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Rock Band

Harmonix photo
Harmonix

Viacom loses $300-million lawsuit against Harmonix


Dollar dollar bills, ya'll
Jul 17
// Abel Girmay
Ending years of litigation, the Delaware Supreme Court has ordered Viacom to pay Harmonix Music's former owners $300 million in owed bonuses, money from when Viacom still owned the studio. You may remember that Harmonix was b...
Rock Band photo
Rock Band

Metallica Pack 01 removed from Rock Band Music Store


As licensing agreements expire, Harmonix working to minimize effects
Apr 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
If you hopped on to the Rock Band Music Store today, planning to buy "Ride the Lightning," you may have already missed your chance. That song, and the other three tracks making up "Metallica Track Pack 01" have been removed f...

Rock Band had a ridiculously profound effect on my life

Apr 02 // Brett Makedonski
I was hooked immediately. From the opening notes of Guitar Hero's "I Love Rock 'n Roll," I just connected with the game in a way that I had never experienced before. We spent the night taking turns attempting to best some of the music industry's most revered and recognizable songs. Sure, it was only medium difficulty and there were still plenty of plunks and wails, but each passed song brought with it an undeserved sense of faux-rock stardom. That night bred an obsession of sorts for me. From that point forward, Harmonix had my heart. I spent countless hours practicing and perfecting Guitar Hero, and later Guitar Hero 2. I went so far as to track my scores through an online database. It wasn't long before five-starring songs wasn't good enough; I was chasing gold stars and full combos. If I missed a note, I started the song over. Meticulous? Hell yes it was. But it never, ever stopped being fun. In 2007, Harmonix took its revolutionary concept of plastic instruments and put a spin on it to include a full band dynamic. Consider my interest sufficiently piqued. I wasn't alone, either. By the time the game released, my friends were constantly chiding me to buy it. They all offered to chip in, and to this day, I only own about one-fifteenth of my original Rock Band kit. The investment turned out to be well worth it. The night I brought it home, we played it until the wee hours of the morning. We rotated everyone through all of the instruments, and put particular care into ensuring that everyone sang. We played songs like "Say It Ain't So" and "Wanted Dead or Alive" way too many times because we didn't realize that we weren't unlocking new songs. Simply put, the night was perfect. As Rock Band put a whole new spin on the music genre of videogames, it also changed the light in which I experienced them. The Guitar Hero franchise had grown into a place of competitiveness for me. I associated those games with precision, perfection, and besting other players. Rock Band taught me to step back from that and enjoy the games for what they were. I still cared about the scores, but I also couldn't fault other people for not caring as much as I wanted to. I never really had the dynamic of a four-person band that all excelled on Expert. Truthfully, I'm kind of glad I didn't. It let me enjoy the Rock Band games as a pure social experience -- something that doesn't seem to come along often in videogames. That first night of owning Rock Band set the pace for what was to come. Rock Band would eventually become the centerpiece for many of my social moments across the next five years. In college, entire parties revolved around Rock Band. Many nights out on the town were pre-gamed while playing Rock Band. It was always a uniting activity, as it seemed that everyone, across all walks of life, genuinely enjoyed playing the game. I'd wager that plenty of others have come to the exact same conclusion. Now that Harmonix is pulling the plug on weekly DLC, it feels like the franchise as a whole is going with it. You can't blame Harmonix though -- the genre had simply reached its saturation point, and that probably came a few years ago. At least it's going out with a semblance of dignity. Throughout the years, I spent hundreds of hours playing Rock Band and spent at least a thousand dollars on downloadable songs. These games had an impact on my life unlike any other videogame that I've ever played. I can only hope that Harmonix's next big undertaking can play even a fraction of a role in my life that Rock Band did.  As Don McLean's "American Pie," the final piece of regularly scheduled DLC for Rock Band, so eloquently puts it, "I can still remember how that music used to make me smile."
Rock Band photo
The day the music died
It's a sad week. Granted, it's an inevitability that's more than five years in the making, but nonetheless, it's sad. This is the week that Harmonix releases its final regularly scheduled Rock Band DLC -- a str...

American Pie photo
American Pie

American Pie concludes regular updates to Rock Band 3


That sacred store plays the music one last time
Mar 29
// Conrad Zimmerman
As I have been lamenting, the regular DLC updates for Rock Band 3 are coming to an end next week, but it's going out with a bang. Don Mclean's classic 1971 ballad chronicling the disappointments of counter-culture m...
Rock Band photo
Rock Band

Triple hit of Chevelle en route to Rock Band 3


Today I learned...
Mar 22
// Conrad Zimmerman
Next week's update to the Rock Band Music Store will deliver three hit songs from Chevelle, "Send the Pain Below," "The Red" and "Face to Floor."  This is a band which I never connected with their music. Prior to today,...
Rock Band photo
Rock Band

Next week's Rock Band DLC features 'Jungle Boogie'


That's really all you need to know
Mar 15
// Conrad Zimmerman
Three more songs are being added to the Rock Band Music Store next week and they're all special in their own way. "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & the Gang is the most important contribution to music of the bunch, but "Shout" b...

We need to stop letting hate define us

Mar 12 // Brett Makedonski
Before we get too far, this isn't intended to convey the message that you need to love everything. In fact, I believe that the opposite it true. Criticize and analyze everything. Without criticism, nothing would ever grow or evolve. Nothing would stick out above the rest. We'd be stuck in a perpetual state of middling, uninspired product. Instead, we need to tone down the undue cynicism. It's human nature for people to bond over shared experiences, but if we focus it on the positive instead of the negative, everyone will be much better off. Do you hate EA? Chance are, you probably do. About a year ago, it was voted the worst company in America. More recently, EA garnered more negative press for its statements about how microtransactions will eventually be included in all of its games. While CFO Blake Jorgensen has since gone on record to state that they meant all mobile games, the sentiment remains the same. It's not a unique opinion to think poorly of EA. However, without EA, there's a solid chance that your gaming experiences would be diminished in some capacity. Do you like Mass Effect, Battlefield, Dead Space, or Rock Band? Those franchises all exist, in part, because of EA. The same can be said for about a thousand other titles. There's absolutely nothing wrong with speaking out against its business practices that you don't agree with. That, along with voting with your wallet, are the only two ways that exploitative conventions will change. Still, it isn't fair to throw around blanket phrases like "I hate EA," because the company has had more of a positive effect than immediately comes to mind. The interesting niche about videogame culture is that there are considerable barriers to entry to even have an opinion. It requires both a monetary and time investment to be informed. Then, it takes the urge to go share your opinion. It's all much more complex than "Justin Bieber is stupid." As a result, it's a very vocal minority that engages on Twitter, forums, and comments sections that comprise the voice of the industry. Relatively speaking, it's a pretty small chunk of the population. In a way, we're more prone to falling into the trap of becoming overly pessimistic because we hear the same opinions recycled from all directions. And to be honest, it really doesn't even matter all that much. While our outcries feel loud as hell at the time, they're usually pretty muffled. Do the thoughts of Diablo III and Error 37 conjure terrible memories? The game still sold a ton of copies. I bet by the time that the SimCity fiasco is completely straightened out, its sales figures will be pretty impressive too. The truly disconcerting facet of this isn't even necessarily how overly cynical we've become, although that's certainly a problem. It's how, as Stump pointed out, many of us have become defined by the things that we hate. Rather than simply dismissing something that doesn't please us, we make an effort to stomp it into oblivion. I've been guilty of it, and I'm sure that many people reading this have been too. To quote Stump, "Near-masturbatory complaining has brought together more people than cheap liquor." He could not be more right. We feed off of others' spiteful opinions, and then we reciprocate. There's a cool kids' club for everyone that says the right things, and we all want to be included. It's incredibly easy to find a litany of bitter commentary about the popular topics, and with each opinion read, we become more and more influenced, and increasingly likely to weigh in ourselves. This is a mold that needs to be broken. It reflects poorly upon us, and frankly, it can't be healthy. I don't necessarily have a lot of hope for society-at-large, but being surrounded by like-minded people, I like to think that we're better than this. We naturally connect with one another via shared opinions, but there's no reason that these can't predominantly come from a place of positivity. Keep the critiques flowing, but let's stop hating things simply for existing. If we can do that, I can't help but feel that we'll all be much better off. [Image courtesy of Fogs Movie Reviews]
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We are the Pretty Hate Machine
I was recently inspired by a blog entry from a member of Fall Out Boy. If you're already rolling your eyes and making snarky remarks in your head, then this article is targeted at you. Patrick Stump, Fall Out Boy's lead singe...

Rock Band 3 photo
Rock Band 3

Oingo Boingo and Toto in next week's Rock Band DLC


More music for your growing collection
Mar 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
Next week, the Rock Band Music Store will be adding a couple of classic 80's songs to the list of downloadable content. "Rosanna" from Toto will be available for purchase, along with Oingo Boingo's "Weird Science." It surpri...
Rock Band 3 photo
Rock Band 3

More Blitz tracks coming to Rock Band 3 DLC


All-American Rejects, Blink-182 and Red Hot Chili Peppers for sale on their own
Mar 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
As we trundle toward the end of Rock Band 3 DLC as we know it, Harmonix is still working through adding the tracks produced for Rock Band Blitz to the storefront. Next week, you'll be able to snag "Always" from Blin...
Rock Band photo
Rock Band

The Flys, Staind and Queensr˙che en route to Rock Band


Four more DLC tracks arriving next week
Feb 22
// Conrad Zimmerman
The end may be in sight for Rock Band's epic run of DLC, but it's not over quite yet and there are still a few more weeks of updates to look forward to. Next week will see the arrival of “Got You (Where I Want You...
Rock Band DLC ending photo
Rock Band DLC ending

After 275 weeks, weekly Rock Band DLC ceases in April


Resources transitioned to other projects
Feb 18
// Keith Swiader
After more than 4,000 songs released over the course of 275 consecutive weeks, weekly Rock Band downloadable content will cease on April 2, Harmonix announced today. Harmonix said the studio currently has "several" new titles...
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Aerosmith Greatest Dimension Pack hits Rock Band Tuesday


6 Pack of Tracks get you Back in the Saddle, Jack
Jan 26
// Ian Bonds
Boston's hometown heroes Aerosmith have a six-pack of tracks hitting Rock Band this coming Tuesday, January 29th. This is the first time the hard-rocking, blues-influenced band has graced the RB platform, and the first time t...
Dtoid TV photo
Dtoid TV

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 played on Rock Band drums


Yet another bizarre Dtoid TV moment
Jan 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
If you haven't been watching Dtoid TV lately, you've been missing out on some truly bizarre stuff. Take, as an example, this clip from yesterday's Super Fantastic Videogame Rad Show: Get There! in which the masked broad...

Win one of 10 early tickets to Ümloud! this Thursday

Dec 04 // Niero Gonzalez
[embed]239871:45981[/embed] You don't have to be in San Francisco to help this charity: You can donate over the web Funds collected benefit Child's Play, a non-profit organization founded by the guys at Penny Arcade to help bring awesome to 70 children's hospitals around the world.  If everyone reading this donated enough to buy a cup of coffee, it actually adds up to a lot. They've raised over $40,000 in the past years, and we hope to beat that number this year, so every little bit helps! We'll see you at the show!
Free Ümloud! tickets photo
Rock out for a great cause
In the Bay Area this Thursday? Come melt your face at San Francisco's DNA lounge for Ümloud!, the annual California fundraiser that benefits Child's Play. Did I mention Tim Schafer, creator of Psychonauts, Grim...

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Carly Rae Jepsen, Marcy Playground en route to Rock Band


Matter and antimatter to collide on DLC marketplace
Nov 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
The only things next week's additions to the Rock Band Music Store have in common are the number of syllables in their titles and that there has been a time when both songs seemed utterly inescapable. Carly Rae Jepsen's...
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Rock Band DLC: NIN, DragonForce, Modern English


My DLC library is about to get closer to God
Nov 16
// Conrad Zimmerman
Harmonix has announced the next wave of songs being added to the Rock Band Music Store and there are some delightful tunes in there. As you may have surmised by the above video, Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" is on the way. ...
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Hey, potheads: 311 comes to the Rock Band Music Store


Sep 28
// Allistair Pinsof
In middle school, I had a giant afro, wore FUBU pants, and listened to 311 all the time. And, I didn't even smoke weed! Though I don't often return to 311 these days, I still have a soft spot for their music, especially the o...
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1,100+ Rock Band DLC songs are going on sale this week


Sep 17
// Jordan Devore
Depending on your level of self control, this is either fantastic news or a total nightmare. This week, Harmonix will be discounting a ridiculous amount of downloadable songs in the Rock Band library. How does half price on s...
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Harmonix adjusting Rock Band Blitz coin economy


Developer responds to criticism regarding power-up costs and coin grinding
Sep 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
Harmonix has made an update to Rock Band Blitz today which adjusts the game's economy. Responding to players who have complained about the cost/benefit ratio of Coin expenses and awards in regards to using power-ups (whi...

A guide to high scores in Rock Band Blitz

Sep 05 // Conrad Zimmerman
Get experimental with the controls Now, this might seem like a really obvious statement, but hear me out. Take some time to play with all of the available control options and find the one which works best for you. I'm a Freakish player, personally, preferring to tap with my index fingers on the bumpers and switch tracks with the left analog stick, but what works for me may not suit you. I suggest you even go beyond just fiddling through the menus. If you're a Rock Band player, you have plastic instruments lying around. Switch the controls to Typewriter and try playing the game with your guitar or keyboard. Have a fight stick? Try that. Hell, I even turned my fight stick upside down to use the reversed bumper and trigger buttons in combination with the Shoulders configuration to play it. They'll work, it's just a question of whether or not they'll work for you. A miserly youth enables a generous old age If, for whatever reason, you haven't yet unlocked the full range of power-ups yet, I wouldn't rush into using them. They're fun to play with, but when you run out of cash while you're trying to drill out that last 10k from a song and have to play several rounds to earn enough for another attempt, it will get frustrating. If you withstand the temptation until you've earned the cred for all the unlocks, you should have a pretty hefty bank to work from. You see, coins and power-ups are a matter of diminishing returns. The amount of coins you can potentially earn from a song is less than you will spend to fully load yourself up. So, the more you use them, the more you're going to have to play in order to use more of them. A skilled player can profit earning Gold Stars with the use of power-ups on the first time a song is played (as coin awards are doubled on the first play), but even then it's still probably a better choice just to go for the relatively easy 4-5 stars that same player can likely earn without using any power-ups at all. And don't forget about performing Goals in Rock Band World. These objectives pay out well and, in a lot of the easier cases, won't require you to use power-ups to get the scores you need. The first commandment is to go forth and multiply Score multipliers should be to you what children are to big tobacco; It's in your best interest to get to them as early as possible. It can be really hard to pull yourself away from rapidly scoring tracks but failing to drain out all lanes on your first checkpoint will be worse in the long term. It's also important to know when to stop, as the value of increasing multipliers decreases the further you go into a song. By the time you hit about the mid-point of a stage, you should be looking to focus on the one or two tracks which feature the most activity, ignoring the others except to take advantage of white and purple notes. As often as not, just getting to the overdrive notes in a lane is enough to get another point or two of multiplier, so those are likely to still increase if you're diligent about picking those up. Which brings me to my next point. They're shiny for a reason You've paid for power-ups, so make sure you're using them effectively. Prioritize lanes which feature white (Overdrive) and purple (Note) gems on the horizon, ready to collect them. They may not always be positioned in the most convenient places (purple gems appear at random), but they are almost always worth the risk of collecting, even at the cost of Blitz Mode. The more opportunities you take to use your power-ups, the more valuable they become. Not all lanes are created equal The design of Blitz is such that it has to be possible to maximize each individual track's multiplier in the time between two checkpoints. This means that lanes which feature less notes in that space apply more value to those notes in terms of increasing multipliers, though the notes themselves still earn the same number of points as any other. This much becomes readily apparent after just a couple of games. What you may not have observed is that the same applies to Overdrive notes as well. Overdrive earned on tracks with a low population of notes accumulates faster and more easily. This is most common on the Keyboard track, where a pair of hold notes can often completely fill your meter. Never, ever miss an Overdrive opportunity on a slow track in favor of another, denser patch of standard notes. You may even want to prioritize that low track over a heavier one in sections where all tracks feature Overdrive notes simultaneously, depending on the circumstances. Finding a good balance The selection of power-ups you take into a level can be the most significant decision you make in playing Rock Band Blitz. Power-ups come in three varieties, Overdrive, Note, and Track, but I prefer to think of them as existing in two categories for the purposes of planning a run through a song: active and passive. Active power-ups require participation on the part of the player after they have been activated, while passive ones carry out their functions without the need for attention. For example, the Bandmate Overdrive power-up would be considered passive because, once activated, there's nothing else the player needs to do in order for points to be scored from the bonus as notes are automatically played in the selected lane. Runaway Notes, by contrast, necessitate that you hop from track to track along the route of transformed notes, thus should be classified as active. Effective combinations of power-ups should have a balance between these two types in your Overdrive and Note selections. The pair I mentioned in the last paragraph works well, the Bandmate takes care of a track and, should a Runaway note come up, you're free to focus on capturing it (if the Bandmate doesn't manage to do it for you). Pairing Bandmate with Blast Notes, however, is asking for trouble as the automated player will inevitably hit a purple note, clearing all the other tracks and potentially ruining your rhythm. Hitting the Jackpot We can talk about various combinations of power-ups all day long but, in the end, I don't see a higher scoring option for the broadest range of tracks than Jackpot. Once activated, you cease scoring points, your earned score temporarily transferred to a pool and earning at triple the rate. If you make a single mistake in your playing before the Overdrive meter bleeds out completely, you get nothing, but if you don't screw it up, the score bonus is absolutely massive. This is the power-up which separates the jungle cats from the domestic kittens, so to speak, and I tend to prefer it to the exception of all others. You need to be totally accurate in its use, employing it in sections which you know you can absolutely nail. There might be more potential for points available in the guitar solos of "Cult of Personality" than in any other single stretch of track the song has (and with no need to switch tracks), but that won't amount to a hill of beans if you try to Jackpot them and can't do it perfectly. Watch the spacing of notes carefully when you move to another lane and don't be afraid to let there be a half second where you're not playing a note in the interest of making a safe transition. If we're following my general rules for balance, probably the best power-up to pair with Jackpot is Blast Notes, which will allow you to apply more focus to your most valuable tracks while still pumping up the multiplier on all others, and can in many cases make transitioning from one track to another without breaking your streak a little easier. That said, I don't rule out the value of Flame Notes as an alternative, which have incredibly high scoring potential, though they can be very difficult to keep up with. Now, that's not to say you can't get a better score using other Overdrive power-ups. The simplest songs in the game (tracks with only two or three instruments) could be absolutely decimated using a combination of Bandmate and Pinball Notes. Speed metal songs which don't let up might be too difficult for Jackpot would work great with something like Road Rage. But, as an all-rounder (or if you can play perfectly), Jackpot is almost certainly the way to go. Hold on for dear life The last thing I want to point out is the value of hold notes, gems which give you additional points for keeping the button held down for the length of a trail leading away from the note. This is another one of those situations where your strategy may want to change midway through a song, as the points earned from holding notes feels far more significant later in a song than at its beginning, but my general tactic is to try and take advantage of sections with two hold notes over a faster combination of standard notes in a neighboring track when the situation arises. Just as important as their scoring potential, they're easy to use, since all you really have to do to rack up their value is sit there. This makes hold notes an ideal way to take advantage of Jackpot because it's really hard to screw up and the point rewards can be massive. I've earned bonuses of as much as 100k this way with very little effort. And remember, holding Overdrive notes slowly (or in some cases, very quickly) fills your meter, so make sure you're always hitting those held white notes! -- There you have it. This is how I've managed to earn the scores I have presently in Rock Band Blitz. These techniques don't all work for every song (or, at least, may not be the absolute best choice), but should be considerations whenever you're playing for score. Now, go out there and kick my ass.
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Or, "How I learned to stop worrying and love Jackpot"
I don't mean to brag, but I'm pretty good at Rock Band Blitz. As of the time I write this, a week following release, I'm still sitting in the top 2% of (Xbox 360) players across all of the songs packaged with the game, have a...

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The DTOID Show: Wii U, Last Guardian & Zombie Nuketown


Aug 27
// Max Scoville
Here's today's Destructoid show! Because we do that every monday! Big news: Someone posted an image on the Call Of Duty: Black Ops II Facebook, and it's about zombies. Some accessory company might've leaked the Wii U release ...

Review: Rock Band Blitz

Aug 27 // Conrad Zimmerman
[embed]233739:44852[/embed] Rock Band Blitz (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Harmonix Music SystemsPublisher: Harmonix Music SystemsReleased: August 28, 2012MSRP: $14.99 (1200 Microsoft Points) If all of this sounds a lot like Rock Band Unplugged (or earlier Harmonix titles FreQuency and Amplitude), that's a fair assessment, but Blitz is designed as a much more accessible game than earlier efforts in this style of design. Each track only features a left and right note to play, players cannot "fail" a song through poor performance, and even low scores are compensated with some rewards. That may rub some longtime fans the wrong way, but these simplified elements, when combined with Blitz's power-up and scoring systems, comprise a nuanced game as much about strategy as it is accuracy and timing. It's not enough to just hit the notes in a single lane. As notes are hit, the current track will begin to fill with color at increments, each time increasing a multiplier applied to all further notes played on that lane. Once it is completely filled, the multiplier can increase no further until the player hits one of several checkpoints in a song. Crossing a checkpoint will drain the color out of all tracks simultaneously until at least one is empty, enabling the increase of multipliers to new and greater heights. For the player, this means constantly hopping from one track to the next, trying not only to hit the maximum number of notes but to consistently spread efforts across the entirety of the song to maximize the value of those notes. Further adding to that frantic energy (and to the potential score) is "Blitz Mode." Entered by playing flawlessly for a short while, Blitz Mode adds some slightly disorienting blur effects which make the track feel as though it's moving significantly faster while at the same time awarding increasingly greater point bonuses at intervals. Completing a stage comes with three kinds of awards based on player performance: Stars, Cred, and Coins. Stars and Cred are experience systems. The former are awarded based on total score and range from 1-5, or gold stars (which, for the purposes of scoring, counts as a sixth star). Cred accumulates in small quantities, pooled from performance on individual instruments and earning it unlocks new power-ups. Coins are an in-game currency system used to then purchase unlocked power-ups before stages begin, awarded based on the number of stars earned and the overall difficulty of a stage. Power-ups are absolutely critical to earning high scores and can often more than double the points a player gets when used effectively. Three types of power-ups exist, each functioning differently. "Overdrive" powers are enabled by playing special white notes and directly activated by the player to destroy additional notes, boost multipliers, or just earn bonus points. "Note" power-ups appear as purple notes during a level and represent an element of luck in Blitz's scoring system, with their locations appearing in different locations on every play. Finally, "Track" power-ups provide bonus points for specific instrument tracks or as a way to earn bonus points by switching at the right time. Players can start a level with one power-up of each type, with each power-up selected coming at a cost of Coins. Some combinations of power-ups complement each other, while others can actually make things more difficult. It's up to the player to find combinations which work well for individual songs as well as suit their own skill and style. They absolutely make the game, in terms of fun factor and strategic depth. The purple note power-ups in particular add a welcome bit of chaos, keeping the player constantly on the lookout for opportunities to score and giving some hope that it's possible to squeeze a few more points out of a stage through a combination of skill and sheer good fortune. All of these elements combine to create an addictive, fast-paced, and challenging game. It also, by virtue of its mechanics, has a most interesting balance in terms of compensating for less skilled players while putting the screws to the hardcore at the same time. The range of acceptable timing for hitting notes feels rather broad, which is great for the newcomer who may struggle for a little bit. That same range is downright punishing once you have the hang of managing multiple lanes, as (for the purposes of accuracy) the game determines that if you can hit a note, you must hit the note. It's very easy to hop to a neighboring track, expecting to slide between notes, and be penalized for missing one which is just barely playable. This can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining Blitz Mode or amassing big points with the Jackpot Overdrive power-up, making risky moves all the more exciting to attempt. There's a nice, broad selection of rock music sub-genres found in the twenty-five songs included with the game, if a little heavily weighted toward modern music (forty percent of the tracks in Blitz are from 2010 or later). Every included song is genuinely fun to play, but they're merely the tip of the iceberg when considering that the game supports the several thousand imported or downloadable songs already compatible with Rock Band 3. It's a fantastic way to not only breathe new life into a languishing collection of content, but also appreciate many songs in a different way and give more value to imported tracks the player might otherwise not play in the original, peripheral-based game. Additionally, all the tracks in Rock Band Blitz are also compatible with Rock Band 3. Rock Band Blitz can be a bit of an isolating experience, especially in comparison to other Harmonix titles (such as Rock Band or Dance Central) which encourage an infectiously fun, party atmosphere. With those games, a significant amount of enjoyment can be derived from simply being with people while they play but there's nothing interesting to watch (on-screen or off) when Blitz is being played. The game has too many nuances to be quickly explained to a casual observer and the scrolling background of Rock City isn't really exciting. Other people in the room are probably going to be bored. Which isn't to say that Blitz is anti-social. It's merely asynchronous in its social elements, relying on a new Facebook app, Rock Band World, to promote a sense of community. Linking a Gamertag or PSN ID to a Facebook account through Rock Band World allows a Blitz player to participate in "Goals," secondary objectives which can be attempted alone or in a group with others. You can also initiate competitive "Score Wars" against other players, track statistics, recommend new artists for addition to the game, and add new music to a shopping cart for easy purchase when you're back at your console. Rock Band World is a bit of a mixed bag. While one might think this would allow for top-level integration of the PS3 and Xbox 360 communities for Rock Band, the reality is more limited than that. Players can only participate in Goals together across platforms, with Score Wars limited to Facebook friends who are playing on the same console. But the Goals are an enjoyable addition, offering a way to bolster coin supplies with star objectives ranging from simple to extremely difficult and "Scavenger Hunt" puzzles which task players with playing specific songs in the Rock Band library, guided only by clues. New Goals are planned to arrive in the app on a regular basis and completing them often necessitates having a lot of content available to play with, so there are advantages to teaming up with people in the app. Conversely, Score Wars give players a week to post their best score on a specified track, in direct competition with another player, with the winner earning a big chunk of coins and bragging rights. In a fiendish design move, players can post messages to their opponent's wall whenever they're ahead with two quick clicks in the browser. Getting one of these brags can be downright shocking sometimes when an opponent unexpectedly topples a score with a difference of six figures, but it also creates a sense of attainability towards that high total. Between the trash talking and head-to-head nature, Score Wars are easily the most fun you'll have playing Blitz. The problem is that they're also only really functional with Rock Band World integration and this marks the greatest shortcoming found in Blitz. Without enabling this feature, the only way to initiate Score Wars is through the "Recommended" tab found in the game's menus, which will helpfully suggest a person and song to engage, but doesn't offer any means of specifying an individual player or song. People who opt out of using Facebook will likely be frustrated by these limitations. Rock Band Blitz isn't going to change the world, with its appeal as a game likely limited to a niche market of dedicated rhythm game players, but it is fantastically fun to play and features considerable complexity. Critics who may have been skeptical of whether or not the game would be challenging or enjoyable with its simplified two-note design (as compared to prior Harmonix beat-matching titles) should find that there's still a ton of difficulty potential and a design that encourages players to experiment with a great variety of scoring methods. For those who enjoy beating down their friends in score-based challenges, the Score Wars feature alone will provide an endless amount of fun.
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In Rock Band Blitz, players race down a highway through the middle of the neon-obsessed Rock City. Each stage is based on the note charts of a song selected by the player, with each lane representing a different instrument an...

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All 25 songs for Rock Band Blitz revealed


Aug 13
// Dale North
Rock Band Blitz finally drops this August 28-29 (PSN first, then XBLA), and we now have the full 25-song track list, straight from Harmonix. The following tracks were announced today to round out the previously announced trac...
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Foreigner mega ballads come to Rock Band Music Store


Aug 10
// Dale North
Do you want to know what love is? I can now show you in Rock Band as two of Foreigner's super-ballads are now available for purchase in the Rock Band Music Store. The get-down-on-one-knee-and-belt-it-out love tune "I Want to ...
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Rock Band Blitz releasing late August, new songs revealed


Jul 18
// Conrad Zimmerman
Harmonix has just revealed release date and pricing for Rock Band Blitz, their new downloadable title which offers a different way to play your Rock Band music library in an arcade-style, single-player game. Rock Band Bl...
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Cracker, Midnight Oil and more hit Rock Band next week


Jun 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
Next week's downloadable content releases for Rock Band 3 have been revealed, bringing three never-before-playable bands into the mix. Tracks from Cracker, Florence + The Machine, and Midnight Oil will release on the 5th...

Preview: Rock Band Blitz: New songs and power-ups

May 28 // Dale North
Rock Band Blitz (PS3, Xbox 360)Developer: Harmonix Music SystemsPublisher: Harmonix Music SystemsReleases: Summer 2012  For those that missed our first preview, Rock Band Blitz is a return to games like Frequency and Amplitude, where you'll glide down a track made of multiple lanes of music, with each track representing different musical parts of a song. You're responsible for keeping the music going on all of these tracks by bouncing around between them, hitting all the note markers you come across as you glide. And gone are the plastic guitars and drums; you'll just tap controller buttons to "play" notes on the beat. Harmonix has learned a few things about music gaming since the Frequency days, especially when it comes to social play. Players can send out challenges in Blitz as well as show off their high scores on the leaderboards. They've also learned that people love buying song content to play. A key point for Blitz is that all of that Rock Band content you've amassed will be supported in this game, which means that you can give all that DLC new life. And, in turn, the 25 new tracks included in Blitz will be fully compatible with Rock Band 3.  So, while we're on song lists, here's some of the new songs we've learned are coming to Rock Band Blitz: All-American Rejects – "Kids in the Street" Barenaked Ladies – "One Week" Collective Soul – "Shine" Elton John – "I’m Still Standing" Fall Out Boy – "A Little Less Sixteen Candles" Great White – "Once Bitten Twice Shy" Iron Maiden – "Wicker Man" Living Colour – "Cult of Personality" P!nk – "Raise Your Glass" Shinedown – "Diamond Eyes" Tears for Fears – "Shout" Pink's "Raise Your Glass" is one of those songs that creeps into your earholes and into your head and then stays there until something else big enough comes to push it out. And sometimes that never happens; it never leaves. Knowing that it was late in the day and that I could probably sleep the song off, I gave the song a spin in Blitz.  Though I enjoyed Frequency and Amplitude back in my PS2 days, my gaming muscle memory isn't as developed as Conrad's, so I fumbled my first try a bit. Mocking this song's wretched lyrics, I gave it a second try, this time fully prepared, with the feeling of lane changing now in my fingers. It turns out that once you get the hang of it, popping across lanes to jump into key parts of songs you already know is quite fun. I tried to stay on the lead vocal and was doing fairly well, but when it got to too hairy I'd jump down to the simple quarter-note kick and snare beat, and then slowly push back up through the bouncing bass line and accompaniment tracks as my confidence rebuilt. Felt good, man. Once you get you're groove going, it all makes sense and feels good, and you're able to start focusing on filling tracks up for score multipliers. And, of course, using armed power-ups is another way to push up that score. Before each round, players are able to select from several power-ups that they will be able to send out with a filled overdrive bar. We knew of a couple in our first preview, like the note-blasting rocket, or the huge pinball that bounces around the tracks, but now we have details on a few new ones. Expect 15 or so power-ups in the final version of the game, with some cross play available between a few of them. I didn't get the chance to try enough power-ups to experiment, but Harmonix says that you can, for example, use the bouncing pinball power-up and then send out a shockwave to have them work together. Here's a rundown of some of the revealed power-ups for Blitz: Shockwave - sends out a wave that scores on all notes it touches Bottle Rocket - explodes and clears notes it hits on tracks Point Doubler - 2x points Bandmate - takes over a track and plays all notes for you Jackpot - play absolutely perfect to earn 3X points, but flub up and lose it all Pinball Note - keep a pinball bouncing to clear touched notes Blast Note - blows up any notes it touches Synchrony - switches tracks without breaking your note streak Flame Note - burn everything with fire to keep  Runaway Note - chase a note to get a bonus I love music rhythm games, but the plastic guitars were never my thing. This handheld Rock Band action is right up my alley, though. Blitz is pretty easy to pick up, fun to play, and impossible to fail (trust me on that last one). I'd like to raise my glass up to Harmonix as they will never be never be anything but loud. Nice work here, guys.
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We've already given you the full preview rundown of Harmonix's return to track-based music games, Rock Band Blitz, but we're back today with an update preview that reveals new songs and other game features that we missed last time.  Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass to Rock Band Blitz.

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Bullet For My Valentine headed to Rock Band this Tuesday


May 25
// Brett Zeidler
When I first saw that Bullet For My Valentine was coming to Rock Band 3, I somehow managed to confuse them with My Bloody Valentine (alt-rock darlings from the very early 90's). But then I saw the tracklist and thought, "Wait...
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Rock Band iOS app might break even if you purchased it


May 02
// Chris Carter
Update: Harmonix has responded via the following tweet from John Drake Evidently your purchases aren't safe in the eyes of EA -- even if they're physically located on your device! RockBandAides is reporting that allegedly aft...
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The DTOID Show: Pre-PAX East 2012 Extravaganza!


Apr 05
// Tara Long
Happy negative first day of PAX East, everyone! Since Max is on his way to Boston as we speak, this week's Friday live show has been canceled in lieu of today's PAX preview episode. Watch as Max and I run down what game...

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