Showing posts with label Rock Band. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rock Band. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2013

They say that all good things must come to an end



A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while


On April 2nd, Don McLean's "American Pie" will be the very last Rock Band song.

Ever.

Supposedly.

But from what I read on Twitter, it may not be the last ever, but it is the end of the weekly download content that has been flowing for years.


We bough so many songs. We probably have more invested in Rock Band songs than we do in the Xbox and all the other games we own.

I have some good memories of playing Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and Rock Band 3 over the years. It's the only video game that my wife played often on our Xbox. She refused to play any instrument other than guitar. Bass was boring. Guitar was a challenge. And she was pretty damn good at it too.

I remember struggling to move from Medium difficulty to Hard, and having to deal with more than 3 buttons. I thought for sure that I would never learn to play without looking at the neck of the guitar and be able to transition my fingers up and down the neck of the guitar without forgetting where I was.

I remember the first time my wife and I gold starred a song and how awesome it felt. Sounds silly, I know, but it was a cool moment.

I remember the day my wife and I decided to go for the "Never-ending Setlist" achievement, and how it took much longer than we expected, and how patient our kids were waiting to be fed, late, that evening. :)

I remember the first time playing drums. And how "real" it felt to nail a tricky beat on expert as if it had never been a problem.

It still amazes me how my fingers seem to magically press all the right buttons in sequence to a seemingly impossible stream of notes cruising down the TV screen.


I remember the first time I got 100% on a song, on expert, and how it made want to thrust my fist in the air and yell "FUCK YEH!"

And sometimes I did just that.

There has always been criticism from the naysayers about how "real" Rock Band is — or not real, as the case may be. "Play a real instrument!" they'd say.

It's a game. A fun game. And for some people, it inspired them to learn real instrument. How can that be so bad?

Good times. Lots of them. With family and friends. And as long as I can make our remaining guitars and drum kit last, the good times will last.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rocksmith similar in some ways to Rock Band

I am coming to the realization that learning Rocksmith (aka, learning to play a real guitar) isn't much different than learning to play Rock Band or Guitar Hero. That's not to say this is as easy, but the learning process is similar.

I still remember years ago thinking "I can barely play 3 damn buttons, I'm never going to learn to play 4... or 5. This is insane." Yet, about a year or two later, I was playing some songs on expert and gold starring them. With that in the back of my mind, I push on with this real guitar thing.

I know that things that seem impossible aren't impossible, with a little patience and persistence.

I have frustrating moments, like I did with Rock Band. Probably more so now. With 6 strings and so many frets, the combinations seem endless. It's really tricky trying not to look at the buttons strings so I can concentrate on the TV instruction. It's easy to get lost.

Another thing I recall from my Rock Band experience was that when the frustrations were too great, put down the guitar and take a few days off before trying it again.

It's the same thing with Rocksmith and a real guitar.

This afternoon I finally felt like I was making some real progress. Not just with my in-game score, but actually feeling I could do this, eventually.

I got hooked on a seemingly simple song, "When I'm With You" by Best Coast. I was really getting into it. Rockin' it out. It's a fun song. My daughter actually said "Was that really you playing that?" I felt like a rock star. I played it five or six times. I then decided one more time before calling it a night.

That's when I discovered just how dynamic Rocksmith's difficulty can be. Seconds into the song, it looked foreign. "WTF? More notes?!" *panic* I struggled through the tough parts and it wasn't long before it started to look a little more like I had been playing previously. Maybe it should be called Dynamic Reality Check. Yeh, I still have a long way to go.

I finished up the night with playing one of the mini-games, "Scale Runner". My daughter even took interest. She got a small acoustic guitar for Christmas a year or two ago, had some interest for a while and it has since been gathering dust. She brought it out, I tuned it up the best I could, and we sat playing/learning scales together. :) I might have to pick up an extra USB adapter cable once my new guitar arrives this week so we can play multi-player.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gonna be a rock star

Ok, maybe not. :)

I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was in my late teens, along with a beginner book and some guitar picks. Weeks later, after building callouses on my fingers, I set the guitar aside.

Every few years after, I'd pick it up, with half-assed determination to learn how to play. I replaced strings a few times.

To date, I still cannot play the damn thing, mostly due to frustration, lack of patience, and no lessons I suppose.

Years ago my wife and I developped an addiction to the Guitar Heros and Rock Bands. Yeh, plastic instruments and all. Spare me the "pick up a real guitar and learn" crap. It's tiring. Thanks to Rock Band, my nephew bought a drum kit and took lessons.

Anyway, when Rock Band 3 came out with its "Pro Mode", my interest in learning guitar was renewed. Maybe this was what I needed? But the real Fender Squier Strat designed for it was a little expensive. However, when I heard about another upcoming game called Rocksmith, that used REAL guitars without anything more than a special USB cable included with the game, I was able to justify the Fender purchase. It would serve two purposes. Rock Band 3's Pro Mode, and to use with Rocksmith.

Rock Band 3's Pro mode was a tad frustrating, but mostly because of the "hybrid" Fender strat requiring tweaking to get to work properly with the game. It still isn't 100% good with the game, but to be honest, it was enough to make me set it aside.

In the meantime, I picked up a small 10w Fender amp to accompany my guitar, for real play. I should have held off on the amp purchase.

Enter Rocksmith.

After reading a couple of early reviews, I was a little hesitant. Latency seemed to be the issue. After reading a few positive reviews, I bit the bullet.

This "game" is awesome. It connects your electric guitar via a special USB cable to your console (PS3 or Xbox 360), and then connects to your home stereo, which acts like your amplifier, and also provides a whole whack of pedal effects to accompany game play. It turns out that my system configuration is the recommended best at minimizing latency. After tweaking the in-game latency setting, I think I've pretty much eliminated it.

I put the word "game" in quotes because it really is more of a teaching tool. Perhaps it doesn't go into as much theory as a guitar less might, but it teaches people like me enough so that one day they may be able to pick up a guitar and rock out a song or two.

I live for that day. :) Perhaps I should add this to my bucket list...

The game is not without some frustrations though, and I suspect it's mostly due to the Fender that I'm using. For one thing, the specially designed frets (for Rock Band 3 Pro Mode) sometimes make the strings catch when string bending. I also think that it doesn't stay in perfect tune, possibly due to the inntonation being a little off. That could be due to the weak neck because it contains eletronics for Rock Band 3 Pro Mode. I followed some instructional videos on YouTube for adjusting inntonation and it's a little better, but still not perfect.

Last week I decided to look into getting a new guitar; one that is designed 100% for real play. I emailed AxeMusic.com, where I bought the Fender and the amp, for any recommendations. They're Canadian, and I like their service. I told them looking for a decent beginner guitar in the $300 price range. After a few email exchanges, I settled on a See Thru Black Cherry ESP EC-100QM. I even checked out a few youTube videos of people playing this guitar. I liked the look at the sound.

I called late Friday and placed the order.

Maybe once I get a little better, I put up a video. Maybe. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

7/52 — Week 18

A day late. Oops.

Not much of a varied selection this week, but I did dig out my old Canon S3 IS for some shots! I went cycling with my son on Saturday and brought the S3 along for the ride.

Anyway, to start off with... my Rock Band addiction gets a boost. The Fender Squier Stratocaster is finally available in Canada and my pre-order from last month arrived. Playing Rock Band 3 with it is more difficult than you might think.

My daugher wants to learn guitar, so she had to give it a try.

When my son and I were out cycling, we came across a bed of daffodils along the Rockliffe Parkway. We weren't along in thinking they were photo-worthy. As we left, a photographer arrived with his camera gear and tripod to take his own shots.

While I was taking pictures of the daffodils, this little guy was watching us from a distance. My son insisted that I take its photo. :)

My S3 never ceases to amaze me at how good its shots are.

 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Getting paid to promote your music

I read an old article earlier today where Trent Reznor said that Nine Inch Nails won’t be releasing any more tunes to games, like Rock Band.

On more than one occasion in the article, he said music isn’t a game.

“Music isn’t a game, it’s supposed to be an emotional kind of experience.”

“I want it to be an album, a piece of music and not a game.”

Having your music in a game doesn’t make your music a game. It doesn’t take away from the “emotional kind of experience” at all. At least not in my eyes.

It’s a golden opportunity to introduce your music to new ears. Get old ears excited about an upcoming release. And on top of that, I’m sure they get a cut of the $$ made selling the songs as download content for a game like Rock Band.

That’s even better than free publicity. That’s paying publicity.

Since my wife and I got hooked on the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, we’ve been introduced to many new bands and I’ve bought the music as a result. These are sales that probably never would have happened otherwise.

I’m sure there are bands out there that would kill for an opportunity like that.

I think Trent is missed the point. His loss. Hopefully some other band’s gain.