Conan O'Brien playing Rock Band

Since I got my repaired guitar for Rock Band (looks like there was a design flaw that they've since corrected in other shipments, thankfully), it's the only game I spend any time playing. When I hear a song that's in Rock Band come on the radio, my ears try to pick out the guitar or drum line, and I visualize the notes in the guitar line scrolling down towards me as in the videogame. It really does engage you with music in a very deep way. It's the same bond I feel with classical pieces I played when I was in the violin section of various youth orchestras.

I'm not the only one who feels that way. In just two months since Rock Band launched, players have purchased more than 2.5 million new songs to add to their game libraries! I'm responsible for at least a good 10 to 12 of those song purchases. $1.99 for a song I can play forever in the game seems entirely reasonable to me. I would love to see them allow third parties to offer songs for the game, though, as the trickle of 3 new songs a week already feels paltry (though they added some Oasis songs this week--can't wait to try my hand at those!).

This past weekend, the morning after one particular late-night Rock Band session, I found a notice hanging on my front door for a Community Violation. The box for "loud music" was checked off. At first I was perturbed, but then a certain sense of pride took hold as I realized I was still young enough to keep the neighbors up.

My one and primary complaint is that stand-alone guitars are still not available for the game, so you can't play with a full four piece band. Unless you invite over a Rock Band-playing friend who plays it on the same console as you do and is willing to bring over their guitar, you're limited to playing either guitar or bass but not both. That guitars from one game, like Guitar Hero, don't work with other games, like Rock Band, is extremely disappointing as they all use the same basic control scheme.

My only guess on this is that they rushed the game out for the holidays and couldn't ramp up production in time to have stand-alone guitars available. Forecasting in the gaming industry seems dodgy, at best. You'd think after so many years that the Nintendo Wii would be readily available, but no.