Rock Band Has No Soul (or Funk or R&B)

rb2This Christmas, we picked up RockBand 2 for the kids. We already had Guitar Hero 3 for the Wii and with our addition of an XBox 360 this summer, we wanted to spread the love.

First off, the game is killer. We bought the special edition, so it came with a guitar, drum set, and microphone. We all thought that GH was fun, throw in the drums and the mic?! Killer! I think the band-as-a-game concept is just brilliant. It is interactive, challenging, and quick (most songs are 4 minutes or less). Invite a few friends over and you can literally party for hours.

Now to my gripe. I grew up in the 70’s, so there was that time when a lot of Black people listened to rock. This was the time of pre-MTV, let alone Yo! MTV Raps. So outside of Black radio, much of what you heard in public was what was popular for the main stream. And when MTV did come out, we were bombarded with rock in all its glory: David Bowie, Guns n Roses, Pat Benatar. So I can rock out with the best of ’em. I have a ball rockin’ to these songs in RB2.

But for what MTV did not play, Pops made up for it with LP collection. Dayton, EWF, Parliament, Con Funk Shun, Sly & The Family Stone. These were the bands we grooved to at parties that our parents had in the basement. The deep base riffs, guitar solos, and don’t mention the vocals. To me, just as killer as the rock bands featured in the game. If there were a group of bands that could be featured in RB2, then these would be it.

So it was more than disappointing to find so little soul (or funk or R&B) in RB2. There is a Beastie Boys song or two (does that classify?). But none of the greatness that defines 70’s an 80’s music for a large swath of America (and the buying public, I might add).

But wait! RB2 has downloadable content!

But NO! Even there, I can’t find anything.

I went out to the RB forums to see if there were any announcements about forthcoming DLC that may venture into the funk or soul world. Whoa! I know the internet is famous for enabling pissants to be bigger pissants with the wonderful world of anonymity, but dude we are talking about music in a game. There are some serious bigots on those boards. I found a few forum threads discussing diversity in RB2. Here is a nice gem:

If more country songs are offered for DLC, my rock band is going on ebay! and GHWT here i come. i wouldnt be so angry if they had release at least one or two rock songs as well. but come on guys this weeks DLC is pathetic.

So, this cat is saying that if Harmonix puts more country music out as DLC, he’s selling his game!? First, it is DLC, meaning you have to pay for it and download it. If you don’t want it on your system, don’t buy it! I would hate to see what he thinks about funk or soul music.

Hopefully, HMX has heard of The Long Tail. I think that adding these genres as DLC is a perfect example of how this concept can translate into additional revenue (and satisfaction for lot of people).

I want to be Verdine dammit!

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About Geordi Calrissian

African American? Check. Nerd cred? Check. Star Trek? Check. Star Wars? Check. What else is there?

Posted on December 31, 2008, in gaming and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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