AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR
This is gonna be a smattering of observations of things that have occurred lately. I apologize for not being more focused, but that’s not really my…uh…focus. Ahem.
PROGRAMMING ABNORMALITY OF THE RECENT TIME
ROCK BAND 3 PRO GUITAR
I think I got really lucky to have snagged a MadCatz Mustang Pro last Friday. Due to a timely call to a GameStop I’d been stalking for weeks, combined with a strategically implausible cancellation of a pre-order, one and only one of these babies was set aside for Robyn and I to go pick up. No other store in town seems to have one. We took it to a friend’s house last weekend for its initial unveiling.
I can’t go back to regular 5-button Rock Band guitar now. The paradigm has shifted for me.
The controller itself is still pretty firmly rooted in the RB plastic instrument oeuvre. It’s still not something people would mistake for a real guitar (that comes out in March of ’11), but it’s a very usable hybrid. The buttons are kind of weird, and the “strings” you strum between the bridge and pickup-like thing are not actual strings, but this is as close as it gets for now. RB3’s tutorial for playing is quite good, and the career that teaches you techniques, followed by a breakdown of a song, followed by playing the actual song, is excellent. Being able to actually play a RB controller in the manner that I would play my real guitar but with the added benefit of playing along with great music that I’m actively learning to play is really sweet. Once the Fender Squire Pro Guitar comes out, the fusion of video gaming and instrument instruction will reach its sweetest apex yet.
Of course, I’m probably having so much fun with it because I’ve played actual guitar for 14 years. Navigating the fretboard is not alien to me, but not looking at my hands while playing something is. The sight-reading aspect of it is not something I’m used to, as well as being ultra-precise with each strum, so I still have something to learn. But for those who haven’t touched a real guitar, this is gonna be some difficult, mind-blowing stuff. The fun, easy party aspect of the game has been stripped for verisimilitude, which I accept with open arms, but may turn off a lot of casual gamers just looking for an accessible interface. Be warned!
NEW-ISH MUSIC TO ROCK/BUMP
The Knife (and their side project Fever Ray) and Hudson Mohawke are two new bands passed on by some friends. The former is upbeat techno with some interesting vocals and the latter is kind of like the best parts of club music done with a Warp Records bent. Also, after head-banging my way through the Scott Pilgrim XBLA game months ago, I finally picked up the insanely dudical soundtrack by chiprock outfit Anamanaguchi. Coming from someone who regularly listens to NES soundtracks, their music is just like that, only amped up with actual guitar and drums intermingled with the hyperkinetic leads, melodies, and funky synth sounds.
IPHONE 4 ACCLIMATION
I remember when I first got my iPhone 4. The Retina Display (a term I still kind of cringe over, as it is a bit pretentious and dumb) is truly breathtaking. The 3G was my phone before it, and the jump in resolution was just astounding. Everything was so detailed and sharp. Exclamations came with every screen.
Now, as with all things that are awesome but regularly encountered, I have adjusted. I’m now acclimated to the awesome. This makes me sad. I’m ruined for anything worse. Like the resolution of the screen I’m looking at right now.
FOR THE ROAD
As much as I love Craigslist, the inconsistent manner in which communication occurs can be a bit exasperating. No one who has ventured forth to check on the availability of the items I have listed has actually come through yet. The waiting game continues apace.