27 November 2008

Observations after my first try at Rock Band

There hasn't been much gaming going on around my house, so when my kids saw that the neighbors had Rock Band they jumped at a chance to play it. I even lent my vocals to a couple songs. It was a fun way to wind down after a big meal.

I think that people underestimate the amount of musicality required to be good at rhythm games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Dance Dance Revolution. If you are familiar with the song before you ever play the game, then you will know the rhythm and react more quickly when the colors pop up. I'm not a good singer at all, but I scored well on Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" because I love that song. I've been singing along with it for years, so I knew when to stop and start and when to raise and lower my voice.

--When Guitar Hero came out, many musicians hastened to remind people that playing the game is nothing like playing a real guitar. While that is true, you still have to have a sense of rhythm to be good at these musical games. My daughter M, who has been in her school band for five years, rarely misses when playing guitar in the game.

--Playing the drums in Rock Band comes closer to playing real drums than the guitar controller comes to real guitar. If the person playing the drum controller is doing well, you can mute the TV and hear a definite rhythm in his tapping.

--Singing well on Rock Band does not mean that you can sing. Most of the songs my neighbors had on their version were classic rock tracks that I grew up with. I am a lousy singer, but I scored high on songs like Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive". Whether you are singing or playing in the game, it helps to know the song well before you start.

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