Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Carry on, my wayward gamer...

Dance Dance Revolution. It seems like a good idea. Get up, get moving, "dance" to (Japanese) pop music beats. I never could get into it, though. For some reason, I can't make my feet move to where they need to go, when they need to get there. I thought maybe my kids could get into it, since they like to dance and show off to music; but the DDR mats we got for the Xbox went almost completely unused.

When the Guitar Hero craze started to take off, I derided it for what I thought was basically "Strum Strum Revolution". "It's like DDR, but without that pesky exercise component! Score another one for America! W00t yeah!"

I guess my first introduction to next-gen rhythm games was with the release of Boom Boom Rocket for Xbox Live Arcade. Still jaded by my preconception of an Americanized wimping-out of DDR's physical exertion, I didn't think that much of it, although I admit, after a while, it started to grow on me a bit. The tunes they picked for the demo were kind of catchy, and there was actually something to falling into a rhythm that had something to do with the music. No, it's not like actually playing an instrument, but it's kind of fun.

Not too long ago, the Xbox Marketplace released a demo of Guitar Hero III. I downloaded this and gave it a try. While you don't get the full effect playing it with a standard controller, I found myself enjoying this as well. Not only does it have the same fun mechanic where you're matching a rhythm to music, but the music is something I actually enjoy listening to.

Ah, but then the practical part of me spoke up. "Well, if you like listening to the music, why not just buy the CD and spare yourself the frustration of having to push buttons in time to the beat?" And I deleted the demo to make room for new content. "You wouldn't need to make room if you had one of those 120GB hard drives." "Shaddap, it's way overpriced; don't get me started."

Which brings us to last night. Solstice invited me over to play some Guitar Hero II. So I did, and the most peculiar thing happened: I had a lot of fun. Even though it hurt a lot. I once dated a guitar player to tried to teach me how to play, and it just hurt to bend my wrist around the neck of the guitar to play. Even though this isn't anything like a real guitar, it still felt the same. Also, I have to admit, the music was a little out of my range for taste — it's a little "harder" rock than I generally like. But that wasn't really the point. We had a lot of fun "rocking out" together. Which pretty much confirmed another suspicion I had about this game before: it's really more of a party game, one I'd probably only be playing if I knew I'd be playing with somebody (besides just my kids, who aren't quite old enough to play seriously yet).

So I suppose I'm starting to feel a little peer pressure to pick up an axe. I suppose it's only justified, considering I managed to peer pressure Solstice into picking up the 360 when Halo 3 was released. To make matters worse, I just got a Best Buy coupon. Although it's too late to save me some money on Burnout Paradise, 10% is a lot more off the price of Rock Band...

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