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  • Rock Band 3, under $40 All Platforms

    Posted on November 25th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Happy Thanksgiving from Harmonix and Amazon!  Go now and grab Rock Band 3 for $20 off regular retail price.
    Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 $39.95, Wii $34.95

  • Another Day, Another Date..Rock Band 3 MIDI Adapter

    Posted on November 24th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    It looks like we have yet another potential release date for the Rock Band 3 MIDI adapter, by Mad Catz. (See my multiple earlier posts about other dates.) As I was trolling around Amazon.com today, I stumbled on the upcoming release page, which had the adapter listed.

    This time, we get December 20 as the listed date.  To continue the confusion, if you click into any of the links to pre-order, the detail pages still say December 26.

    One thing is for certain, there was some major disconnect with the distribution and communication with retail. Multiple dates have been listed, come & gone, online pre-orders failing upon checkout, and other oddities.

  • Rock Band MIDI, Delayed Until Post-Christmas

    Posted on November 20th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    I figured, I’d check on the release date status of the Rock Band 3 MIDI Adapter (by Mad Catz), which has been pushed back a couple times since the launch of the game. What I just learned, has me more than concerned.

    The MIDI adapter allows real keyboards (you know electronic piano), real electronic drums, and potentially MIDI guitars to connect to your game console (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) for use within Rock Band 3.

    The game came out on October 26, with many (me included) expecting the MIDI adapter to be available upon launch. We quickly learned that the release date had been changed, supposedly due to all adapters being recalled to the manufacturer because of recurring sync issues. Amazon had the new release date as November 26, but Sears/Kmart had the date of November 9. As of November 9, Sears/Kmart web sites stated it was available for purchase, but when I attempted to check out, I’d got an error stating that it was not available. Also, no physical Sears/Kmart’s in the area had them in stock or knew of its existence. The Mad Catz web site has November 26 as the release date for the Xbox version, but the PS3 and Wii versions are still not dated.

    A quick check today over at Amazon, left me a bit sad. Their release date has been changed to December 26. I have faith in Amazon’s dates, which is really unfortunate if it comes true. For me, I spent time/money getting my Roland drum set with all the correct pieces in place for the “Pro Drums” experience of Rock Band 3, but have not been able to take advantage of it due to the lack of this adapter.

    I guess my New Years Eve party will rock out with my new Pro Drums setup. Until then, I will keep working on my Pro Keys skills.

  • Alan Wake Limited Edition for only $30

    Posted on November 18th, 2010 Shawn 3 comments

    You may not know this, but Alan Wake is likely going to be one of my favorite games of the year.  I just learned that Amazon has Alan Wake: Limited Edition (that’s the $80 version), which comes with all the stuff below:

    Limited Collectors Edition
    Hardbound in quality linen, the packaging is designed to resemble a hardcover book and will include:

    • Game Disc in box with unique art
    • Exclusive In-Game Audio Commentary and Hints by Remedy
    • “The Alan Wake Files” – a 144pg book that includes a short story written by Alan Wake and compiles the FBI dossiers investigating the events in Bright Falls
    • Exclusive Xbox bonus disc with special content:
      • Exclusive Xbox Theme & Avatar
      • PDLC #1 Token
      • Video Documentaries/Behind the Scenes:
        • The Theme of Alan Wake
        • The World of Bright Falls
        • The People of Bright Falls
        • Alan’s Missions
    • Exclusive Audio Disc with Soundtrack and Score

    I don’t own the game yet, but have played the first 2 “episodes”.  The game is scary as hell, a great thriller story, and fun to play.  I recommend you jump on this deal pronto!

  • Rock Band 3, 15th Place in October Sales

    Posted on November 17th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    The October NPDs (listing of retails sales) for video games have been released. The news for Rock Band 3, is dismal. It came in 15th place, which is of major concern. Some will immediately jump to the conclusion that the game was released with only day days remaining in the month (October 26) and didn’t have enough time to make the big sales. Though, Fable III came out the same day and ended up at 4th place.

    With Harmonix up for sale, thanks to Viacom stating they are getting out of the music gaming business, and their flagship game failing to jump off to great sales numbers…this Rock Band fanboy is filled with lots of concern for the future of the franchise.

    Remember, Rock Band 2 also didn’t jump off to a great start. At the time, Guitar Hero World Tour was outselling Rock Band 2, 2-to-1. Neither of those games dominated NPD’s. Going back a bit further, to Rock Band 1, a quote from Viacom CFO Tom Dooley “Rock Band was the number-one game title for 2008 by revenue across all game genres, with more than 10 million units shipped worldwide since its launch”.

    Rock Band has gone from the best selling game of 2008, to the 2nd best selling rhythm game of 2009, now to 15th place on NPDs. I’m hoping the infusing of weekly DLC continues to make the franchise strive.

    Reposted from Joystiq:

    Top 10 bestselling games for October 2010:

    1. NBA 2K11 – 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS – Take 2 Interactive
    2. Fallout: New Vegas – 360, PS3, PC – Bethesda Softworks
    3. Medal of Honor – 360, PS3, PC – Electronic Arts
    4. Fable III – 360 – Microsoft
    5. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II – 360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS – LucasArts
    6. Halo: Reach – 360 – Microsoft
    7. Just Dance 2 – Wii – Ubisoft
    8. FIFA Soccer 11 – PS3, 360, Wii, PS2, PSP, NDS, PC
    9. Madden NFL 11 – 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP
    10. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 – PS3, 360, PS2, Wii, PSP

  • Kinect, Great Start. Will it Continue?

    Posted on November 17th, 2010 Shawn 3 comments

    Microsoft’s motion control sensor which connects to Xbox 360’s has sold over 1 million units in its first 10 days. I’ll admit, that’s a great start. I’m still skeptical of the overall success though. Here are some of my thoughts.

    • Distance Requirements – Kinect requires a 6-10 foot distance for you to stand from the sensor, in order for it to pick up your entire body and movement. For two players, it requires more space. I can’t imagine the average living room will have this amount of available space, without relocating things like coffee tables and couches. Do you have a 20″ x 20″ 20′ x 20′ (or larger) room where you game?
    • After the Launch excitement Fades – Once the reviewers stories and fanboys excitement calms down, what will the average consumer think about this peripheral? Sure, it looks fun, but so does the Wii. Sure, you can control beautiful games with your body, but so does the Wii (sort of). Yes, the Wii sold many millions of units, but will another similar device grab that audience again.
    • Return Rate – When people try Kinect, what will people do when/if they realize it doesn’t work in their small house? Will they shelve it (like many Wii users did), or will they return it and spend their $150 on something else?
    • Price – At $150 – $200, this add-on peripheral is not cheap. Makes sense, there’s some very impressive technology inside. Plus, it does include the game Kinect Adventures (a typical game of mini games). Kinect is not an impulse buy for the average consumer, due to it’s price and requirement of an Xbox 360. Will it sell to the masses at this price?

    I do see some great potential uses of Kinect, outside of the obvious (Wii like) mini games and exercise games.

    • Achievements – This is for the Xbox hard core gamer. So, not something the casual player will really care about. But, it could draw me (an Xbox and Wii owner) away from the Wii games and over to similar Kinect games.
    • Audio Controls – The ability to control movies, music, and other system navigation via voice commands is quite appealing. I’ve learned that Netflix is not yet supported, though expect that to be remedied with a software update.
    • Video / Audio Chat – Like having the old Xbox Live Camera, Kinect can allow video over Xbox Live and (I believe) via PC too. Plus, it can be used as an ambient microphone for party voice chats. Again, this is appealing for a rhythm game player, who is restricted by wires coming out of drums/guitars.

    By the way, all versions of Kinect are currently sold out at Amazon!

  • Rock Band Radio: Bee Gees, B.B. King, Procol Harum

    Posted on November 12th, 2010 Shawn 2 comments

    Rock Band Slacker RadioThis coming Tuesday, Rock Band fans will be treated to another week of mixed songs. Get ready for a 6-pack from the Bee Gees, and a couple singles from B.B. King and Procol Harum.

    Song title↓ Artist↓ Single / Pack name↓ Release date↓ Pro Guitar/Bass Support↓
    Jive Talkin’ Bee Gees Bee Gees 01 Nov. 16, 2010 No
    Night Fever Bee Gees Bee Gees 01 Nov. 16, 2010 No
    Stayin’ Alive Bee Gees Bee Gees 01 Nov. 16, 2010 Yes
    Nights on Broadway Bee Gees Bee Gees 01 Nov. 16, 2010 No
    Tragedy Bee Gees Bee Gees 01 Nov. 16, 2010 No
    You Should Be Dancing Bee Gees Bee Gees 01 Nov. 16, 2010 No
    The Thrill is Gone B.B. King Single Nov. 16, 2010 Yes
    A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum Single Nov. 16, 2010 No

    These songs, plus all other recent releases have been added to our Rock Band Slacker Radio station. The Slacker station now has a couple thousand songs for you to enjoy in your browser, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Palm, etc, etc.

    INCLUDES ALL SONGS THRU 11/16/10.
    NEW:

    Stone Temple Pilots – 6 pack

    Jimmy Eat World – 3 pack

    The Doors – Greatest Hits: Special Edition

    RushSubdivisions

    Bon Jovi: Greatest Hits: Rock Band Edition

    New OrderBlue Monday

    Talking HeadsBurning Down the House

    DeftonesMy Own Summer (Shove It)


    Direct link to Rock Band Station on Slacker.com
    [ad#post-banner-ad]

  • Rock Band 3 MIDI Adapter, November 9 Release?

    Posted on November 8th, 2010 Shawn 5 comments

    A quick look over at Sears.com states, the Rock Band 3 (Mad Catz) MIDI adapter is to be released on November 9, versus Amazon’s listing of November 28. I stopped a by a local GameStop yesterday, and they didn’t know what it was, didn’t have them in stock, couldn’t find them in their inventory system.

    Does anyone have insight when this will actually be released?
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    In the meantime, I plan to visit my closest Sears at lunch tomorrow and report back.

    UPDATE (11/9): This morning the image on Sears.com and Kmart.com stated that it is now available.  I stopped by both a Kmart and Sears, though neither had it in stock. I also stopped by a GameStop to no avail. In another attempt, I tried buying from Sears.com. Once I got to the checkout screen, I received a notification that is was out of stock and no longer available for shipping. Looks like this date was incorrect.

  • MyGGGo Episode 1 – Rock Band 3 Unboxing

    Posted on November 8th, 2010 Shawn 1 comment

    I shot this footage nearly two weeks ago, though took me a while to figure out how to edit and post this to YouTube. This high-tech stuff is tricky!

    Anyway, here’s the first MyGGGo vidcast. The unboxing of Rock Band 3 with the Keys. Enjoy!

  • Rock Band & Guitar Hero with Real Drums – Part 4: pro setup

    Posted on October 29th, 2010 Shawn 1 comment

    This is Part 4 of a multi-part series.
    Part 1: the discovery
    Part 2: intro and shopping
    Part 3: basic setup
    Part 4: pro setup

    This post is long, LONG overdue.  It began in January 2009 when I discovered that an electronic drum kit could be used to play Rock Band and Guitar Hero (see Part 1). Then I set out to buy the gear needed (see Part 2), which included a Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit. Once we get the basics setup, we are able to play Rock Band and Guitar Hero with Yamaha and Roland drum kits. Now that Rock Band 3 is out, it’s time to finish up this series with the “pro” setup.  How fitting that 21 months ago, I titled this post “pro setup” and Rock Band 3 also calls this “Pro” drums. Great minds think alike, I guess.

    First, lets discuss what my current drum kit consists of. A simple Visio picture should speak a thousand words.

    My Roland/Yamaha Drum Kit

    I did not purchase a specific drum kit. Instead I leveraged the fact that I owned a very old (but fully capable) drum brain, and purchased my drum kit piecemeal. Most came used from eBay, some new from Guitar Center and J&R. in all, I probably spent about $700 over the past 2 years to get this setup.

    There are four drum pads (red PD-7, yellow PD-8, blue PD-8, green PD-8) making up the typical drums on a Rock Band drum kit. I also have three cymbal pads (yellow/blue VH-11, blue CY-8, green CY-8). There is one kick drum pad (Orange KD-8), with a Gibraltar double-kick pedal. For the drum brain, I have a (circa 1994) Yamaha TMX, though any Roland, Yamaha, and some ION brains should do the trick. All of the equipment is mounted on a Roland MDS-10 stand.

    This part is a repeat from Part 3, step 6 to help set the scene for the MIDI note mapping. Configure each pad on your e-drum kits brain with the following MIDI value.  NOTE:  The voice (actual sound) doesn’t matter, what matters is the MIDI value.

    RockBand Settings (CREDIT: Doc_SoCal)

    RED – MIDI Note 38
    YELLOW – MIDI Note 46
    BLUE – MIDI Note 48
    GREEN – MIDI Note 45
    KICK – MIDI Note 36

    GHWT Settings are the same, you just add the orange pad at MIDI Note 49.

    1. I started with the basic Rock Band drum kit setup, 4 pads (RED, YELLOW, BLUE, GREEN) and 1 kick (KICK) pedal. This is all plugged into the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit’s MIDI port.
    2. Next I added a single cymbal, which for Rock Band I mapped to GREEN as a crash cymbal.
    3. I created a second “drum set” in the TMX brain for Guitar Hero, and repeated the MIDI mapping in step 1. For the cymbal, I mapped it to the ORANGE cymbal specifically used in Guitar Hero games. I switch back and forth from my Rock Band “drum set” and Guitar Hero “drum set” depending on which game I use.

      1. NOTE: For Rock Band 3, I currently use just the Guitar Hero drum kit. Rock Band 3 makes use of the Guitar Hero orange pad by mapping it to a cymbal.
    4. Next I added the hi-hat. This is a fully functional hi-hat (though only made up of one cymbal) which sits on a real hi-hat stand, and utilizes the stands hi-hat pedal. It has two 1/4″ inputs for open/closed/pedal voices. For my Rock Band “drum set”, I mapped the closed voice to YELLOW, the open voice to BLUE, and the pedal voice also to YELLOW. The reason for this is in Rock Band games, closed hi-hat sounds are sent to YELLOW, the open hi-hat sounds are sent to BLUE.
    5. Just this week, in preparation for Rock Band 3 Pro Drums mode, I picked up another cymbal pad and mapped it to BLUE. This will give me the third cymbal pad I need for the upcoming Mad Catz MIDI adaptor (coming November 28) for Rock Band 3.
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