Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band live at Hyde Park, London is currently playing on my XBOX DVD player. I want to pick up my guitar, gather some friends and sing along with us all playing instruments. They can’t play them? Oh well let’s just stick on Rock Band and pretend to play them… What do you mean there’s no Boss on the game? Philistines! Why not? He’s one of the best songwriters of our time!
Ok then, I’ll play some Dylan… HE’S NOT ON THERE EITHER?? What about Bowie? Oh only a few, and not even his best. Ok what about some greats like The Beatles or Metallica? Oh I have to buy SEPARATE games for that. Can’t I just put all the songs into one manageable easy game like the library transfer Rock Band has? No? Ahh… So what’s on Rock Band 3 then? Oh. That. Really? That too? Well, that’s a bit naff really isn’t it?
Basically, rhythm games have managed to convert me into entire boredom. I was a great defender of them, especially Rock Band. The tracking was better for me and the expansion capabilities were fantastic. Even as someone who can actually play musical instruments, I found the genre enchanting and a great escape from the pursuit of original rock stardom. I didn’t even mind the Guitar Hero series doing one off additions as it made bigger scope for a better soundtrack. Metallica being the prime example of how well it could be done, although I also quite liked Aerosmith’s addition. Anyone else remember IBM’s Quest For Fame on the PC? Tennis Racket and special controller with awesome tunes? It was a hoot!
But Guitar Hero changed after World Tour. It became too full of itself, and the controversy surrounding the usage of Kurt Cobain’s image was enough to send my liberal meter sky high and turn away from the franchise. Rock Band expanded brilliantly, capturing some of my favourite bands and songs. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rush and No Doubt for example.
Then Activision had to ruin it all by making everything they could into a game. DJ Hero. Band Hero. Recorder Hero, where you blew into the Wii remote to play along. Maracas Hero, where you got two 6-axis controller pads and threw them around violently to a virtual flamenco on screen in the style of Strictly Come Dancing. Then you got Bez Hero for the Kinect where you get as smashed as you could and danced incoherently to nothing but bright blinding lights whilst popping virtual pills using the RT trigger.
Ok so I exaggerate a little, but you can’t say that you don’t believe something similar may have crossed the minds of the developers. Roughly translated to “how far can we drag this out and make some $ before people get utterly bored?” It seems that only another two years was the answer to that question. Which for me is a shame. Now I’ll have to go to a pub and sing along to a badly constructed karaoke backing track to get my music kicks. All I wanted was Born To Run! (Cries into pillow)