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Malik (1/21/08)

It is officially cold as hell today.  I am on a bit of a break from my day job today.  By "break", I mean that I was hit with a sleet storm last night and now have a few blocks to drive on an inch of solid ice before I can get out on the main roads, so I am refusing to go in to work...

I don't have much to say today.  I am glad that Green Bay lost (serves them right for ending the Seahawk season) and sad that the Chargers failed (I am sick of hearing about the all mighty Patriots).  The Super Bowl will probably not interest me much since the Giants are way out manned on this one.  At least there's always hope since the Giants are damned good on the road.

I also finished Rock Bands solo guitar career on hard.  Green Grass and Flirting With Disaster are both laid to rest.  Now I simply must get my skills down to beat them on expert.  I only have three main songs in the way of feeling good enough for the Endless Setlist on expert...those two and Timmy.  Considering the challenges that await me in the solos of Green and Flirting, I may actually try out practice mode for once.  I think I need to try the hammer-on hell in slower speeds and work up to the real deal while programming my fingers on how to move in the real deal.  At least I hope that does the job for me.  At least I did take on Train Kept Rolling and beat I'm part way to hammer-on understanding.

Anyway, it's too damned cold to type right now (I can't keep my hands from shaking...spell checking this is not going to be fun...), I'll leave things at this.


Malik (1/22/08)

Things will probably be short today on this post. On one hand, I'm back at work (despite my neighborhood still being encased in ice...which is pretty cool, since winter is usually too damned mild in the Seattle area). On the other, I'm back at work and people are f$#@ing with me...a lot.

Anyway, there's a great interview at Gamespot with Paul DeGooyer of Harmonix. It's worth a read for any Rock Band fan. Mainly it covers the success of the DLC content so far (including over 2.5 million downloads since the game was released, with only about 1 million copies of Rock Band out there). There's also some vague hints about what's up with the albums and that they should be coming along soon...I hope that means within the next month, or sooner.

Lastly, there's word in the interview that the 80MP tracks released on Christmas day (the so-called "emo" set of five songs) will be going up to 160MP at the end of this month. They might not be the best songs in the world, but I have to say that the All American Rejects songs and the one from (cover) The Sounds are both worth a 80MP price tag. 30 Seconds to Mars...well, if you like The Kill then it's worth it. Attack (also from 30StM) is...errr...garbage. At least on guitar it sucks.

I'll have some input tomorrow on them, but the Oasis pack comes out today. It should be a nice break in the sounds of the songs we've been getting lately. Plus, it might make for an easier time for people who love the random set lists (like for the band I have with my brother...around 25 million fans and growing) and are sick of seeing Metallica, Flirting With Disaster, and Green Grass come up in too many sets.

On that note, I'm now focusing my energy on Flirting With Disaster for my expert guitar solo career. I have some of the bonus tracks to play, but the only one that strikes fear in my heart is Timmy. After Flirting bites the dust, then I have Highway Star (easy as cake if you remember to save some star power for the solo), and the dreaded Green Grass...which still gives me nightmares. At least Flirting is now at 82% for me (then my adrenaline rush sends me into a spirl of shaking and sweating hands), and I just need to get my timing down on the final seconds of the solo to be clear of the mess (the rest of the song after the solo is cake compared to the hammer-on hell of the solo). At least I know I can beat it with a band...assuming someone saves star power for the end of my solo.

I am working so hard on Flirting for more than just bragging rights and the achievement. My Friday night band is gearing up, eventually, to take a Saturday for the Endless Setlist. Considering how fun expert guitar is, I'd hate to play it out on hard (which gets boring until you hit the hardest of songs). I don't see the rest of the band all hitting expert, so it's not an achievement thing. I just love rocking out expert on all but two songs (Green Grass and Timmy), and don't want to spend five hours bored out of my mind waiting for the really hard songs to come along. So, I need the get this stuff down so I can at least get through the worst songs on expert with a little help from my friends.

Maybe it's time for me to try the one bit of advice I've seen for Flirting and Green Grass solos...the solo buttons on the Strat. It might just be the best option for the constant scale sweeps that hit up the guitarist in these songs. The only problem is that I need to remember, in the heat of the moment, to slide my hand into position. However, it might just be the only hope I have for the hell of the repeated G-R-Y-R- and R-Y-B-Y- that is Green Grass.

Damn...I love this game!


Malik (1/23/08)

I downloaded the new Oasis song pack for Rock Band last night and...well, I feel pretty favorable about most of the pack. Keep in mind that any of my "reviews" of the DLC for Rock Band is usually based upon me playing expert guitar. My drum skills are ass (I have only played through about 13 songs in the easy solo career and maybe four on medium), and I don't do the vocal parts since I have too little control of my voice to keep it fun. Maybe in the future I'll give vocals more of a shot...but for now, it's just not my thing. Plus I always feel embarrassed to sing alone, since I never know who will walk in on my crooning.

The weakest song of the set is the only one I really knew before the tracks started to play on my 360. That would be Wonderwall. It is basically a non-stop progression of the most boring chords I could think of. It is just O+R to R+B to G+B in a constant rhythm. It's just very simplistic and very dull. Also, it's primarily machine gunning in short bursts, which just makes a song that sounds so unique to what's already in Rock Band feel like one of the low-middle level (like Day Late, Dollar Short) bonus songs. Still, it's probably an awesome song for playing in a band set up...assuming you have friends who are into Oasis.

As for Live Forever and Don't Look Back in Anger (forgive me if any names are I hinted at, I don't know shit about Oasis beyond Wonderwall)...well, I can't really distinguish them. I mean that I don't know which note chart went with which song since I only played each one once. However, I can say that I really enjoyed both of them.

On those two songs, the note charts are fun and have enough complexity to keep them entertaining, while being simple enough to not invoke feelings of pure rage (like you feel from that Tribe song or 3's and 7's...those two give me feelings of rage). Plus, there's a good amount of what I like to think of as "training for hammer-ons". In other words, there's a good amount of simple, but not overly simple hammer-on scales. I'd have to say that of all recent downloads, the note scales on these two songs rank up their in my top five.

However, let me make on aspect of the Oasis set clear; it's easy as shit on expert guitar. If you can pass Enter Sandman on expert (solo), then these will be a good bit below your level. However, if you're getting stuck on something like Ballroom Blitz or Electric Version, then these two will help you recover and give you a nice level of passable challenge. In fact, the true challenge of these three songs is more about getting the 5 stars and not about passing the song...passing is almost assured, but perfection is far from guaranteed.

Anyway, last night I gained some fans and lost some fans. Luckily, it was more of a three steps forward two steps back type of thing. That's because I learned my rage for the Tribe song's note scales...or should I say it's "hammer-on hell". At least I'm still rocking out some previously unfinished random set list venues...always on expert for the whole band. I love the feeling of not knowing if the game will be good (maybe some Coheed and Cambria...despite how much I hate their singer...almost like my feelings on Rush of "good instruments, annoying singer") or evil (Highway Star)...or pure ass-raping evil (the game has given my brother and I Blackened to start a random once per day for the last couple of days).

Anyway, being too tired to keep my eyes open, I'm calling it quits for today about now. Also, it's time to see how the people around me can make my work day as complicated as possible.


Malik (1/24/08)

It's like today is a blast from the past. First off, GTA4 has a new release date; April 29th. It's about time we got a date on this one. While it's quite a bit later than I expected, I'll be happy. Afterall, next month gives me Lost Odyssey, March is Smash Brawl, and now April is GTA4 month...even if it's the end of the month.

I'm just curious if this worldwide launch will actually work. It seems that any time a game as ambitious as GTA4 goes worldwide on day one, it turns into "worldwide in month one" at best.

Also, the Gizmondo is returning in 2008...supposedly. Why does this matter? It doesn't. Unless, of course, you like a little humor.

With how badly the first iteration failed, it's only logical that number two will do just as badly. Afterall, a new design for the Lynx and the N-Gage couldn't do anything to save their doomed selves. Afterall, portables simply are outclassed from day one when Nintendo is on the job. It may sound like a possibility that the Gizmondo can do well with the "open source" concept. However, there's been open source game systems before (or should I say Linux portables...I'm talking about the GP2X and GP32) and they have been anything but major successes.

At least it's this type of news that can bring a smile to my face. Afterall, it's hilarious to see these handhelds come back to the market with the intention of succeeded where their past forms have failed in the highest possible degree. On top of already seeing that something new cannot take down Nintendo's DS domination, they now have a poor band name to have to overcome. It's like running uphill...but the hill is actually a perfectly vertical cliff. Good luck with that one, Gizmondo.


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