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October 31, 2008

This is awesome.

From what I can tell, there are sets for Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Revolution, and I’m assuming the one not shown is Rock Band 1 (except for the guitar). There’s also the MadCatz bass controller, which, as a bass player, I am dying to try out. Also, the microphones aren’t shown, but I am assuming there’s a good pile of ’em.

It is complete silliness, this war between Guitar Hero and Rock Band. It’s Cain and Abel. They were both birthed by Harmonix. And what does this pile of controllers come down to? A bunch of toys. They’re toys. They just happen to be REALLY BIG toys. And because of the stubbornness to not allow compatibility across all the games… well, pick one game or make sure you have enough room for all the toys.

The guitars and mics are the part I don’t get. They all work the same (or did, up until World Tour’s touch pad, a nice touch, har har). So those could easily be compatible. The drums, though? Everyone keeps upping the number of pads. Rock Band had 5, a standard, familiar number to anyone who had played Guitar Hero. World Tour brought it to 6 by adding 2 cymbals and sacrificing a regular pad. And now Rock Revolution has 7. How you keep track of that on that crazy-looking drumkit I have no idea. Probably helps that the entire game plays on the Y and not the Z axis.

I do have some thoughts on how they could improve these controllers though.

Guitar: The touch pad is a neat idea, but it needs to be higher up. It ain’t shredding if you’re not playing up at the top of the neck. Also, you should have to juggle it to activate Star Power, not just tilt it up.

Bass: MadCatz thank you for this, but it needs one thing: a slap pad. That’s right, just over the dual switches, put a pad where we slap our thumbs. Then in future games, you can put slap in as lines across the board, like the bass drum. Slaps would, however, need to come in all the colors: green, red, yellow, blue, and orange. Then you can slap and pluck and make bass REALLY fun to play in-game.

Drums: Come up with a number and stick with it across the board. This is getting ridiculous. Eventually we’ll have 20-pad drum kits with gong controller that goes behind it. We can’t all be Danny Carrey.

Microphones: A microphone is a microphone, but I would like the option of tuning the song a half to a whole octave lower or higher, depending on the person’s singing range. But that’d be mainly icing on the cake.

Flue Controller: I am a huge Jethro Tull fan, however, the only Tull song so far in any of these games has been Aqualung, one of the few Tull songs to not include a flute. If they’re going to do a “Guitar Hero: Jethro Tull,” they’re going to need a flute controller.

Bagpipe Controller: Harmonix is in Boston yet there is no Dropkick Murphys in Rock Band. I actually suggested this controller to them about a year ago to a positive chuckle (obviously they’re Murphys fans). But you make this controller, you can add Murphys, Flogging Molly, Enter the Haggis, and sorts of other Celtic Rock into the mix. It would be glorious.

Camera Controller: For the groupies who don’t want to play but still want to participate. Said camera would be outfitted with an accelerometer so it knows when you’re jumping up and down, and would also control the camera in-game (this can be done via infrared sensor). You’d get points for getting closeups of band members and jumping on beat. You would also get points for taking pictures of yourself and then putting the whole set up on Facebook or MySpace.

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