Rock Band as Art

Fantastic piece of writing and history of a game genre by Ben Kuchera for The PA Report, arguing that the Rock Band series is a good example for video games as art:

The game leverages every strength of the medium in order to share a very specific feeling, and the final product re-creates that emotion with great skill. When people bring up games as art they often talk about games that look like art, as if recreating a certain aesthetic is enough to be effective. Other people point to a game’s writing, which may be done artfully, but it still doesn’t make the game itself art.

The power of Rock Band comes from the ability to bring people together, teach them a skill, and then as they get better at the interaction it rewards them with a feeling that few have experienced before.

Rock Band is something that I have spent a large amount of time and money investing in and getting better at. It’s a shame that it appears based on retail listings that the entire series is now apparently completely done—even the manufacturer of the plastic instruments doesn’t appear to be stocking them anymore, and as we transition to a new console generation next year I will not be surprised when the DLC releases are stopped.

In any case, it’s been a fun ride while it’s lasted and I’m sure I’ll be playing it for a long time to come.

I’ll completely agree that the series is art and is a fantastic way to experience music with your friends. A lot of late Friday nights happened at the Markel house with good friends, good music, and plastic instruments.

I loved this, too:

Another important bit of testing was described by Dan Teasdale, and proved prophetic: the team would grab people coming out of clubs and bars to make sure the game was playable even after you’ve had a number of alcoholic beverages. Teasdale bluntly called it “drunk testing,” and stated the importance of a user interface that was easy to navigate even while inebriated. After the game was launched and became a success, many bars actually began hosting Rock Band nights where you could drink while taking turns playing your favorite songs on the stage while your friends belted out the lyrics into a beer-drenched microphone. The drunk testing paid off.

Maybe we should be drunk-testing WordPress. :)

2 thoughts on “Rock Band as Art

  1. The whole “are videogames art” argument is terribly overplayed, although Ben’s piece that you point to is really great. At the end of the day, if games are art to you, then they’re just that. Though it’s an argument that really will never know an end, I’ve always been on the side supporting games as art.

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