What makes a game like Rock Band fun? Rather, what makes a game like Rock Band so much fun that you want to go back to it again and again, replaying songs and increasing difficulty levels until you go mad?
I wasn't a bandwagon jumper on guitar rhythm games, in fact, I was one of those "Why don't you learn to play a real guitar?" type of people for the longest time. I thought that little plastic guitar and the thought of playing it in front of people was kinda stupid. So I held off on picking it up for several months, even though every thing I saw online said that it was just about the funnest game ever. Even after I saw people salivating over Guitar Hero 2 I still neglected to pick up the original Guitar Hero for several more weeks.
And then I got it.
Guitar Hero has got to be the absolute most frustrating game in the world to get good at. It took me at least a week to get through most of medium difficulty, but it was a huge sense of accomplishment to finish the songs, even if I wasn't scoring high on the later tracks. So, after I finished medium, of course I was going to hard. Unfortunantly the evil orange button had other plans for me, and being a rookie at the game didn't help. So I went back and started replaying the songs.
And replaying the songs. And replaying the songs. Everytime I'd replay something my score would increase exponentially. That's when I realized I was hooked.
After setting down Guitar Hero for a while, I went off to other, shinier games for my 360. Most were FPS's, but hey that's most of the xbox line-up. After a time, I forgot about that plain old fun feeling of playing a song and beating it. Well, not just beating it, but taking ahold of it by it's nether regions and throttling it.
Then the first Texas NARP occurred, and I got a chance to play both GH 2 and 3. This was back before Rock Band came out and raped our faces. I sat around and played GH3 for a long time that night, and was asked why I didn't play on hard. I responded that the orange button could go to hell and die, but quietly thought to myself that hey, maybe I could get over this whole moving your damn hand thing and learn to play at the higher difficulties. So of course as soon as I got back to Dallas I picked up Guitar Hero 2, with my favoritist guitar peripheral ever, and went to work.
I soon found out that no, hard is still too hard for me, but medium was good, and I could do the first few tiers of hard well, but not great. That's the great thing about the next game I got, Rock Band. Rock Band takes the hard difficulty of Guitar Hero, and makes it just ever so slightly easier. The sense of accomplishment and wonder I got playing through the tiers of Rock Band was astounding. Hell, I'm going through the hard difficulty of RB again right now, just to unlock it to play in the World Tour mode on my friends 360. I could transfer my save file. But I don't want to.
I just want to play. I don't care how many times I hear "Here It Goes Again," I know that that easy-ass solo is still going to be fun as hell to play. These games are some of the easiest to pick up, hardest to master, and hardest to put down games available. I still occasionally wake up to go to work with my legs sore from standing in front of the tv pretending to be a rock star all night the previous night. And being able to share the entertainment with other people really adds to the value of these games. Playing along with three other people is one of the funnest gaming experiences out there right now, and if you haven't done it you're missing out on one of the pure joys of gaming. Hell, non-gamers have a way of getting addicted to this game. And with the downloadable content coming out on an almost weekly basis, I can't see myself putting these games down anytime soon.
tl;dr I wish I was playing Rock Band right now.