A Question of Fun

Mini Rock Star

Having freshly dinged level 79, I’m now just one level away from the cap in World of Warcraft.  I’m currently questing in Sholozar Basin and to be honest, I couldn’t be any more indifferent of my experience there.  It’s the same old, same old.  The environment, like all of Northrend, looks very nice but the quests are just more of the same uninspired stuff I’ve done a thousand times previous.  I’m using the same attacks, spells, and button-press routines I’ve done countless times before.  WoW is very cyclical for me; sometimes I log in and have a great time, other times, not so much.

Pictured above is my two year old daughter, my little budding rock star.  She discovered our Rock Band 2 set a few months ago and since then it’s rare that a day goes by where she doesn’t ask to go downstairs for “music”.  Sometimes she wants mommy and daddy to play the instruments while she dances, shaking her tiny butt back and forth, while other times she likes to whale away on the drums.  Either way, she has a blast, as do I just watching her.  Unlike WoW, I’ve never equated Rock Band with not having fun.

This past weekend my wife and I had some friends over for a Rock Band night.  Once my daughter was bathed and soundly asleep, we brought out our band (The Ginger Toupées) and rocked away into the night.  Much fun was had by all.  When it came time to shut down for the evening we discovered that the “No Fail” mode had been left on from my daughter’s earlier play session and none of our tour progress had been saved.  Oops.

No one seemed to mind though.  “We’ll just do it all over again on our next Rock Band night,” was the common refrain.  There isn’t one member of The Ginger Toupées who is dreading the next Rock Band night knowing we have to re-do a bunch of gigs; we’re all looking forward to it in fact.  If it were up to me we’d be playing right now, dag-nabbit!  Now, just imagine that for whatever reason the WoW databases were rolled back 24 hours.  How willing would you be to re-do content you just completed in WoW?  I for one would have to seriously force myself to do so, and would probably be pretty ticked off while doing it.

So, why is repetition in one game fun, while an annoying grind in another?

Yes, this is really our band.  The Ginger Toupees
Yes, this is really our band. The Ginger Toupées. Click the thumbnail for a wallpaper-sized version.

No Way Am I Singing

Rockin' in my basementAfter hearing from what seems like every single person I came across how awesome Rockband is, I picked it up for my Xbox 360 this past weekend. I had never played any of the “music games” before, so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. My wife was even more sceptical. At $170, I was really hoping that “everyone” was right, and that Rockband really was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Unpacking the box, the first question I asked myself was, “where am I going to store all this stuff?” The second question I had, while unpacking the microphone, was “who’s going to sing?” I have no problem singing when I’m on my own, but there’s no way I was going to do it in front of other people. My wife was even more adamant that she wasn’t going to sing, and made sure I knew it. Many times over.

Saturday evening we had friends over and started a band, the Ginger Toupées, and had an absolute blast, rocking into the wee hours of the night. I can honestly say that it’s been quite a while since I’ve had so much fun; not just playing a game, but just fun, period. Barely twenty-minutes into it I was already pumping my Xbox Live account with points so I could download more songs. We all stopped worrying about who was going to sing, and just did it. We were even ready to run out to Wal-Mart (open 24 hours to serve us better!) to pick up another guitar so all four of us could play at once, but unfortunately we had all had a few drinks at that point.

How fun is it, you ask? Well, my wife, the one who would “never, ever, sing”, was soon dancing and bee-bopping around while belting out the tunes at the top of her lungs. It was quite a sight. We lost all track of time, and before we knew it, it was two in the morning. Yeah, Rockband is fun. Really, really fun.

Some quick notes:
Playing drums is awesome.
Playing drums on Nine Inch Nails’ March of the Pigs is wicked hard.
I’m amazed (and thankful) my daughter slept through our rockin’.
I wish all the songs were unlocked for local multiplayer.
I sure hope all this plastic stuff doesn’t shatter into a million pieces.