I Would Rather Be Playing IIDX

That title totally does not stand for what I’d rather be doing than writing a blog post. Nonono. Not at all.

Rather, it’s actually a reference to my band name in Rock Band 3. A sort of tongue-in-cheek, elitist reference to what I think about the current generation of rhythm-action games. I know! Elitist tongue-in-cheek references! Apparently I don’t get enough of those via blogging.

Rock Band 3 is my first foray into the Rock Band/Guitar Hero world (DJ Hero doesn’t count). I know this seemingly makes me incredibly late to the party, but remember, I was playing these kind of games in Japan for years before the west got them. And believe me, the American developers didn’t just rip off the gameplay mechanics. They also totally jacked the “yearly iteration” ideas as well. Meaning I was kind of sick of them even before we got deluged with 10 versions of each series in the span of four years. Oh well, .

But hey, it was a birthday gift, so let’s roll with it! And I have! I’ve been having a lot of fun, actually. I totally wouldn’t mind getting a keyboard for it, if it weren’t for the fact that they seem to be abnormally expensive. So far, my biggest gripe with the game doesn’t really have much to do with the game itself though. It’s the really atrocious online store.

I can’t quite wrap my head around it. There’s an online shop where you can access over 2,000 songs, as they like to advertise. And yet, it’s an unintuitive mess to navigate, with glaring omissions such as price filters, and it seems to have a tendency to dump people quite regularly. Honestly, this should have been the lynchpin of the entire series. Cheap, disc-based copies of the game bundled with instruments to get people in the door, then have a constantly growing and intuitive online shop. No yearly iterations. No sequels. Just pure digital profit. In Japan, at least they had an excuse… all those Bemani games were coming out for the Playstation and Playstation 2, systems that didn’t really have any online infrastructure.

My experience with the Rock Band online store. Envision this occurring every two minutes for an hour or so, except I wasn't wearing a suit. Just underwear. And the top hat.

But I digress. All I can say is that, when I got the game, I was sure that they would have some freebie songs to entice people to the store, and I thought I’d grab them up and check them out. And I was right, they totally did. A whopping 10, and it took me hours upon hours of searching over the course of two days to find and download them. (Getting dumped out every 2 minutes both times didn’t help).

It’s a real shame, because the game is pretty fun. But ultimately, I am seeing quite clearly why the “band game” fad died out so quickly.

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