Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great Read: "How Rock Band Saved My Marriage"

Found this great article, again via Neogaf forums:

"The fake crowd roars. I fake drum faster. Our fake band, Sex Baby, embarks on a fake world tour on our fake jet, playing fake stadiums in all the fake capitals of Europe. Our fake selves grace the covers of fake magazines, and our fake fans number in the millions. When our fake manager calls to tell us we've been invited to play the fake Hall of Fame showcase in fake Stockholm, my real husband turns toward me, and smiles."

I can imagine, not every gamer is going to find a significant other that also enjoys video games (let alone understands them). Rock Band is a great equalizer; after all, it involves playing music and singing---I think these things are enjoyed universally by people of all ages.

Wuffy's comment:

Slightly Off Topic: Scythe and I sometimes ask ourselves why we often have nice conversations regarding gaming but have nothing to record it on before we forget it. One of our converstations have something to do with rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rockband.

Some people in the gaming industry are going on and on about how the Nintendo Wii was such an amazing device that pushed the bounderies of gaming. The Wii-mote was the revolutionary tool that got grandfathers and grandmothers to pick up a videogame console for the first time in their lives. I don't believe in those things...after all my grandmother used to play videogames with me as a child and she had this addiction to tetris which allowed her to beat everyone's scores in the house. (God bless the souls of my grandparents!)

The real innovation started with Guitar Hero. I believe it brought more to gaming (and pop culture) compared to the Wii. My younger brother (who actually uses the XBL Gamertag: wuffy) grew up without knowing the value of rock. Local entertainment in the Philippines, consists of having pop songs coming from the 80's to the 90's sung over and over again. It's bad enough that when you enter the regular McDonalds here, you'll hear a local artist doing her own version of an 80's song which American Idol's Simon will roll his eyes at. Most radio stations aren't helping either. The songs in the airwaves are nothing more but lame R&B hip-hop (not the ones that actually have meaning beyond bling and booty), bleeding emo...or an even lamer song from a sexy dance troupe which would have classified as a nursery song had it not required you to dance to it provocatively. While there are indeed some nice local bands in the country, they hardly get well deserved air-time.

So my brother grew up tuning out music. That was until we brought him Guitar Hero. Rafael, my brother, played Guitar Hero around last year and he became hooked. Next thing I knew, he was rummaging around for old CDs and loading the songs from the game to his MP3 player. After that he started listening to other songs from the bands featured in Guitar Hero and then he tell me that his classmates are also listening to it because its cool. Heck by now...he knows more stuff about those bands than I ever did when I was a teenager.

That's the real success story in my opinion. Because of rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rockband, gamers are exposed to a wealth of musical culture. I never realized that the music from my parent's generation was actually good! When I play these games, I encounter the thrill of being a make-believe music artist even if I do not have the skill to actually play a real instrument nor do I have the patience to become a rock star.

My husband and I play, rhythm games cooperatively. We choose the songs we want to play and take turns on the instruments. Like the couple in the article, these games are a great way to spend time with each other. It gives us a finer appreciation of rock music as well. There was a time, I couldn't even distinguish a lead guitar from a base guitar but now I can! When I listen to songs, I can now single out the guitar, bass and the drums. No longer am I held hostage by the voice of the singer!

The true social game is something that people can relate with which is why these rhythm games are such a big hit compared to the ones made by Konami which featured a wealth of JPOP that most people can't recognize.

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