It’s funny, but I started the The Red Herb probably right around the time the rhythm game genre began to wane and people’s indifference to plastic instruments forced the genre to wither out of existence. It was a lot like Freddy Krueger losing his spectral dream powers because the parents of Elm Street unanimously forgot about those rash of murders on their block all those years ago. Rock Band and Guitar Hero lost their grip on the kids.
So music games didn’t get a lot of say on here over the years. Sure, we talked plenty about Resident Evil and Claire’s butt, but my fevered love affair with Guitar Hero and, soon after, Rock Band went undocumented. Let’s put it on the official record then: I loved the living hell out of these games. If you paid me for every hour I poured into mastering those five fucking notes and the endless combination of chords, hammer-on’s, and hammer-off’s associated with them, I’d be writing this article from a small island I bought and undoubtedly named Red Herbia.
Rock Band Could Take the Stage for an Encore
But are we ready to rock?
You know, we’re not so far removed from an era in gaming dominated by plastic baby guitars and drunken crooning to old Pearl Jam jems. We want to act like we didn’t buy into the hype. We want to pretend we didn’t spend a godfucking fortune on DLC that cost a sight more than simply buying the tracks on iTunes.
Like some of the long dead rockstars it cashed in on, music gaming crashed and burned hard, but while they were on top, it was a friggin’ blast.
That’s probably why Harmonix, the pioneers behind last generation’s music game boom, wants to get the band back together. Bloomberg Business reports a source in on the matter says Harmonix is concocting a new Rock Band – the first rhythm game to allow a guitarist, bassist, singer, and drummer play simultaneously (I wonder how many months it took ‘em to peg down a name for that one) – for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
IGN tapped the developer to see what all this noise was about and, surprisingly, didn’t get an immediate “no comment.” Harmonix is still jived people haven’t written off their franchise, happy to see people actually download the new DLC songs recently released for Rock Band 3 (yeah, they’re still dropping content).
“This passion our fans have shown for Rock Band over the years suggests that rock truly hasn’t died, and we’ve always been clear that we’d love to return to the franchise when the time is right,” said the Massachusetts based house of rock.
As an avid enthusiast of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band who climbed from the lowly annals of Medium all the way to Expert guitar infamy, I’m damned curious to see how Harmonix could bring back a genre nearly snuffed out from over-saturation. (How heavy of a whiskey fog do you have to be in before you realize a Lego Rock Band is rock bottom?)
Say that you are able to dupe the masses into purchasing plastic baby instruments once more. Does the pay-per-song format really make sense in the modern streaming world? I know the tracks are closer to chunks of gameplay than simple mp3’s, that’s understandable, but would it be such a bad notion to offer a subscription service so players can experience new songs, free of the concern that their wallets will starve and harddrives become too bloated?
Lots of variables here; not least of which is whether or not hardcore and casual gamers buy into the music game scene again. Personally… I miss slapping $50 bucks worth of guitar-shaped plastic, man. Those were the days.
Harmonix Unveils Instrument Free Rock Band
Called Rock Band Blitz, the downloadable title will see release on both Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network later this year. The game riffs off of mechanics introduced in Harmonix’s core series and, aside from the 25 songs already packaged in the download, will allow you use of all imported and downloaded songs from the RBN Store.
Music games that don’t have “Dance” in the their name are sadly on the fringe, but perhaps Harmonix’s doing away with a closet’s worth of plastic instruments will simplify the experience enough for the genre to draw in a crowd once again. Click the link for our first glimpse at Rock Band Blitz.
“I Am S/h(im)e[r] As You Am S/h(im)e[r] As You Are Me and We Am I and I Are All Together: Our Collective Consciousness’ Psychogenic Fugue”
Jumping Jesus beans, this is one of the best produced tracks I’ve ever seen storm the Rock Band Network. If it weren’t for Giraffes? Giraffes!glockenspiel breakdown in the middle of the song, there’s little doubt your fingers would snap clean off....
Take Heed Math Rock Fans, Giraffes? Giraffes! Makes It Onto Rock Band Network
Now, typically I wouldn’t report the addition of new song DLC. It’s been a weekly event since the first Rock Band and, for the most part, the artists that come and go usually aren’t musical fare you’d find in any of my playlists willingly.
But this is a bit different for me. One of my more constant go-to favorite bands of the last few years has been an obscure, two-man sonic assault called Giraffes? Giraffes! Despite having only four arms between them, band members Ken Topham and Joe Andreoli have the succinct ability to move mountains and topple gods with their complicated, layered progressions underlined by persistent tech use in order to loop pinpoint riffs or groan simple, graceful melodies. They’re fucking mystifying to watch.
Despite owning most Guitar Hero and Rock Band games under the sun, I’ve let my plastic baby guitar collection gather dust and make new homes in the part of the closet my eyes never wander to. Yet now of all times, the Rock Band Network – the self-submitted indie alternative to the main download service – has approved distribution of my favorite track from the duo titled (get ready), “I Am S/h(im)e[r] As You Am S/h(im)e[r] As You Are Me and We Am I and I Are All Together: Our Collective Consciousness’ Psychogenic Fugue.”
Giraffes? Giraffes! is a near and dear band and if you have the means and the will to dust off some dormant toy instruments, one of the best examples of why I love their music is being offered for a mere 80 Points on March 8th. If you find them as cosmically fantastic as I do, give ‘em more of a listen.