Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 25 Nov 2007

It’s been a long weekend so far, both literally and figuratively. More figuratively. So I was very grateful to receive an email saying, “We have Rock Band! Come play! We’ll feed you!” Not only would there be great food (turkey shepherd’s pie…mmmmmmm…) and great company, there was also a great game to play. Sign me up!

Rock Band is Guitar Hero on steroids and, I think, quite possibly the ultimate party game. You got your lead guitar, your bass guitar, your drumset and your microphone. Grab at least three friends, pick your instrument, build your band and hit the road. We had seven people there last night so we ended up just passing instruments around.

This game kicks some serious ass. Time just disappears when you turn it on. We started playing around 8pm or so and the next thing we knew it was 1am. My instrument of choice was microphone (100% on Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”; Paul J would have been proud) and I became the go-to girl for the classic rock (“What do you mean you don’t know ‘Mississippi Queen?’ Here, gimme the mike…”) I also took many turns on lead and bass guitars but the drums were way too intimidating for me to want to try last night. I’d already used my brain too much yesterday so having to coordinate the bass drum pedal with the stick movements just wasn’t gonna happen. One of my bandmates used to play drums in college so he was a natural on that instrument, even getting up to the hard level by the end of the night.

Rock Band comes with a new Fender Stratocaster guitar, but your existing Guitar Hero guitars will work well with it. The others in the room didn’t like the Stratocaster. It’s larger and has a lot more buttons and gadgets on it. I liked it better than the others. The size made it more comfortable for me to hold and I like how the fret buttons are implemented on this one.

The only real problem we had with the game (which really isn’t the game’s fault) is that often we just didn’t know the songs. Sight reading can do nasty things to your score, even on the easiest level. On the way out afterwards people were saying, “Gotta go to iTunes and download those so I can practice…” It would be interesting to see a graph of iTunes sales statistics for these tracks both before and after the release of the game.

One of our party wasn’t into playing the game but she still had a great time watching us do it. The animations on-screen are very well done, which is entertaining enough, but watching your friends be totally goofy with small fake instruments is a good time all on its own.

Bottom line: Great food, great people, great game, great time. Way better than Cats.