The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Rock Band: Engrossing or Soul-Sucking?

3 min read

By Matthew Blakely

Now that we’re back at school, I expected a fresh start, the temperature to finally match its month, and earfuls of winter break vacations; little did I know I would get an earful of much more: Rock Band.
For those of you that have never heard of Rock Band, in which case you should be thankful, it is a video game that mirrors Guitar Hero but instead of playing one guitar, you orchestrate an entire band, including vocals. And yes, it sounds pretty cool, but beware because it sucks you in faster than Denise Richards and Neve Campbell in “Wild Things.”
Thankfully I am not a victim of Rock Band, but I live next door to some obsessed groupies. For a week straight I have heard this Guitar Hero with a splash of American Idol being played over and over…and over and over again. I am not knocking it, I have never played it, I’ve just concluded that unless you own the game or know someone who owns it, it is far from fun.
Because this game boasts such instrumental madness without knowing what a “chord” is, I hear some interesting things. I hear singers that should not be singing, fake instruments being beaten and I see people that I’ve never seen before coming in and out of that room.
This chaos intrigued me to find out just how much it costs to own MTV’s Rock Band, and then I quickly decided that $59.99, WITHOUT the instruments, is much too expensive to be over it in a month and/or annoy my next door neighbor.
In closing, be aware. If your friend looks like he hasn’t slept in days or has a hoarse voice, view him as an example and use him as your anti-Rock Band. Or, if that doesn’t work, have sympathy over your next-door neighbor because they might just want to watch “Friends” season one without the interruption of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”


This was bound to happen. Eventually, something was going to come along and de-throne Guitar Hero as the ultimate way to fail out of college in a single semester. For 2008, that something is Rock Band.
I am here to whole-heartedly declare that I am a victim of Rock Band and couldn’t be happier about it. Oh, what a blissful way to fail out of school.
What’s more entertaining than pretending for an afternoon that you’re as talented as Rivers Cuomo, John Entwhistle, or Chad Smith?
Who doesn’t want to stand in front of 3,000 digital people and wail away at “Won’t Get Fooled Again” on an imaginary guitar?
What’s best is that you can try your hand a number of instruments. No good at guitar? Try your hand at drumming or singing. Brilliant.
Gone are the days of singing into a comb and playing a tennis racket with “Gimme Shelter” blaring. Now you can really feel like you are Keith Richards.
Not only can you be a pretender to the throne of rock and roll royalty, but you can create your own character to ascend to the rank of superstar.
This is something you can get really engrossed in. What tattoos do you want your character to have and where will they go? Tight leathers or loose jeans? The options are endless.
To those who haven’t been sucked in: don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. This game is the jam. Yes, I’ll admit, it will consume your soul.
But what better to do with your soul than give it to something so amusing? I say to hell with my GPA. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta beat “Dani Califonia” on expert.