Melted Banana Hand – Rocking out with Rock Band

Rock BandWhen Rock Band came out a few weeks ago I was excited to try it out. Luckily my good friend Brian bought it and invited me to try it out. Ever since we’ve been meeting once a week as Melted Banana Hand. My impressions?

It’s more of a game than any of the Guitar Hero’s. Rather than a playing a list of songs and then being done, the idea is that you tour as a band. You will end up playing the same songs more than once but that’s ok because of how it’s done. Instead of finishing a song, your objectives are finishing a set list or finishing a venue. Because of the structure of the game it is also able to incorporate downloaded songs into the game itself rather than just adding it to a list of playable songs in quick play mode like in Guitar Hero.

The Guitar is only O-K. It looks great and I love the addition of the lower fret buttons I just wish they were used more. The game doesn’t force you to use them it simply increases the bonus you get when applicable. It would add even more depth to the game if it were to force you to use the lower frets during solos.

Solos are new to the game. For guitar this simply means added points and most likely faster sections with more notes. For drums this means you can play anything you’d like, which means a lot of fun. For vocals you can say anything you’d like. The solos in the game create a new and very dynamic musical environment.

The drums are impossibly hard. The guitar in Guitar Hero wasn’t easy to begin with but with some practice it got much better and was completely playable on hard. The drums on Rock Band are a completely different story. It’s hard on easy and insanely impossible on medium. Anything beyond that is just crazy talk.

Melted Banana Hand is still meeting once a week and the vocals are always up for grabs considering my friend Brian and I can’t at all. If you’re interested just let me know and I’m sure we can find a spot for you.

Wii Hero III

Wii version of Guitar HeroYou might have already seen my frustration at the Playstation 3 version of Guitar Hero III. I was mostly aggravated at the controller not the game and thankfully the game came out for every system available. I took the PS3 version back to the store and explained that it was broken. In my mind it was broken, because of their proprietary wireless crap every tenth or so note got skipped.

Immediately after returning the PS3 version I purchased the Wii version and brought it home. To my excitement the Wii version works surprisingly well. I have yet to miss a note because of the wireless communication (but I have definately missed a note due to my ineptitude).

The trade in was definitely worth it and I’d highly suggest that if you have a PS3 and a Wii that you buy the Wii version of Guitar Hero. That is unless you like missing every 10th note in Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas”.

It's Good to be Back

Guitar Hero IIIWell, Guitar Hero 3 is finally here! When I sold my PS2 and Guitar Hero last year I was almost on the verge of depression (not literally continue reading). I had grown addicted to the game very quickly and couldn’t believe Sony didn’t support it for the PS3! I suffered withdrawal for the first few weeks but eventually learned to deal with it, with the expectation of playing the PS3 version as soon as it arrived.

Now that I have it I’m only half excited. The game is still excellent and extremely fun, however the new controller leaves a lot to be desired. As soon as I opened the box I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as I had hoped. Rather than making use of the built in Bluetooth wireless technology for some reason they opted for some proprietary wireless crap (probably fast RF or something). This means a little USB dongle that needs to be plugged in to the PS3. Not that big of a deal right? WRONG!

Not only does it use a proprietary wireless technology but just getting the guitar and the PS3 to talk is a nightmare! After fiddling with the sync button on the dongle and the PS button on the guitar for the better half of 10 minutes I consulted the manual. I found nothing of any use. I then checked the packaging that contained the stickers and there it is, the setup guide. Ok so what do I have to do? This is the only way (that I’ve found so far) to get the Guitar and the PS3 to talk.

  1. The PS3 must be off.
  2. Turn the PS3 on using the button on the System (NOT on one of the controllers)
  3. Press the PS button on the guitar
  4. Press the sync button on the dongle
  5. Press the PS button on the guitar
  6. BINGO

How retarded is that? First of all you’re not using proven (available) technology. Second of all the user experience is terrible! I have to turn my PS3 OFF to switch to Guitar Hero? WHAT? I understand the requirement of the guitar becoming Player 1 but guess what? You can already reassign controller numbers with 2 button presses from literally anywhere within the menu system or any game.

It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

Another very minor annoyance is the strum doesn’t click in both directions anymore. If you want the tactile feedback you need to strum in one direction and then the other. Strumming in the same direction twice leads to no feedback the second time.

Beyond that the game itself is solid. Great music, Graphics are awesome. I love the new online play modes as well as some of the new between set animations and the other general feel of the game. I just hate the damn controller. It’s all very silly if you ask me. How hard is it to embed a six-axis control system into a plastic guitar? Some guy already did it by himself so he could play guitar hero 1 and 2.

That being said its good to be back, even if I do end up returning it for the Wii version.

Work the Google on the Internet Machine

Last night I went saw Blades Of Glory with some friends. I give it a 7/10. Lots of good quotes. Some of my favorites:
– you put the bone in zamboni
– Work the Google on the Internet Machine
– Mind-bottling. Like your mind is trapped in a bottle
– It makes my hair shine like the Belt of Orion

Afterward we went downtown. I read this on the wall at O’Callaghans and thought I’d share:

Irish Diplomacy – The ability to tell a man to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to the trip

Ryan came up with an Idea for Guitar Hero. Not going to mention any details but we may be asking for help from everyone so be prepared.

I just read this morning that Michigan is thinking about spending $38 million to buy all of its students IPods? How freaking crazy is that. I’m all for new an innovative ways to teach, but IPods? I don’t get it. When I took calculus it was required that I buy a Graphing Calculator, the state didn’t buy it for me.

Dan’s Video of the day for Friday: Internet Sys Op. Pretty damn funny if you ask me.

Matt introduce me to the New York State Real-Time Transportation Status site. Pretty slick. I can now check to see if it’s worth leaving work or if I should just wait a while until traffic picks back up.

Check out the video below for an innovative 3D desktop idea or for more info check out bumptop. I think it would work great with the multi-touch panels that have been getting so much press recently.