Rock Band at face value is the logical next step from Guitar Hero. With the inclusion of drums and vocals, it took a rather solitary experience and made it one of the biggest multiplayer phenomenons of this generation. As a franchise, Rock Band has set the standard that all rhythm games should aspire for. Based on its merits alone, this game would have made my list regardless. However, it appears so high up because of the life-changing impact its had on my life.
In terms of time spent, Rock Band eclipses almost every other game I’ve played this generation by a long shot. Whether I was playing alone or with others, I couldn’t get enough of the power fantasy experience of being a rock star. Harmonix fed my desire through DLC, which actually became an integral part of the experience. Instead of having to wait until next year for a new set of songs, you could download additional songs to beef up your library. Having committed to this method of distribution, Rock Band was able to offer thousands of new songs to keep this experience fresh. I personally bought hundreds of songs, which kept me going for a real long time.
Besides being glued to the TV with my plastic instruments, Rock Band heavily influenced the music I listened to. As someone who grew up mostly listening to urban music, this opened my eyes to a ton of amazing tracks that I may not have given a second chance. It also got me to appreciate music from a different perspective. I grew to enjoy listening to songs like “Working Man” by Rush and “CrushCrushCrush” by Paramore because of how much fun I had playing them in the game.
My love for Rock Band transcended even further as it was the catalyst for me to pick up real instruments. After reaching a level of proficiency with playing the drums on expert, I sat down in front of a real drum set and made real music with them. From there, I bought a real kit and didn’t look back. Although the muscle memory I learned though the game didn’t necessarily translate into tangible skills with the guitar or bass, my time with the game would inspire me to also make the effort to learn those instruments, too.
For providing me with hundreds of hours of entertainment stretched over many years, a myriad of awesome memories and inspiring me to pursue my rock star dreams in real life, Rock Band easily earns its spot right near the top of my list of top games this generation.