A Brief Word On The Upside And The Downside of Music Gamery

6 06 2009

Wow, massive thread there. I couldn’t plow through it all, but thanks, guys — it’s always fun to throw out a juicy steak for the commenters to pounce on. The end result’s awesome incarnate.

Now then, because this thought occurs to me and I don’t have enough room in Twitter to explore it: GH5 and TB:RB.

The preview videos for Guitar Hero 5 show it to be a gimmicky pile of weird modes (four drummers on stage at once? C’mon) and odd competition styles and so on…. AND a Rock Band style vocal meter. You fill a pie, it doesn’t have to 100% to reach ‘green’ and continue your combo, etc. A major step up from whatever weird black magic was powering GH:WT’s vocals. I played demos for GH:M and GH:SH and both had ass and poo vocal scoring systems, constantly breaking my combos even for songs I can 100% on expert in Rock Band. Like, what the hell. No. So, if they break down and admit the other scoring method works better? I may actually BUY GH5.

I hate supporting Activision’s “We’re as horrible as EA was back when EA was comprised entirely of giant, raging corporate douchebags”, so they’re gonna need to convince me more that feeding that beast is a good idea… but it’s the only venue where, at the moment, I can do Nirvana’s “You Know Your Right” and Silversun Pickup’s “Panic Switch” and other things I’d LOVE to get my meathooks into. So. We’ll See. I’ll wait for reviews and not preorder, but I will watch and decide later.

Meanwhile, Harmonix is flaunting The Beatles game, and for good cause — every video I’ve seen of it is polished and flawless, a presentation worthy of the concept. The new vocal system intrigues me. And while it’s not exportable, it sits on its little disk and never leaves, I’ve decided I’m willing to throw in here.

I love supporting Harmonix’s “We believe in music first and foremost, and gaming second” attitude, so they don’t need to convince me much that feeding that animal is a good idea. Again, it’s the only venue where I can sing certain songs, so go with it despite shortcomings (no exportability). So. I’ve seen, and have preordered.

I could easily afford both games. But this decision runs deeper than moolah. It’s about who you trust, who you want to encourage, who you want to change their ways. Voting a show of faith with your dollars. …not that they likely care about one dude’s $60 when millions of soccer moms will go “What’s the name of that music thing Little Billy likes so he can shut up and leave me alone to continue my extramarital affair with the mailman? Guitar something? I’ll buy that for Christmas, I guess.”

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5 responses

6 06 2009
loopychew

I’ve made my thoughts on GHWT pretty clear, and I’ve enjoyed the demo of GH:M despite itself (I mean, seriously! No Excuses! Stone Cold Crazy!), but I’m pretty sure I’ve given up on the GH franchise at this point. It’s going to take more than music to sell me on any GH game, particularly because GH has been spreading itself so thin (between GH:M, GH:SH, Band Hero, GH5, and GH:VH for consoles this year), and more particularly because of that lot, the only one to support older DLC (“Death Magnetic” aside–which shows you THEY COULD do the whole cross-compatible thing) is GH5.
The whole four-player competitive aspect of the game doesn’t entice me, either. I mean, aside from single-player tournaments, what’s the point? Is anyone really going to use it? I don’t know about anyone else, but I never touch the competitive parts of Rock Band, particularly at parties.
Even with the setlist touted in the interview they did for GT (The original Cash version of Ring of Fire! All Along the Watchtower!) I can’t get myself excited for the game. I figure that a lot of songs that are available for GH right now will eventually make it into RB, making that one purchased DLC track I have for GH:WT (No Rain) completely redundant.
If it means I can avoid swapping discs, I will be happy.
Meanwhile, the Rock Band series was out in all force/on all fours, and while TB:RB made the strongest impression (while I’m vocally disappointed in not being allowed to export the tracks/DLC to the main RB platform, I totally get it), I had fun watching all the previews for Lego RB as well, Red Screen of Death and everything. I don’t know how much of my excitement stems from features other than the Rock Band name, but I can tell you I’ve been happily grooving in my head to FF’s Breakout since the Gamespot demo with the RSoD. And don’t get me started on The Beatles, which I’ve been so happy about that I’ve been showing my non-music-gaming oriented co-workers videos of (including the Awesomest Intro Video Ever).
I think I chose my lot some time back, and I can’t say I’ve ever looked back and regretted my decision.

6 06 2009
kamalloy

What’s the difference between GH5 and Band Hero? There must be something I’m missing. And VH?
I stopped buying every GH franchise game when they came out with Aerosmith, and the only reason we have World Tour is because we needed a new guitar and there was a really good online deal to get two wired guitar controllers (we’re not picky) and GHWT for $50. I think we’ve played it maybe twice. ^^; But I am preaching to the choir here.
All Along the Watchtower would be awesome, though. Dylan version? Hendrix?

6 06 2009
loopychew

Band Hero is GH’s take on making Guitar Hero more accessible to little kids, the way Lego RB is for Rock Band. There’s also a Guitar Hero: Van Halen disc coming out soon.
Watchtower would be the Dylan version. In fact, the few songs we know in GH5 are excellent (Blink’s “The Rock Show,” The Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” an Arctic Monkeys track, an Wild Cherry track (which pretty much means they have “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” since that was their one hit), and more. Van Halen has 3EB’s “Semi-Charmed Life”, Weezer’s “Dope Nose,” and some choice VH tracks, too.
All that should be enough to get me excited, but all I’m excited about is the thought of playing them in Rock Band.
I just…bleh. There was trouble evident the moment Kotick uttered the word “exploit” in regards to the GH franchise. That he seems intent on turning it into a fad instead of something more lasting pisses me off.

6 06 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

There was trouble evident the moment Kotick uttered the word “exploit” in regards to the GH franchise. That he seems intent on turning it into a fad instead of something more lasting pisses me off.
And THAT is the attitude I cited in my post. Sequelitis. EA was once upon a time an Evil Alliance, a horrible place where games go to die, ground under the jackboots of endless sequels with nary a care to new game concepts, experiments, or originality. All that mattered was min-maxing fun to dollars (with min being fun).
A few lawsuits from irate workers and some harsh lessons in public relations later, and EA have cleaned up their act. They launched new games, like Assassin’s Creed and Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space, they stuck with them even when sales were low, and they funded third party projects like Rock Band and Rage. They GET it now… it’s the games. It’s always about the games.
Activision, on the other hand, post merger looked at projects like Brutal Legend and Ghostbusters and said “Originality? Non-franchisability? Bah! Begone with you! We want to pump out more of the same onto eternity!” and kicked them out. We’re lucky they found other publishers, or these great gaming concepts would’ve died on the vine. Kotick’s comments, and now them suing Double Fine because it turns out Oh Hey, Brutal Legend Would’ve Made Them Money Because It Rules… it’s pathetic. It’s insulting. It’s wrongheaded and I don’t like supporting the wrongheaded.
Unfortunately… thanks to Activision’s take-no-prisoners attitude, they’ve sewn up a lot of music I love in exclusive contracts. It won’t be in Rock Band, period. Which means what should be a simple decision (is a game fun?) becomes an ethical quandry of whether or not you want to bend knee to Emperor Palpatine. I hate ethical quandries in my gaming.

9 06 2009
ranneko

Fortunately I don’t play many music games, but I strongly disapprove of Harmonix’s Let’s wait at least a year before releasing Rock Band in Australia. Rock Band 2 still isn’t out, and of course the games are region locked, so you can’t just import it.

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