How to Become a Rock God

I just picked up Rock Band for Xbox 360 yesterday at Best Buy. I had preordered the thing on Amazon, but then Amazon said it would be delayed for a couple weeks. So I called Amazon, whose phone support guy didn’t really get what I was asking until I said, “Listen: I could leave my apartment, walk down the street right now, and buy this game. It’s out now. The delay is not the manufacturer’s fault. I’m already not buying through Amazon anymore. Just tell me why there’s a delay because I want to know for future reference in case I ever ponder preordering through Amazon again.”

He was, of course, unable to answer competently. And I was, of course, lying. Rock Band was indeed out, but Best Buy is not down the street. I guess I could’ve gone down the street to FYE and spent an extra $30 on it, but instead I took out a Philly Car Share car, which probably cost me about $10. And then I got charged about $11 in taxes I wasn’t going to have to pay through Amazon. An email support guy got back to me to offer expedited shipping for free to make up for the delay, but by that time I had already made up my mind. By the time Gen arrived in her rental car after dinnertime, we were ready to rock out (some assembly required).

It’s still too early for me to really review it (even a “short review”), but I will say this of it so far: The graphics and animation are better than Guitar Hero III, and though it has far fewer songs than GHIII, it feels like it might have more really good songs. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I got to play Boston’s “Long Time” and the Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation” as part of a “Local Artists” set. It was before I realized how to check which songs were in a set, so I got something of a pleasant surprise. Oh, and also, the user interface is really confusing at first. Also, drumming gives me a shin splint. No joke.

Our band, incidentally, is called Örko. I think I might start a solo band so she and I can just play that one with Gen, and maybe I’ll go ahead and start others to play with other friends. We’ll see. I’ve been waiting to use the name “Shredder and the Technodrome” as a band name for some time now, and “Cockatrice” has a nice ring to it as well.

Jess and I played a bit last night, and I got to try the online multiplayer with a couple friends as well. I think the funniest thing for me was noticing that the first venue you play at in world tour mode (The Charles Pub) had an address on Beacon St. and Somerville, like a half mile from out house. Surreal. I’m not exactly sure which place that’s supposed to be (Google Maps suggests it’s the bar across from Star Market, whose name I can’t remember), but I’m pretty sure the second venue (The Establishment) is supposed to be The Middle East.

So far, I’m totally enamored with the game. Whaling away to Gimme Shelter on the drums may be the highlight of my month (I may have to be a little less enthusiastic in the future, as our downstairs neighbor asked us to keep it down).

Only downsides so far: one of the headset adapters that they gave me is apparently fried; the second one worked fine, but the first one just ended up with a ton of static. And I’m bummed about a few of their software design choices: for example, you have to create a separate rocker for each instrument; I created a drummer, and I couldn’t use him as a guitarist later, even though both were associated with my Xbox Live profile. And the lack of Band World Tour mode for online play makes me a sad panda, but I’m still holding out hope that it’ll get there eventually. Oh, and if you want to play with multiple people in the same place *and* people online, you need an Xbox Live Gold account for everybody, which we found out last night (unless there’s some sort of option we missed). Thanks Microsoft, for nickel-and-diming us to death. Again.

[…] our previous episode, we learned that I acquired Rock Band on its release date, and that Dan loves it but has a couple […]