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Malik (5/27/09)

It's hard coming back to my normal routine after a long weekend...especially if that long weekend is actually a shorter than normal weekend of one day off.

Anyway, I did download several of the new Rock Band tracks. Linger didn't mean much to me since it was mainly a chord-fest of G+B with some other chords thrown in. In fact, it's a lot like Wonderwall on expert guitar, but with a slightly different rhythm and less single note stuff to break up the usual flow.

On the other hand, while it's pretty simple, The Zombies offer some good fun on expert guitar. Not to mention that this is a genre not previously seen on Rock Band. I'm talking about honest old school rock-n-roll. This is the type of thing you picture when you think of the early to mid 1960's. That alone is enough to make me happy. However, with a fun guitar chart and (I imagine) fun vocal parts, these are two must-have songs for me.

On the note of Rock Band, this week was the start of troubling times, as I see it, for my Rock Band DLC enjoyment. I've bought a lot of DLC tracks over the years. It comes down, however, to two camps of DLC purchases for me. The first type is the stuff I've bought with reckless abandon. This means the songs I either listen to and decide to buy (or not) or the songs I think I know and then buy (or skip). Then there's the songs I watch the expert guitar charts for online and decide if I want them. This is the best song purchase option for me since I've bought a lot of crap and hate wasting my money on them (including Jesus Christ Pose with it's shit for charting and Smokin' with it's charted organ solo) when I just buy what I think is going to be fun.

The reason it's all looking bad from here on out is that Npeaen has been suspended from youtube. For those who don't know Npeaen (and now may never know his videos), he would buy every damned DLC track (usually through donations) and post expert guitar sight-read videos as soon as humanly possible each and every week. Npeaen was the only solid option for a quick answer to my typical Tuesday morning question; "I play expert guitar, so would I like this new track?"

It sounds like the problem came down to Warner Music, which has been on the crazy side of reality lately. They have tried to become totalitarian in controlling their property. That's fine. I can understand not wanting to see your licenses used in a way which would skip out the typical payout to the license holder. However, taking down videos of Rock Band using your songs, which were paid for with a license fee (from Harmonix to WMG), is going a bit overboard. These videos help to review tracks on Rock Band, and thus can get more possible purchases of these tracks. This means more exposure for Warner artists and Warner owned songs, which equals money in the long run.

This is not something like an MP3, which could be used for pirating (using the old RIAA logic of five to ten years ago) and evading payment for song enjoyment. In fact, if Warner is afraid of these Rock Band videos being used in place of purchasing a CD, they are completely out of their f$#@ing minds. I mean these are songs that not only would have poor quality to be ripped from the compressed format of youtube, but also include sight-read Rock Band playing which would mean missing notes and extra "failure sounds" during the song.

It is more reasonable for Warner to prevent any and all music of theirs from being played on the radio than to block youtube video of Rock Band tracks. Worst of all, Npeaen even made good efforts to list ownership (copyright) information on these tracks. Well, the worst part would be that I now have no freakin' idea on what tracks to buy and this may only limit my number of purchases of Rock Band tracks.

Even is dead now. Although the details seem vague on what's going on over there.

On a final bit of news that's less day old than the Npeaen suspension, the next GTA4 DLC pack announcement is out there. The Ballad of Gay Tony should be out sometime in the fall. Hopefully some more information will be out well before then.

On a different and random note, I just want to say I am now a solid believer in Motorola brand cell phones. I've had my current phone for three and a half years. In that time I dropped it a dozen times and even submerged it in scalding (but not full temperature) oil from a deep fat fryer. It still worked perfectly. This weekend it also took a plunge in a hot tub. While it looked grim for a couple days, it is back at full operation as if nothing bad ever happened.

While Motorola doesn't do much with the modern data phone (not a concern for me since I have a boundary of computers doing computer stuff and phones making calls), they sure make one hell of a great normal cell phone. I mean the damned things are like zombies...unless you full take off it's head, you will not be able to kill it.


Malik (5/29/09)

My time just gets more filled and my life gets more stressful, it seems, with each passing day. At least some of this is good stress. I'd rather worry about money while getting tickets to see The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Social Distortion, and possibly Dick Dale than worry about money while struggling to find the cash to pay my bills.

As for getting my normal business out of the way; Rock Band next week gets a Bonnaroo Pack with a bunch of bands that I think I can do without. However, if you enjoy Coheed and Cambria, Ben Harper, Phish, Shooter Jennings, or TV on the Radio, then you'll be set for some stuff you'd want and that is not really well represented so far on Rock Band.

Plus there is the Somewhere Back in Time related Iron Maiden pack (12 songs) coming the following week. I just hope that Harmonix keeps up their recent trend of having more than just Iron Maiden in a week and a half. I love my Iron Maiden, but they are just too damned challenging, especially with live tracks, to be enjoyable for me on Rock Band. On the bright side, if you miss having Run to the Hills due to it not transferring over from Rock Band to RB2, then you get a master (and not live) of the song for RB2 at long last...and you get both a master and a cover on RB1 if you're still playing the old game.

Anyway, I've finished Dragon Quest V as of yesterday. Sitting at a car dealership while warranty work is being done leaves few options than to play DS or read a book. Since I'm not doing the book thing right now, that meant DQ5 had to be destroyed by my free time.

In the end, just like I felt when I played the original version (without finishing...I don't read Japanese), this is a great game. In this modern age when RPGs all have some sort of gimmick that seems to be a "good idea gone wrong", it's great to have an old school RPG that does things right. Yes, there are random battles, battles with the simple menu system that waits for you to hit A to attack, and all that. While this may raise some complaints from various people who feel that Final Fantasy is getting better with time (and not worse, like I feel), this is a game for the old school crowd. It's this old school types that must play this game.

My only problem is that I now need another game to fill the void. Since I've been too worn down for Demon's Souls, I'm in a dilemma...but it's probably a better dilemma than having only crappy games to chose from. My guess is that DQ4 (DS) will be the next to destroy the little free time I have in my life.


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