After a five year hiatus (if you don’t include the tangentially-related Rock Band Blitz), Harmonix is set to bring the franchise back with Rock Band 4. Poised for release later in 2015, Harmonix has stated that they want all our old instruments to be compatible, that they’re working on allowing players to transfer all of their old music to the new game and that they’ve come up with some ways to really freshen things up. Am I ready to rock out with plastic instruments again?
Though it’s been years since I’ve touched a plastic guitar or drums, that is a franchise that has made a profound impact on my life. It provided me, my family and my friends with hundreds of hours of joy. I have spent upwards of – if not more than – $1,000 on games, DLC and instruments. The influence Rock Band had on my life even spread far beyond the bounds of my time playing the games. My time with it heavily influenced the music I would listen to in real life, as songs I loved playing became songs I had to have on my MP3 player. I grew to listen to and appreciate music in different ways, as I would analyze songs note-for-note in terms of how fun they would be to play in the game.
Furthermore, that game inspired me (and in the case of the drums, somewhat trained me) to actually play real instruments. Learning how to play drums on expert difficulty directly translated to me playing a real drum set. Later, I would pick up the guitar and bass and mess around with those. I’m a long ways away from being a one-man band, but I’m somewhat competent with all of them, which is more than I could have ever said about myself prior to the existence of Rock Band.
Despite my torrid love affair with the franchise, I burned out on it like everyone else did. My plastic instruments would end up collecting years worth of dust. Those instruments now reside with my brother at his place, though I can’t say I’ve felt an urge to pick them back up.
That is, until this recent news of Rock Band 4. I don’t have any of the instruments around anymore, as I left those behind with my brother when I moved out of my parents’ house, but I still have Rock Band Blitz on my Xbox 360. Even though I was alone and without a plastic guitar or drumsticks in my hands, the sensation of rocking out to that music felt immediately gratifying again.
Am I excited for Rock Band 4? Certainly. Am I ready for it? I don’t know. Now that I live in a condo, the noise from smashing on these instruments becomes a real concern. Storage is also a concern, as those instruments take up a lot of space and we don’t have much of that to work with here. Without my brother around to play with at virtually a moment’s notice, getting any sort of local multiplayer going will be much harder. With the wedding coming up, I also can’t forget that Rock Band has the potential to obliterate my bank account thanks to its high initial investment plus all of the DLC. In any case, I’ll certainly be there in some form for the return of Rock Band.