (I’m Right Behind You)” by Stephen and the Colberts as free downloads, they’re both great. For some reason games like Rockband often seem to be the butt of jokes on the grounds that you’re standing in front of your TV pretending to be a rock star, except that you’re not. When I play FPS games I don’t pretend that I’m gunning down men with lives and families, I just play the game, it’s a challenge of reflexes and little more. The same goes for Rockband. You may say that there’s a big difference between playing instruments and shooting people, but I say that it’s a comparison I’m going to continue to make so deal with it. A lot of people say how about you go out and buy an instrument and learn to play it. OK then, while I’m at it I’ll buy a gun and learn to shoot it. Again you’ll say that there’s a big difference to playing instruments and shooting people, but I say tell that to elementary school orchestras everywhere, those concerts can be excruciating. What’s weird is that often the people who tend to be hardest on Rockband are musicians. This is a big budget video game with a huge following that has practically created its own culture fad dedicated entirely to what you love and do for a living, why are you not excited about that?

Conclusion: Rockband rocks! 98/100 (Two points deducted for heavy metal music).

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