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  • TWIRB: Podcast, iPhone, Lego, Beatles, U2 Rumors

    Posted on October 14th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    THIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND! As can be expected, there’s a redonculous amount of news surrounding the rhythm game genre this week, and in particular, our favorite franchise…Rock Band.  Let’s talk about some epic DLC over the next couple weeks, a new iPhone game, the inaugural podcast, and more. It’s time for THIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND!

    abbeyroad
    More Beatles Rock Band News

    • Abbey Road DLC coming October 20

    In less than a week, we will get all the remaining tracks from the album Abbey Road. Along with that, a new Challenge will be added to the game, allowing play of the album from beginning to end without stop. This new DLC is promised to bring new dreamscapes to the game.  So, it’s great to see some DLC for TB:RB, but to add additional visualizations is going to be a treat to this already beautiful game.

    What’s next for Beatles DLC?  Two other albums are already in the works, but past that…it all depends on how stuff sells, according to Harmonix.  So, if you want more Beatles for your game, buy what they offer now.  Don’t hold out for your favorite album (like I might do for The White Album).

    As far as fun to play, I have personally seen parents and grandparents interested in, at least, watching the game in action.  I still haven’t seen the 50+ crowd interested in playing the game, but they sure love watching the game and listening the great sounds of The Beatles.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]

    Lego Rock Band Update

    • Entire track list revealed (biased opinion, it’s a great list too)

    All American Rejects, “Swing, Swing”
    The Automatic, “Monster”
    Blink-182, “Aliens Exist”
    Blur, “Song 2”
    Bon Jovi, “You Give Love a Bad Name”
    Boys like Girls, “Thunder”
    Bryan Adams, “Summer of 69”
    Carl Douglas, “Kung Fu Fighting”
    The Coral – “Dreaming of You”
    Counting Crows, “Accidentally in Love”
    David Bowie, “Let’s Dance”
    Elton John, “Crocodile Rock”
    Europe, “The Final Countdown”
    Everlife, “Real Wild Child”
    Foo Fighters, “Breakout”
    Good Charlotte, “Girls & Boys”
    The Hives, “Tick Tick Boom!”
    Iggy Pop, “The Passenger”
    Incubus, “Dig”
    Jackson 5, “I Want You Back”
    Jimi Hendrix, “Fire”
    Kaiser Chiefs, “Ruby”
    Katrina & The Waves, “Walking on Sunshine”
    The Kooks, “Naïve”
    KoRn, “Word Up!”
    KT Tunstall, “Suddenly I See”
    Lostprophets, “Rooftops”
    P!NK, “So What”
    The Police, “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
    The Primitives, “Crash”
    Queen, “We Are The Champions”
    Queen, “We Will Rock You”
    Rascal Flatts, “Life is a Highway”
    Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters”
    Razorlight, “Stumble and Fall”
    Spin Doctors, “Two Princes”
    Spinal Tap, “Short & Sweet”
    Steve Harly, “Make Me Smile”
    Sum 41, “In Too Deep”
    Supergrass, “Grace”
    Tom Petty, “Free Fallin”
    T-Rex, “Ride a White Swan”
    Vampire Weekend, “A-Punk”
    We the Kings, “Check Yes Juliet”
    The Zutons, “Valerie”

    • 45 tracks for $50 = 90¢ per song (a bargain)
    • 100% tracks exportable to RB2

    The game appears to be a bargain, at $50 (that’s $10 off the typical game right now).  You get 45 songs, working out to 90¢ per song.  That’s 10¢ less than the cheapest DLC in the Music Store.  Plus, you get a new game with new types of game play.  Though, it’s not really a deal if you plan to do the import/export thing.  It’s $10 to export the Lego songs to RB2, and you actually get the entire set list exported.  What’s really cool about this feature, is any “kid friendly” song from your current and future DLC songs, will immediately be importable into Lego Rock Band.  You can give the kids the Lego disc and have no fear they are playing Aqualung when you are away, but you can gank all their Lego songs for your RB2 playing pleasure.  It’s a win-win to me.  For a total of $60 ($50 for game, $10 for export), it’s typical retail pricing after all.

    • Iggy Pop and David Bowie in game (I do not understand this idea. I would think Taylor Swift or other less ancient characters would be in the game).

    Honestly, why the hell are these old guys getting the Lego makeover and going in to a kids game?  Where’s Taylor Swift?  Where’s the American Idol stars?  Why are they using rock stars from yesteryear in a game that’s designed for kids and purposely using the E10 rating?

    Link to the Harmonix Announcement.

    U2: Rock Band Rumor

    The world is saying “what’s next?” after The Beatles: Rock Band.  There is the quick answer: RBN, Lego Rock Band, the yet to be announced Rock Band 3, and of course more DLC.  But, what about full band games.  Harmonix has already stated in interviews this year that they are working on another band game.  Rumor after rumor (including many wish lists) have popped up all over the Intertubes.  The one rumor that seems to be sticking the most, is U2.

    Think about it.  U2 definitely has the catalog to support a full game, with 12 albums.  They have the standard 4 person band that would fit nice with the available plastic instruments. Their 4 members have been with the band since the early days.  They have a 30 year history to share. Plus, they have yet to put a song in Rock Band.

    Though, don’t forget that Harmonix and Pearl Jam sent out an announcement to fans (just after the release of the album “Ten” on DLC, for help selecting live PJ songs for an “upcoming Rock Band project”.  So, the PJ announcement leads me to believe that we will see even more PJ in the future.  Though, I don’t know if it will be a full game or just DLC.  I’d take a guess at Pearl Jam being just DLC.

    Rock Band Mobile Goes iPhone

    The official announcement came last week that the iPhone version of Rock Band is coming.  It’s as beautiful as the PSP version, and allows multiplayer up to 4 players, via WiFi. 20 songs make it in the game, plus there (of course) will be a Music Store to buy more.  The DLC train never stops.

    The game allows play for all four instruments, via screen taps.  For vocals, you tap the screen where the vocal line is drawn.  The game is destined for gigantic success on iPhone.  The only thing I ask (as a BlackBerry user), where’s the BlackBerry love?

    Here’s the initial setlist:

    Attack-30 Seconds To Mars
    Girls Not Grey – AFI
    Move Along – All-American Rejects
    Sabotage – Beastie Boys
    All The Small Things – Blink-182
    Hanging on the Telephone – Blondie
    Learn To Fly – Foo Fighters
    Everlong – Foo Fighters
    Bad to The Bone – George Thorogood & the Destroyers
    Hymn 43 – Jethro Tull
    Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
    Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Ace of Spades ’08 – Motorhead
    Debaser – Pixies
    Ladybug – Presidents of The United States of America
    Give It All – Rise Against
    Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups
    Cherub Rock – Smashing Pumpkins
    Take The Money and Run – Steve Miller Band
    We Got The Beat – The Go Go’s

    Link to the Harmonix Announcement.

    Official Harmonix Rock Band Podcast, Episode 1

    community_podcast[1]We were treated to the inaugural podcast last week, hosted by HarminoxSean, community manager.  It was a very impressive first podcast too. Great sound quality, several different segments, and top notch interviews from Thim Schaffer (maker of Brutal Legend) and more.  I won’t spoil the whole thing, but if you have an hour to kill and want to get a little more personal with the HMX staff, I suggest you subscribe to it in iTunes, or your favorite RSS reader. By the way, within a few hours of its release, the podcast became the #2 highest downloaded music podcast on iTunes.

    Link to the Harmonix Announcement.

    There is so much more news like this weeks DLC (that Simon already posted about earlier), next weeks Queen DLC too.  This post is already getting long, we will cut it here.

    With that, what’s NWIRB?  NEXT WEEK IN ROCK BAND!

    • Queen and Beatles DLC gets released.
    • Chatter leading up to the release of Lego Rock Band.
  • Sidekick Outage Causes Data Loss and Outrage

    Posted on October 14th, 2009 Simon 1 comment

    tmobile-sidekick-lx-announced-1[1]I’m not much of a Sidekick user/fan, but I am a security junky.  Looks like there was a major outage with T-Mobile’s Sidekicks this week, which resulted in lost data…and very unhappy customers.  Read the article from SANS with additional links.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]

    A server failure appears to be responsible for a massive data loss affecting T-Mobile Sidekick customers. The outage occurred at Danger, a Microsoft subsidiary, which is the Sidekick data service provider. Users lost contacts, pictures, and saved email messages. While it is possible that some data could be restored from a backup system, most is likely gone forever. T-Mobile has suspended sales of Sidekicks for the time being. The company is offering customers a one-month credit to their accounts to compensate for the data loss. The data loss affects customers who conducted a hard reset – removing their phones’ batteries or pressing a reset button. The customers attempted the hard reset because of outages affecting the devices all last week.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33278150/ns/technology_and_science-security/
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9139261/T_Mobile_sidelines_Sidekick_in_wa
    ke_of_data_debacle?taxonomyId=1

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/phones/2009-10-12-sidekick-data_N.htm
    http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/smartphones/showArticle.jhtml?
    articleID=220600351

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2009/10/sidekick_users_see_their_
    data.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/11/AR2009101100109_
    pf.html

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2009/10/12/tsr.tmobile.loses.data.cnn
    Editor’s Note (Ullrich): So much for storing your data “in the cloud”. A local backup sounds like a great idea again. (Pescatore): Ah, the monthly reminder that consumer grade services do not live up to business class needs. (See definition of “extremely rare data loss” in the Apple item below.)]

    *************************************************************************
    SANS NewsBites                     October 13, 2009                    Volume: XI, Issue: 80
    *************************************************************************

    TOP OF THE NEWS

    Sidekick Outage Causes Data Loss and Outrage
    Researchers Claim Botnet Steals Revenue from Google, Yahoo! and Bing

    THE REST OF THE WEEK’S NEWS

    Apple Acknowledges Bug in Snow Leopard Causes Data Loss
    Security Software Locates and Wipes Stolen NHS Computers
    Google Fixes Android DoS Flaws
    Maine Supreme Court to Decide Hannaford Liability
    Twitter Suspended Researcher’s Account for Mentioning Malicious URL
    Inspector General Finds Security Gaps in Some DHS Public-Facing Websites
    Federal Reserve Bank Employee Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Identity Theft
    Federal Charges Filed Against Former DuPont Scientist

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    Protect against the Advanced Persistent Threat and targeted attacks facing US businesses and government agencies. Join fellow IT and Security professionals for this FREE cyber defense seminar from Bit9, the leader in application whitelisting.

    Register today:

    – – Tomorrow, Oct 14th Houston
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    ************************************************************************

    TRAINING UPDATE

    — SANS Tokyo, October 19-24
    https://www.sans.org/sanstokyo2009_autumn/
    — SANS Chicago North Shore, Oct. 26-Nov. 2
    https://www.sans.org/chicago09/
    — SCADA Security Summit, Stockholm, Oct. 27-30
    https://www.sans.org/euscada09_summit/
    — SANS Middle East, October 31-November 11
    https://www.sans.org/middleeast09/
    — SANS San Francisco, November 9-14
    https://www.sans.org/sanfrancisco09
    — SANS Sydney, Nov.9-14
    https://sans.org/sydney09/
    — SANS London, UK, Nov.28-Dec. 9
    https://sans.org/london09/
    — SANS CDI, Washington DC, Dec. 11-18
    https://www.sans.org/cyber-defense-initiative-2009
    — SANS Security East 2010, New Orleans, January 10-18, 2010 – 19 courses, bonus evening presentations
    https://www.sans.org/security-east-2010/
    Looking for training in your own community?
    https://sans.org/community/
    Save on On-Demand training (30 full courses)
    – See samples at https://www.sans.org/ondemand/spring09.php
    For a list of all upcoming events, on-line and live: http://www.sans.org

    *************************************************************************

    TOP OF THE NEWS

    Sidekick Outage Causes Data Loss and Outrage (October 10 & 12, 2009)

    A server failure appears to be responsible for a massive data loss affecting T-Mobile Sidekick customers. The outage occurred at Danger, a Microsoft subsidiary, which is the Sidekick data service provider. Users lost contacts, pictures, and saved email messages. While it is possible that some data could be restored from a backup system, most is likely gone forever. T-Mobile has suspended sales of Sidekicks for the time being. The company is offering customers a one-month credit to their accounts to compensate for the data loss. The data loss affects customers who conducted a hard reset – removing their phones’ batteries or pressing a reset button. The customers attempted the hard reset because of outages affecting the devices all last week.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33278150/ns/technology_and_science-security/
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9139261/T_Mobile_sidelines_Sidekick_in_wa
    ke_of_data_debacle?taxonomyId=1

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/phones/2009-10-12-sidekick-data_N.htm
    http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/smartphones/showArticle.jhtml?
    articleID=220600351

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2009/10/sidekick_users_see_their_
    data.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/11/AR2009101100109_
    pf.html

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2009/10/12/tsr.tmobile.loses.data.cnn
    Editor’s Note (Ullrich): So much for storing your data “in the cloud”. A local backup sounds like a great idea again. (Pescatore): Ah, the monthly reminder that consumer grade services do not live up to business class needs. (See definition of “extremely rare data loss” in the Apple item below.)]

  • Lego: Rock Band Setlist Roundup

    Posted on October 13th, 2009 Simon 1 comment

    lego-rock-band_2

    The final tracks have been revealed, but to nobody’s surprise they consist of mostly unheard of acts, some off-the-wall cover songs and one hidden gem.  Additionally, Harmonix has confirmed that the songs are 100% exportable, for a fee of 800 Microsoft points.

    • Jimi Hendrix, “Fire”

    An unexpected bonus, this is Jimi’s first appearance in a Rock Band game, and if recent trends continue we may get to see a lot more of his music appear in the game.  His music has appeared in that other game a few times.  Here’s the rest of the setlist:

    • Tom Petty – “Free Fallin”
    • Bryan Adams – “Summer of 69”
    • All American Rejects – “Swing, Swing”
    • The Kooks – “Naïve”
    • The Automatic – “Monster”
    • KT Tunstall – “Suddenly I See”
    • Lostprophets -“Rooftops”
    • Boys like Girls – “Thunder”
    • The Primitives – “Crash”
    • The Coral – “Dreaming of You”
    • Ray Parker Jr. – “Ghostbusters”
    • Razorlight – “Stumble and Fall”
    • Spin Doctors – “Two Princes”
    • Spinal Tap, “Short & Sweet”
    • Steve Harly, “Make Me Smile”
    • We the Kings, “Check Yes Juliet”
    • Kaiser Chiefs, “Ruby”
    • The Zutons, “Valerie”
    • Katrina & The Waves, “Walking on Sunshine”
    • Supergrass, “Grace”

    Most of the artist listed above have achieved, arguably, varying levels of success, and some of those songs may or may not get you excited about the game’s already awesome setlist.  Spin Doctors, Kaiser Chiefs, Bryan Adams, Katrina & The Waves, Supergrass, and Tom Petty are all well recognized, good ‘warmup’ bands for people who might not normally want to join the Rock Band party.  Here are the cover songs that I noticed (there could be more):

    • KoRn – “Word Up!”
    • Everlife – “Real Wild Child”
    • Rascal Flatts – “Life is a Highway”

    Yes that is KoRn covering an 80’s club song from Cameo.   If that is not disturbing enough, then here’s the video! (Warning: you can’t “un-see” it).   ‘Real Wild Child’ is of course, by none other than Iggy Pop, who has contributed his song ‘The Passenger’ to the previously announced setlist.  I wonder, why they wouldn’t just use the orignal Iggy Pop version, and then add an original song from Everlife?  Its not like they didn’t take time to model Iggy for his own appearance in the game, so they must have been having discussions with him.  Finally we have a horrible, horrible, horrible Tom Cochrane song that is on every jukebox in Canada (just take my word for it), except that its the more updated Rascal Flatts version.  Here’s hoping that you can selectively delete tracks! Then its good-bye cover songs.

    Overall I’m not impressed to learn about the $10-12 dollars extra I’m charged on top of the price of the game, nor does this ‘backup setlist’ make me want to run out and pre-order the game any faster than I did last week.  On the plus side, we now know everything there is to know about the game, and can patiently wait for its release in November.

  • Xbox Live 1600 Points for $12.99 at Micro Center

    Posted on October 9th, 2009 Simon No comments

    brand[1]xb3601600points[1]Run as fast as you can to your local Micro Center.  I confirmed today, the location in Cambridge, MA has 100+ of the 1600 point Xbox Live cards for only $12.99.  Those are the cards that typically go for $19.99, and I have never seen them lower than $15.99 before today.  How did they get this amazing deal?  Micro Center bought all the inventory from the closing BlockBuster stores at “fire sale” prices.  The BlockBuster price tag of “$20.99” and “$21.99” is still on many of the packages.

    Just to give you some perspective on how fast these will go once word gets out.  I bought 10 of them today.  Some employees of the store had no idea of the price until they saw me carrying a stack.  Then they were talking about picking some up.

    If you are jonesin for some points…go to Cambridge or call your local Micro Center to see if they have any.  Let me know if your local store has the points, and I’ll update the post.

  • Guitar Hero: Van Halen – Initial Reaction

    Posted on October 9th, 2009 Shawn 4 comments

    guitar-hero-van-halen[1]This is called “Initial Reaction” versus “First Impression” because I have only had the game in my possession for a total of 2 hours, and have given it about 25 minutes of play time. With that, let’s jump in.

    I am a HUGE Van Halen fan, the David Lee Roth years. Some of my favorite albums growing up are Fair Warning and Women and Children First. I appreciate the Sammy years, but it took a lot of counseling before I’d admit that in public. The keyboards just never felt right to me. Then Gary Cherone…well, loved him in Extreme, but didn’t belong in VH.

    Enter Activisions attempt to keep the band games coming, with GH: Van Halen. Even I said, “Really, they are making a full game about Van Halen? Who knew they were popular enough for it?”  I know they are (were) huge, but they aren’t The Beatles. 

    In typical Guitar Hero fashion, there is a quick play mode and a career mode.  Chose career mode and jump right in.  But wait…WTF is on my screen.  It starts with Eddie Van Halen center stage in an arena playing Eruption.  That’s awesome!!  But he has short hair, so it’s Eddie today, not 1974.  So, I’m guessing it’s not in chronological order. Then the rest of the band appears to finish our the instrumental, and you dive right into Panama.  It’s a pretty kick-ass start of a concert, but somethings not right.

    Where’s the intro video of the history of the band?  Where’s a little personality, versus dive right in? Who the hell is the little kid on bass? Wait, what….it’s Eddie’s son Wolfgang.  Ok, that makes sense since the reunited Van Halen does not include 30+ year band bassist Michael Anthony.  He chose (supposedly) not to join the VH reunion tour to boycott DLR rejoining the band.  As far as chronology goes, I’m ok with the short hair Eddie & Dave, with teenager on bass. Back to the story in a minute.

    Game play, for me a drummer, is as fun as it gets. At least for Panama and Ain’t Talking Bout Love (the only two I tried). There’s Expert+ (which typically requires a 2nd bass drum pedal). I don’t have that set up right now, so stayed with Expert. Out of the gate, calibration was off.  I was actually able to get the drums calibrated within a few seconds (unlike the awful calibration system on GH5).

    Vocals are fun to play too.  As far as playability, I’m pretty certain it’s exactly the same game engine as GH: Metallica. I haven’t tried guitar and don’t plan too.

    Back to the story.  I still have a ways to go but, I know this…when the band goes back in time to look like their early days, DLR has long hair and wears spandex; Eddie has his long curly locks.  All as expected, except….that teenager is still on bass guitar.  So, even though Michael Anthony actually played the bass on every single VH song in the game, his mug shot got cut from the entire game.  THAT’S A FRIGGIN’ DISGRACE!  I don’t know who I’m more upset with, VH for allowing this, or Activision/Neversoft for only bringing in the bands current lineup. 

    From what I have seen so far, this game is going to be amazing to play (if you are an old, old school VH fan).  It looks like there is no story or band background (unlike the stellar history lesson you get with The Beatles: Rock Band).  Only the current lineup is visualized in the game.  What a HUGE missed opportunity to make a history lesson of the Evolution of Van Halen in this game.  It would have been incredible to talk about the early years of the band partying, playing at colleges, getting pissed about having brown M&M’s in their dressing room.  Then talk about the transition after 1984 to Sammy Hagar, and actually have Sammy in the game.  Then maybe even toss in a Cherone song for sh!t’s and giggles. It really is a fun story, and could have been captured so well, with a TON of DLC opportunities.

    So, based on my 25 minute experience with the game…..I say, if you are a VH (with DLR) fan, buy it….buy it, play it, and love it.  If you are a Sammy fan, curse it, and boycott Activision.  If you are a fan of factual depiction, place a hex on anyone involved in the creation of the game…because nothing you see on screen is factual.  Nothing!

    For me, a drummer, a singer, and a DLR fan……I love it!  Time to stop typing and play some more.

  • Guitar Hero 5 Demo Now on XBox Live

    Posted on October 9th, 2009 Simon No comments

    guitarherologoMajor Nelson has updated his blog to announce that the demo for Guitar Hero 5 is now available.  The demo is a fully functional ‘Party Mode’ with three songs on an endless loop.  The three songs are “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend, “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down, and finally “Rock Show” by Blink 182.  If you are new to the game (and why else would you download the demo) anyone can join in the game at any time, with a seamless drop-in/drop-out feature that doesn’t interrupt people already playing.    The demo weighs in at 478 Mb and is available from the XBox Live Marketplace today.

    If you missed out on the Van Halen – Amazon deal (because you are Canadian) or decided to purchase The Beatles: Rock Band instead, then I’m afraid that this demo is a poor representation of all of the features available in Guitar Hero 5.   I know we don’t write much about this series, but there is no denying that Guitar Hero 5 is the pinnacle of the franchise.

  • RB: DLC 10/13/09 – Metal, Metal, Metal (…also Kansas)

    Posted on October 9th, 2009 Simon 1 comment

    RBDLC_prog_punk_power

    This pack is f’n metal.  Headbangers, thrashers, shredders, and metalheads, prepare for one of the hardest weeks of DLC of the year, “The Prog, Punk and Power Pack.”    This is yet another awesome list of full volume heavy metal, punk and thrash featuring more music from the most hardcore bands that Rock Band 2 has to offer.   For all you expert players in search of higher scoring challenges, this is the week you were waiting for!  Plus it comes out on the 13th which is aguably the most metal day of the month.

    Don’t like metal?  No problem, and Harmonix would like it if you played some live Kansas instead.  No, not studio quality Kansas; this is live- and it sounds like about 50 instruments on stage playing all at the same time.  This is the “Prog” side dish of your DLC meal if you were wondering how this all goes together.

    Without further delay here are the tracks:

    blacktideYou can’t go wrong with Black Tide, their music is like a cutting edge version of classic power metal.  “Shockwave” is one of the songs I like to warm-up with when I’m on drums.   Joe Satriani’s songs are instrumental, meaning there is no vocal track at all (similar to Rush’s “YYZ”).  I was fortunate enough to see Satch live at the Fox Theater in Detroit many years ago, and made his first appearance in Harmonix’s original Guitar Hero 1.  You may be thinking that L7 doesn’t belong beside Testament and Motorhead, but if you listen to “Andres” you may change your mind, in my opinion it is far more representative of the band, perhaps also their best track.   I’m happy to see more Blink 182, and this track in particular should have been released with one of the previous Blink 182 packs.  Nonetheless its always good to see more music from established artists in the game.

    kansasAs I mentioned there are also two more from Kansas, both live tracks, and both feature keyboard and violin solos!  How much do you want to bet that Harmonix has mapped the violin riffs to the lead guitarist ?   I understand that this is preferable to looking at an empty note highway while the rest of the band plays the song without you, but couldn’t they just stick to songs that at least don’t have keyboard solos?  Kansas’s other song (no, not Dust in the Wind) was parodied in South Park’s infamous Guitar-Queer-O and featured in Rock Band 2.   I always try to summon my best Randy Marsh when I sing Wayward Son.

    Next week’s selection should have something for everyone, and if you’re like me at all (you have to buy SOMETHING each week to support the game) I recommend “Show me the Way” or “Andres” should put you in a very metal mood.  As usual the prices are unchanged, 160points per track, and will be available on Tuesday October 13 on the XBox 360 marketplace.

  • TWIRB: RBN Is Open, Drum Pedal Warranty Extensions, More DLC

    Posted on October 8th, 2009 Simon No comments

    It’s the return of THIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND! Simon has been doing a great job with the rock Band happenings lately, and it’s much appreciated (by me at least). Though, I do miss the TWIRB pieces that I used to write, plus there is so much Rock Band news within the past week. So, here goes THIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND!

    Rock Band Network Tools & Documentation Available

    MyGGGoRBNIcon

    Just two days ago, we got word that the Rock Band Network (RBN) left its “closed” beta phase, which was invite only, and moved into the “open” beta.  The open beta is free for anyone interested.  Well, sort of free.  First of all, right now RBN is only for the following people:

    • Musicians
    • Music producers
    • Content charters/authors
    • Players willing to “play test” unreleased songs
    • and most importantly, those with money to spare.

    In order to use RBN, you must have a Windows PC, an Xbox 360 with Rock Band 2, and a Microsoft XNA Premium Membership (price $99 p/year).  Those items, plus Harmonix’ free Windows-based application MAGMA, will allow you to “play test” any available song in the RBN web site (http://creators.rockband.com).

    If you are more of the musician, producer, or want to dabble in charting your (or other peoples) songs, you can take it a step further.  You’ll still need all the items required for play testing, plus you will need a digital audio workstation (or DAW as the cool kids call it).  The Harmonix recommended application is Reaper (price $60) which is what Harmonix’ authors use to chart Rock Band DLC.  Along with Reaper, Harmonix worked with Reaper to develop add-ons for Reaper, helping with color coding, and other RBN authoring optimizations.

    Finally, all the documentation you need, plus links to download MAGMA, Reaper, and the Reaper add-ons can be found at the RBN web site (http://creators.rockband.com).

    You may know that MyRBN (the spin-off of MyGGGO) is already entrenched in RBN authoring and is looking for people to help do some guitar authoring. If interested in trying this out (even if it’s new to you, since it’s new to just about everyone), let us know.

    Link to the Harmonix Announcement.

    Drum Pedal Warranty Update

    broken_rockband_pedal_2[1]If you own the Rock Band 1 drum kit, then chances are you have broken 1 or more drum pedals.  For me, it was two before I gave up and built my own custom pedal. Harmonix (who was under a class action law suit about that very pedal), announced on October 1 “We are now honoring warranty requests for plastic Rock Band bass drum pedals past the official 60-day limit”. Basically, from now until March 30, 2010, EA will honor warranty replacements for the Rock Band 1 drum kit pedals without any proof of purchase.  Just contact at http://support.ea.com/rockband and a new pedal will be sent to you.  This does not include Rock Band 2 or Beatles Rock Band drum kits.  Nice job EA and Harmonix, and well done as it forced the end of the law suit.

    Link to the Harmonix Announcement.

    DLC of the Week

    Already released on Tuesday (today on PS3) is the weeks DLC (Raconteurs, Alanis, Electric Six, Flobots). See Simon’s earlier post for the details.  It’s another great mix this week.

    With that, what’s NWIRB?  NEXT WEEK IN ROCK BAND!

    • Two weeks until Beatles and Queen DLC. Huge, HUge, HUGE NEWS!
    • iPhone Rock Band. The details are floating around and we will bring you more details next week.
  • Prototype (for Xbox 360) Status Update

    Posted on October 5th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    You may have read my earlier trail of Prototype posts, so I figured it’s time for a status update. My affair with Protoype began on July 9 when Amazon listed the game for PS3 and 360 at only $39.98 as the “Video Game Deal of the Day”.  For a newly released game that normally sells for $60 and receiving decent reviews, I couldn’t pass it up.  That’s when I took a break from the plastic drums on Rock Band 2, and became hooked on Prototype.  My 2nd post came on August 21, when I raved about “Loving Prototype on Xbox 360“.

    I have been told by gamers, that my review on this 3rd person shooter/slasher type of game is refreshing and different.  Why are my reviews different than others? Possibly because I have never played Halo…Not Halo 1, 2, 3, or ODST.  I’ve never seen any Halo gameplay, or watched someone else play Halo.  I did download the Halo Wars demo and played for about 5 minutes before jumping back to Rock Band 2.  So, my take on a game like Prototype is definitely different from the average gamer.

    With that, if you read my post from August 21, you know that I definitely got my $40 worth of gaming with Prototype.  It has been my game of choice for the entire summer.  Now that the summer is over, I’m nearing completion of the story (and I won’t give too many spoilers here), but still enjoying it…to an extent.

    Achievement Status:

    As of this morning, I’ve only unlocked 40% of the achievements, and have 16 of the total 40.  That translates into 240 of 1,000 available gamerscore points. There’s still a lot to collect.  This week, I’m going to shoot for achieving the following, which should be easy and I should have done them a while ago.

    Cleanup Kill 15 characters with a single Whipfist attack.

    Misconception Destroy 25 Infected Water Towers before they hatch.

    Speed Bumps Run over 500 characters in a single tank.

    In The Web Consume 50 Web Targets.

    Unnatural Selection Acquire all available upgrades.

    Game Progress:

    I just finished off Elizabeth Greene (if you haven’t gotten to that stage, OMG), which took me several attempts and had to look up on the internet for some tips. Once you get to fight Greene, make sure you block off about 30-45 minutes to take her down. I won’t spoil how to take her down or what weaponry you need. Now, I’m off to destroy the blood pump facility. I think there are only 2 or 3 more missions left to complete the story.

    What I Still Love:

    The fun factor still exists, the intensity continues to grow, the weapon and skill upgrades continue to allow the character (Alex Mercer) to evolve.  All those elements continue the fun factor.  I’m currently loving using armor and the fully upgraded blade to slash enemies to pieces, plus using my fully upgraded devastators to wreak havoc on everything nearby.

    What I’m Not Loving As Much:

    Although, there are still some corners of NYC that I haven’t completely explored, I’d love the ability to cross the Brooklyn Bridge or swim across the Hudson River to get to some other land.  The good and bad of the game is the entire island of Manhattan is available from the beginning of the game.  The good, Manhattan is huge and takes a long time to fully explore.  The bad, you never leave Manhattan.  There is no completing this map and moving to another map.

    I’m still OK with this, since Manhattan is so large, but I am getting a little tired of Times Square.

    What’s Needed:

    The game is a complete package, with a good character, great weapons, great enemies, good (but not incredible) graphics, and very good sound.  What’s missing is two things.

    Some type of multiplayer.  My wife hates me playing Prototype, because she can’t join in via couch co-op.  Every time one of my 100 Xbox Live friends log in, I can’t play with them (which I am so used to with Rock Band and other music games).  I miss playing with the community, and stuck in a single player mode.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE single player games, but would love the ability to invite a friend in to play.

    The other thing missing is downloadable content.  This game is ready for some add-ons.  Basically, it needs a new map with some added story line.  Even just outside Manhattan to another borough, or to some other far-off land where maybe there is the “prequel” map.  If Manhattan is getting old to me, the casual gamer, I have to imagine that hard-core gamers are hating the game after a few months of the same map.

    What’s Next For Me:

    I’m trying to finish the story.  I just killed off Elizabeth Greene two nights ago.  I believe I have completed 37/40 missions, so it’s almost over.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the story ends.  That’s the big piece for me.

    I’m also going to try to knock out the achievements I listed above.  They should be fairly easy to get.  I’m not so interested in getting all the achievements, though.

    After I knock out Prototype, I don’t plan on buying any other 1st person or 3rd person games.  I will probably try the free Fable II Episode 1 that came out last week for Xbox Live Gold members.  I may also try to complete the Grand Theft Auto IV story. (That’s the only other non-music game I own).

  • RB: DLC Queen 10-Pack and Abbey Road on 10/20/09

    Posted on October 2nd, 2009 Simon 2 comments

    abbeyroad

    The Countdown to 1000 songs continues!  October 20, 2009 will be the most memorable day to date in Rock Band DLC history, with the equivalent of TWO full album releases simultaneously! 10 tracks from the legendary band Queen and the first DLC for TB: RB, 1969’s Abbey Road.

    Harmonix has confirmed all ten tracks included in the Queen pack, and you may recall that they have previously revealed that two more tracks will be included with Lego: Rock Band (“We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You”).  The 10 Queen songs that will be available via DLC include:

    • “Another One Bites the Dust”
    • “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
    • “One Vision”
    • “Fat Bottomed Girls”
    • “I Want It All”
    • “I Want to Break Free”
    • “Killer Queen”
    • “Somebody to Love”
    • “Tie Your Mother Down”
    • “Under Pressure”

    On the same date, the first DLC for Harmonix’s latest game, The Beatles: Rock Band arrives as promised, 1969’s legendary Abbey Road.  The full album will available for a reported 1360 points or 160 points for each track.  It has been also reported that players will be able to play the entire 16-minute medley, from “Money” to “The End”, likely in a new in-game challenge.  “Come Together”, “Octopus’s Garden”, “Here Comes The Sun”, “The End”, “Something” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” were included on the game disc.  No further details have been released as to the inclusion of new dreamscapes, new content or photos.

    • “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”
    • “Oh! Darling”
    • “Because”
    • “You Never Give Me Your Money”
    • “Sun King”
    • “Mean Mr. Mustard”
    • “Polythene Pam”
    • “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”
    • “Golden Slumbers”
    • “Carry That Weight”
    • “Her Majesty”

    Whether or not you plan on purchasing any of the tracks on October 20th, there’s no arguing that Harmonix has outdone themselves once again.   I’m completely convinced that the 1000 track threshold will be crossed in December as promised, considering the volume of tracks coming out week after week.

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