All right; time to detail the first of the donation incentives for Extra Life this weekend!

As always, I’ll be opening my stream with some Rock Band. I have a history of always opening with “The Hellion/Electric Eye” from Judas Priest and then playing what I feel like for the remainder of the hour.

To participate in the donation incentive, either:

  • Make the donation and indicate your choice in the donation comment, or
  • Make the donation and make sure the name you choose matches your name in chat and then tell me what you want in chat


  • Any $10 donation entitles you to choose a track from my library for me to play (details on the library below).
  • Any $25 donation entitles you to force me to change instrument to your choice between Guitar, Bass, and Drums. I will start on Guitar.
  • EXCEPTION TO THE ABOVE: “Free Bird” requires a $100 donation.

I have set aside some time in the schedule for some overflow. If enough donations come in requesting songs, I’ll keep playing!

To view the list of songs you can choose from, go here:

Click the button at the top that says “User Code,” and enter the code:


This will show you the tracks I have available. Please note that some tracks may not yet be available to me in Rock Band 4; if you choose one of these I’ll let you know and you’ll get to choose an alternate track.

And remember: if I break my $2,000 goal for donations this year, you’ll get an hour of me on Expert Vocals! Tell your friends.

Rock Band will start this upcoming Saturday at 8 a.m. I hope I’ll see you there!

(For more information on my Extra Life marathon, please see this post.)

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. :)

Good sight-reads (includes one track that was released in the first pack but I hadn’t cleared in RB3 yet). :) Chord-heavy, but generally fun to play and some decent challenge in there with the patterns.

Maroon 5 is one of those bands I enjoy listening to for reasons that aren’t quite clear even to me. I was happy to see some more tracks in the Music Store.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up the Pat Benatar pack for Rock Band, mostly out of curiosity. Last night I played “Love Is a Battlefield” for the first time and found it to be a lot more fun than I was expecting. I suppose I hadn’t listened to what the guitar was doing in the background before.

I did 95% on sightread, which was good enough for 1,496th on the leaderboard.

It’s not the best Benatar on Rock Band, though; that honor goes to “Heartbreaker.”

My Rock Band activity page is here, by the way. I really wish Harmonix provided RSS feeds or another way to ingest this information elsewhere. I turned on the Facebook integration today, but I prefer to bring this stuff into my own site where I can control it.

Rock Band forum thread is here.

Days of Peace Pack 01

  • Jefferson Airplane – “Somebody to Love”
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears – “Spinning Wheel”
  • Santana – “Black Magic Woman”

Sold. A thousand times sold, just for “Black Magic Woman,” but “Somebody to Love” is an unexpected treat.


DragonForce – “Through the Fire and Flames”
DragonForce – “Operation Ground and Pound”

I’m not sure I want to put myself through this again, though honestly “Through the Fire and Flames” has some good memories attached to it. And it’s kind of stupid fun, even if it is ridiculous.

I present as proof:

Guitar porn.

I hate Poni Hoax’s “Antibodies.” It isn’t fun to play. It’s not even really a good song. And it’s ridiculously under-tiered in Rock Band 3 for Guitar.

It’s possible this is just one of those songs I can’t wrap my five-button-brain around, but I expect much better of myself for a Tier 3 song. I couldn’t one-lighter this one fast enough.

Rock Band Pro mode is all about potential. It’s about the individual player’s potential to move on up to the next, optional level of difficulty in the game, and, eventually, the player’s potential to make real music with a real instrument. And as Harmonix reps told us, it seems “designed to show the potential of what the music category can do in gaming” — if anything can answer that question of whether music games can translate to the real world, this mode will do it.

My anticipation for the new challenges inherent in Pro Mode is at a ridiculously high level. It’s like taking Expert in Rock Band 2 and then pushing it over a cliff.

But it’s a really awesome cliff.

(via Preview: Rock Band 3 Pro mode | Joystiq.)