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Malik (6/16/08)

It was a bit of a laid back weekend for me. Between plenty of sun and some family obligations, I wasn't exactly left with too much time for anything in the realm of all that is geek. When you add in an annoying cut on one of my fingers, I wasn't even left with much of a chance for rocking the guitar.

Tomorrow is the day when The Offspring finally hits the world of Rock Band. I say it's about time and that more Offspring music is needed for rock based rhythm games. In fact, what I'd love to see is for the self titled album to be a whole album download for Rock Band. Of course with how Harmonix still censors music, even on downloads (which, in theory, could have alternative ratings versus the original T rated game), I can't see this album or hardly any song from it being Rock Band friendly.

Between themes of Tehran (and what the chorus says...sorry, not typing that in an age of hysterical knee jerk reactions), a song that I was told was removed post 9-11 (about an action towards the president being the instant trip to Gitmo to even type it it seems :P), a song about finding someone "burned and raped", and other such songs...let's just say that this awesome politically powered album is probably the last album/concept that would be accepted for DLC.

So, in light of how it wouldn't work, maybe some Ixnay on the Hombre, Smash, or even Ignition would be awesome for Rock Band. At least Hammerhead may open the possibility for some more Offspring in the future.

I'm also glad to see that Avenged Sevenfold will soon be here to kill any drummers. Without a double bass pedal, I see some problems in the future for people drumming A7X on expert.

Anyway, without much else to say, I'll just add one thought; it is funny to walk down the block from my work to grab some coffee and seeing a bunch of people, in very sunny of weather, wearing heavy Sonics coats lined up around the federal courthouse (which is a block from my work). It may be the heavy coats in some really nice sunny weather, or maybe Sonics fans lined up at the courthouse...but it's all very surreal. At least I get a week of this weirdness to give me a sad laugh as I witness some of the final actions of Sonics fans in Seattle before the team I grew up knowing and loving disappears forever under a cloud of stupidity and greed.


Malik (6/17/08)

While Seattle does it's damnest to get rid of one sports team, and let's face the facts that the mayor and the legal team for the city are both doing pretty damned poorly, at least another team is making an long overdue move. Yes, the Mariners have finally axed Bavasi and his reign of ignorance.

Before Bavasi stepped in as GM, the Mariners were doing pretty well. Since his arrival, the team has gone straight down the crapper. So, to see this fool removed from the team is anything but expected, since the M's can't seem to do anything intelligent as of late.

I hope that things do improve now that one lame duck GM is on the road with a "Will destroy a good team for food" sign in hand. Now if only the team wasn't so unconnected with each other. Maybe a new GM (or even the interim one) could get the team to function like that; as a team.

At least Clay Bennett isn't doing much to help the Sonics movement case on his behalf.

Anyway, as for the new DLC for Rock Band...I'm skipping all but Hammerhead.  I enjoy Avenged Sevenfold and am glad to see them on RB...however, I can do without the solo from hell aspect (check out the Npeaen videos on youtube and just look at the solo on Afterlife...OMG).  For the same reason, Rock N Roll Dream from Crooked X is going past me this week.  However, Hammerhead is good fun, but I'd still be able to name double digits worth of Offspring songs more deserving of RB DLC glory.

Gone Away, Self Esteem, The Kids Aren't Alright, Come Out and Play, Tehran (censorship issues), All I Want, Americana (some censoring of the f-bomb), Smash, Session, I Choose...that's ten right there and I could keep going.  At least Hammerhead is more like old school Offspring than the stuff on Splinter.  As for the album titled songs, I mean either the albums or the individual songs of those same names.


Malik (6/18/08)

To elaborate a little on what I rushed to write yesterday, the majority of the songs released as DLC yesterday for Rock Band do look like fun. However, I have reached a point where fun is the driving factor for my purchases. This fun factor comes into play quite sharply for me (and how I play guitar on expert most of the time) with guitar solos.

I have played enough songs with insane solos to just not feel the desire for anymore. Maybe if a solo is hard because it sounds cool, I can get through the idea of an overly difficult solo. By overly difficult, I mean a solo that should be on a song of a much higher tier (like how Afterlife definitely has a tier 9 worthy solo). I, as a music fan, have never been a fan though of solos that exist only to showcase the guitarist. I''ve always been a fan of the solo that helps to break down the song or put a new meaning on it. For example, the solos on the Jimmy Buffett songs or the solo on Are You Gonna Be My Girl are perfect cases of solos that break down the song in a different light. The solo on Afterlife, for example, is just showcasing for the guitarist (Synister Gates, in this case) and not building on what the song has been showing of a band in general.

Anyway, that is why I only downloaded Hammerhead. While Hammerhead is definitely not in what I'd consider the correct tier (I'd call it a 7 on guitar, based on the core game songs and their tiers), and it does have some challenge, it is still fun and doesn't rely on an insanely complicated solo.

Anyway, next week should be some far easier and more enjoyable, as a band, songs with Doolittle. It should be good fun when coupled with the recent addition of Offspring (hopefully not the last we see of that band in the next few months).

Of course, just as I typed that last line, my friend Tangwich sent me a link. To sum it up, while there is no timetable for it, at least six more songs are coming to Rock Band from Offspring. Might I add, beyond Pretty Fly, the list is all made of songs I mentioned yesterday as awesome potential songs for Rock Band. Glad to see my opinion was not the only one on these songs!


Malik (6/20/08)

The next wave of peripherals are coming soon for Rock Band. While they do look pretty cool, and I can see the use of some features (split strum means up strumming only on a bass part is possible with some of the faster songs...if you can get the coordination down), I have a few questions.

First of all, the Telecaster (the red guitar on the link) has a "Programmable strum". What the hell does that mean? It's a simple digital switch (up, down, or neutral) on the strum mechanism. So, what does it mean if it's programmable? I don't even know if that can begin to make sense without some sort of explanation.

On a different side of things, those drums do look pretty cool, but what is the use of the high-hat pedal. I mean the game has five pads (counting bass pedal), and adding a new pedal seems confusing. Does it mean one color will be also available to the new pedal (like how green is probably mapped to the cymbals as well as the green pad) or is the pedal usable as a double bass? Is there a use for it? Also, who is going to buy this?

I mean it does look cool, but I cannot see many people spending nearly the price of the Rock Band bundle for a single instrument. $150 is going from a cool peripheral range to just being for the absolute die hards...and maybe even beyond them.

My single largest concern, however, is the fact that Mad Catz is making this stuff. While the EA produced instruments are far from reliable (weak bass pedals, cracking drum pads, broken Strats, shorted out hubs), I think Mad Catz is the only company I would trust less. While some people may be new to Mad Catz, I have a long history with them...a long and regrettable history.

When the PS2 came out, memory cards were harder to find than the system...if that could be believed. So, I had no choice but to get a Mad Catz card (either that or not save anything I played). This would be my first forced time of buying from Mad Catz. My absolute first time with them was when I needed a PSX memory card and they had a nifty one that added multiple cards worth of saving on a single card for almost the same price as the Sony official card. That one ended with about 25 memory cards worth of data (and I used those hundreds of blocks of memory to their fullest) crashing in one united effort.

My PS2 card from Mad Catz decided to do the same general thing; it crashed. The one difference was that it was forced on me by low supply from Sony of official cards. It also failed at the worst possible time; when I was a good 40 hours into Gran Tourismo 3. I never seriously played the game again, only because I didn't want to rebuild my garage from scratch...and no one wants to go back to re-earn licenses on a GT game.

So, while I find the idea of these instruments to be interesting, the price, coupled with the reliability factor, has me definitely looking at this as "buyer beware". In other words, I'll happily stick with my EA produced Strat, mic, drums, pedal, and hub...even if I know they are doomed to failure. At least it won't be quite as unreliable as Mad Catz technology.

I'll also add that I purposefully didn't mention and Mad Catz produced controllers I've owned over the years...those memories are just locked away too deeply in my dark and tortured psyche.

Anyway, Doolittle next week!


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