A Scary Story for your Post-Halloween Hangover: Rock Band 1 Rises from the Dead to Terrorize your Disc Tray!
Today I have a truly spooky story for you. I just got back a box of a bunch of my stuff that someone was holding on to, and inside was my copy of the original Rock Band game. Nothing’s more frightening than playing prequels to your favorite games. The adolescent feel to everything, this or that minor bug that had yet to be fixed, some function or feature that we take for granted in the latest game but doesn’t exist at all anymore, GUI elements that make you say out loud “what were they thinking?”
So now, everyone, let’s see what happens if you boot up Rock Band in Obama’s America, in the Year of our Lord 2013, in the post-RB3 universe.
Look everyone! A Harmonix logo that doesn’t squeal and shriek! In fact, it’s completely silent and inanimate, reduced to a title card that flashes on screen briefly. Normally I like animated cards. Seeing them over and over as you turn on the game causes them to grow on you and you become acquainted with it as it acquires an almost jingle-like spot in your memory (see: “Ee. Ay. Sports.” Harmonix’ animated card, however, is outrageously loud and shrill (and to make things extra-unbearable, the audio is full of stutters and pops if you don’t have the game installed to your hard drive). And let’s not forget the cursed word of the 2000’s, “unskippable”.
Curiously, my game had to download an update. That’s odd, I could have sworn my game was fully updated, unless another patch got stealth-released in the last couple years. Weirder still, when I finished playing I went to look at the save files to see what iteration the patch was, and there was no update to be found anywhere in the RB1 folder!
Yes, the vintage main menu. Before it would respond to any controller signals it had to load up any new DLC I had purchased in the other games (barring RB3-exclusive stuff). Man, this took forever. I was staring that that little drummer for like ten minutes.
You know, if you could actually hear what he’s doing there, it would be a terrible song.
The “Community” tab immediately jumped out at me. I clicked it to see what news there was in the bustling Rock Band 1 community.
Well, if it doesn’t say “Don McLeans ‘American Pie’ is now available” it’s a welcomed change of pace.
I will admit that Rock Band 1 is the only Harmonix game I don’t yet have full gamerscore for. There’s those two achievements for winning ranked Tug-of-War matches. Tug-of-War being the unpopular competitive mode where two players trade riffs, compared to Score Duel, where both just play the exact same chart to try and score higher. But hey, I recently renewed my Xbox LIVE, let’s test fate.
Needless to say, absolutely nothing came of this. Not that I was expecting to find anything in the first place (you couldn’t even find opponents when the game was new), I just wanted to remind people that Rock Band used to have competitive modes.
You know, I’m also missing some achievements for completing all the gigs in a given city. I guess now that I’m here I can jump in and finish that tour!
It’s all starting to come back to me why people complained about this game.
Okay, so that was a bust. I guess all I can do is Quickplay and the watered-down Solo Tour. Let’s play a song in Solo Tour…
Wow, I remember this. I miss getting to look at fake album covers and promotional shots of your custom characters, rendered on the fly, as your song loaded.
This too… now I’m really starting to miss song-specific trivia when songs are loading. In Rock Band 3 the songs load so fast, there’s no practical way to do either of these little things anymore. If it were only possible, I’d have loved the chance to write all kinds of loading screen trivia for my custom songs.
I… earned…. money? Wow, after these years, I really am unfamiliar with the ancient ways of Ye Olde Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual Circle.
Okay, that’s enough gameplay without any type of Breakneck Speed modifier in sight. I did embarrassingly bad. Let’s brace ourselves and see what shape the store is in.
Nice cut-off PSA there. ”New downloadable content is now only available through Rock Band 3. You can continue to download content released prior to”
Prior to what? TO WHAT!? Now Rock Band players may never know when they stopped receiving DLC.
Ah, the good old 9-bubble difficulty rating system. Who could forget you? The answer is everybody. You really should just not exist. I mean what are the cutoffs here, even? I understand the tiers for songs changing between Rock Band games as the cutoffs change, but if “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” is already the highest possible difficulty in the store’s full-library context on vocals, separate from RB1’s in-game tiering, how did it become a tier lower in RB3? It’s like the 9-bubble system doesn’t even account for songs outside the limited tier range of RB1’s local setlist, despite being a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT RATING SYSTEM. Damn, 9-bubble, you are so bad at your job.
And is that… the Team Fortress logo?
And with that, we have quickly ran out of things to explore and gasp at. However, the trip wasn’t all bad. Just LOOK AT THIS CRAZY POLYGON-MAN VENUE.
They ported the Gorilla Dome, but not this?
Here’s a regular plug for my Twitter, since I was forced to make one for PAX. Be sure to follow me, thus increasing atmospheric pollution slightly what with the exchange of electrons.