Sunday, September 19, 2010

Maggie Does Rock Band

Lover and my kids have recently acquired Beatles Rock Band. In case you're not familiar, Rock Band is a video game that comes with a fake drum set and fake guitar. The object is to play sequences of real rock songs as accurately as possible on said not real instruments. Lover & Things 1  & 2 are quite competent at it, after only a few days. Every so often, Thing 1 & Thing 2 (5 and 6) each take half of the drum set as their responsibility while Lover operates the foot pedal. Later, when Things 1 & 2 have gone to school or bed, Lover will take on the drums himself. 

The other day, he asked me to join him on the Not Real Guitar. I am a fan of racing video games (Need for Speed ahh!)(I could beat you) and I wasn't reading a book, so I did.

I should mention now that I consider myself a bit of a musician. I mean, I play a bit of piano. When I was 17, I was a competition bagpiper (a phrase that I have said so often that I no longer contemplate its oddity). In college, I played harp and bodhran and tin whistle and led a Celtic band that toured 'round and made us some money. Now I have a guitar, too, that I fool around with. I do that whole writing music thing. Anyway, like I said, I consider myself a bit of musician.

So it should come as no surprise to you whatsoever that when I picked up that Rock Band plastic guitar and gripped the fretboard firmly and heard the familiar strains of my favorite Beatles song coming forth ("Hello Goodbye"), that I . . . sucked.

Oh yes, I sucked. Not just a little. A lot. And I perfected my suckage as the evening went on. They say practice makes perfect, yes? In fact, I even think I say that. Oh ho ho but it is not true when it comes to Maggies and Rock Band. The more I played, the worse I got. I got so bad by the end of the evening that the game was kicking me off and telling me I sucked so badly that the other player had to verify my joining back in. I got so bad that the game had to invent a new scoring system to accommodate my failure to play along. My not-real-playing grew so odious that flocks of 13 year old boys who had beat the game and made new high records while eating Cheetos and listening to other records laughed all over the world.

Oh, Lover enjoyed this hugely. He found it things like Ironic and Hilarious and Long-Awaited.

Me, I am finding it hard to walk through the living room without sneering at the little plastic guitar. It's going down, one of these days. Either through skill or by fire. Be afraid, Rock Band. Be afraid.


12 comments:

Zoƫ Marriott said...

Welcome to my world. Be glad you only have to visit when you're playing a fake plastic guitar instead of ALL THE TIME (I'm pretty sure my penny whistle ran away and joined the circus just to avoid having me play it anymore).

Variety said...

I've come to the conclusion that the game was invented to not work for true musicians. Everyone I know who really does play an instrument (including myself) does worse on Rock Band. Personally, I suck at it. It's not accurate, and the timing is actually not exact, so those with really GOOD rhythm can't get it.

Bookworm1858 said...

I've never played Rock Band, just Guitar Hero which is similar and I suck at it despite years of music training in piano and viola. I agree with Variety that actual musicians suck at it because we're so used to the techniques to play actual instruments.

scarls17 said...

I had the same problem. As a musician, I assumed I'd be great at it, but I had to learn to play how the game wanted me to. At first it was awful, but now I'm pretty good so stick with it! And forget everything you know about the song-that's essential.

Solvang Sherrie said...

We have both Rock Band and Guitar Hero and let me tell you, it took me a LONG time to learn how to play that stupid NOT guitar. But it's such a blast playing those games with the family!

danaalisonlevy said...

As a wise writer once said, a little suckage is good for the soul (and the ego, and the writing). So enjoy the counterbalance to your current wonderful success in other pursuits! Oh, and speaking of bodhrans and the like, if you don't yet know them, check out the Newfoundland (Canada) band Great Big Sea. They rock a fierce kitchen party with trad. and new music and are insanely fun in concert. Personally I prefer their trad. stuff (their own work can be kind of pop-ish, though there are a few gems...) Anyway, check out the album Courage and Patience and Grit to get a good sense of them. And best of luck on Rock Band.

frootjoos said...

Rock Band is a godsend for people like me who can't play an instrument. Hubby and I usually fight for rights to the bass. I can sing, though, and it's confusing to play with Harmonizing on on--it makes me realize I've been inventing my own harmony to Beatles songs over the years and it makes it really hard to sing the one that's included with the game for actual point-scoring/staying alive purposes.

Crystal Cook said...

I am laughing wickedly that finally we have found something that you are not supremely gifted at.

Okay, that was mean, I'm not really laughing wickedly, I'm just laughing because your post was so hilarious :)

Staar84 said...

I keep forgetting you play/played bagpipes and bodhran (which makes you even more awesome) so I was wondering if you've heard of the band Albannach? They're...Celtic rock? Traditional lyrics (When they use them) and fantastic drumming and piping.

http://www.albannachmusic.com/

Chloe Mendez said...

Oh, Maggie. I used to rock at Rock Band (how funny is that?) and then I learned to play the guitar. Now, I suck at Rock Band. Lesson? Playing the actual instrument does not help you with playing the fake instrument. You keep wanting to reach for the chords, and then you press the wrong buttons. And for the drums, you keep wanting to get settled grooving into a beat and adding all sorts of cool stuff, but you have to stick to the by the book stuff they put on there. Rock Band is not for us real musicians. It's for the people who wish they were musicians but won't put forth all of the effort, instead playing some game that doesn't help with anything.

Em (Super Reader Girl) said...

I LOVE Rock Band! Did Hubby give you any pointers before you started? I bet you'll get it. It took me a few tries, but now guitar is actually my best Rock Band instrument...well, maybe after vocals assuming it's not a super low song. :)

Wolfgirl40 said...

I play piano in real life and cannot manage either Guitar Hero or Rock Band. The best thing about them is the bonding time. I play it with my extended family when we get together on Thanksgiving Christmas and New Years Day. Maybe if I practiced in between times I would get better. Possibly.

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