Strings attached for new Rock Band

Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero may temporarily let players experience a dream most people have fantasized about: being a rock star. Although one may be able to play bass at “expert” level, these video game skills don’t exactly translate to actual instruments.

Since the release of Guitar Hero in 2005, gamers have been able to play songs by strumming along to corresponding colored “notes.” These games caught fire after letting players feel like musicians by pressing buttons. Soon after, Rock Band took the game to the next level by adding drums and vocals. But how do these games compare to playing actual instruments?

Ricardo Flores, associate professor of percussion, found that playing Rock Band was very different than playing the actual drums.

“It was hard to play because it was something I wasn’t used to,” Flores said, “but after I got the hang of it, it was okay.”

Flores said that if the game showed regular written music, it would probably better relate to musicians.

Other experienced musicians also found the game unfamiliar. Jake Cooper, junior in Media and drummer for the band, Good Luck Jane, found the game not at all similar to actual drumming.

“It’s kind of a completely different feel because you have to correspond to what you’re seeing on the screen. It’s more like your pressing buttons,” Cooper said.

He also said it was different because you are not able to improvise. To win the game, you have to follow exactly what the screen says. This leaves little room for being able to get creative.

“There are not many musical aspects really associated with the game,” Cooper said. “It’s more of a timing game.”

On the other hand, Cody Lindsey, sophomore in AHS, thinks his guitar experience might have made the game a little easier.

“I think it was easier to play the game as far as timing goes, and musically being able to have the timing of songs down,” Lindsey said.

He said that knowing how to play songs on the real guitar made playing the fake guitar a little bit confusing.

Just when Rock Band players thought they had the game completely mastered, the new Rock Band 3 was released last week changing the game completely. This new version of the game adds a “Pro” mode for guitar, bass and drums, as well as the newly added keyboard.

According to the Rock Band website, “Pro Guitar and Pro Bass empowers players to develop actual musical skills through the fun of classic Rock Band gameplay.”

In the new game, playing Pro Guitar on Expert includes every note and chord, meaning that it is very similar to playing the actual guitar.

One of the Rock Band 3 guitars is an actual guitar that can be plugged into any amp like a normal guitar. It is more realistic than the previous Rock Band guitar controllers. Instead of the five colored buttons and a single strum bar, the new guitar has six strings and 22 frets.

So while musicians previously found these music games slightly confusing, the new Rock Band 3 may actually have the potential to take the place of guitar lessons.