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Now the 360’s Fridge is Full

(Has it really been five months since the last blog post? Holy crap. Time flies when you’re having fun.)

One of the reasons I wanted to pick up an Xbox 360 was, believe it or not, how great of a service Xbox Live seemed to be. In addition to the integrated friends list and all that standard goodness, the titles available on the platform seemed like a blast. From old arcade classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, to new takes on old games like Uno, to entirely new experiences like Geometry Wars… well, I wanted in.

Microsoft always painted themselves into a corner by having to support the “Arcade” unit of the system which did not come with a hard drive, eventually resorting to packing in some amount of on-board storage to support their own initiatives. It seemed strange to split your consumer base in this day and age, something Sega learned the hard way with the Sega CD and 32X a decade earlier.

A few years have passed since then. We have been updated to a whole new “experience” with a new interface. The restrictions on how big a downloadable game must be have been lifted, and then lifted again... and lifted what seems like several more times since then. Current games like Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light now kick around in the 2 GB range. 50 MB seems hilariously quaint by comparison.

What about me, though? I am a gamer. I knew which system model to get back then — I got the standard model with the 20 GB hard drive, of course! I had all sorts of downloadable games I wanted to check out, and the upcoming Guitar Hero III and especially Rock Band were going to need all sorts of space for DLC!

Flash-forward again to 2010. I have 4 MB of space left on my Xbox 360 hard drive.

I have removed as much as humanly possible while still keeping the necessities. No music videos initially installed to the drive. No extra game demos. It is an epic struggle every few weeks when a new Rock Band Network (or even just standard, weekly DLC) song comes out and I need to juggle some space around. Sure, a USB stick is an option for a couple small items… but with the entire original Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band installed to the hard drive, and now not having enough room for Lego Rock Band (never mind installing Rock Band 2 for when 3 comes out next month)… those dongles just are not going to cut it.

At the time, 20 GB seemed like plenty of space for a game console that was still primarily disc-based. We all saw the purely-digital-delivery revolution coming down the line, but not enough of us anticipated just how much it would come this same generation.

Needless to say, I am in the market for a new Xbox 360 hard drive. 60 GB (the amount Microsoft eventually began including as “standard”) seems like enough for me… for now, anyway. That should cover the Rock Band installs I need to do, along with plenty of room for demos and XBLA games (looking at you Lara Croft and Limbo). The question is… is it really enough? If I could not anticipate 20 GB not being enough, having all the experience that I now possess, is it incredibly short-sighted to think that 60 GB will carry me to the end? A used 60 GB hard drive runs about $35-40; a used 120 GB runs about $45-50. Should I just spend the extra couple bucks on double the more-than-double the space? Buying “new” is out of the question almost on principle alone, as Microsoft is well-known for entirely gouging with their accessory pricing.

That all being said, let us not forget about our ol’ pal the PS3, either — with all of the mandatory installs, that 40 GB hard drive is typically hovering in the range of only having one or two free gigs. At least that one can be easily replaced

Conversation 007: Online Services, Games, Demos, and More

Hey, lookie here. It’s a podcast episode! That’s right, we finally got off our butts for the first time since February to record a show. We had a whole slew of ideas kicking around, but ultimately decided to discuss how online services for consoles have really changed the playing field. Whether it’s exclusive demos, downloadable content, further making magazines irrelevant… services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network (and perhaps to a lesser extent WiiConnect24 and Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection) have created an entirely new vocabulary gamers must be familiar with just to exist these days.

There was just so much content cover, we didn’t even get around to discussing things like the reliability of services (PSN run slow for anyone else?), paying for access and the future of paid services (Gold, anyone?)… and on and on and on.

We were happy to bring Meri on to shoot the shit with us this episode, and can’t wait to have her on in the future, again. In addition to talking about the games we’ve been playing and our main topic, we also gave our Top 10 Console Download Games.

As always, big special thanks to everyone out there sticking with us while waiting for a new episode by contributing your responses on the blog posts and continuing to drop us a line. Whether it’s your own Top 10 Games or a question for us, we would love to hear from you.

D’oh! “Rock Band” DLC Incompatibility

Not wanting to seem entirely biased in one direction (though it’s mostly true), it looks like I have to cough up a little disappointment due to the fact that in-game content and DLC for The Beatles: Rock Band will be incompatible with other versions of Rock Band, which extends to not being able to export from one game to the other.

This, of course, comes after I snarkily turn my nose up at the Guitar Hero franchise and its lack of compatibility between games from the very get-go of Activision’s take-over.

I will give Harmonix somewhat of a pass, since with the inclusion of new features like three-part harmonies, it might be rather difficult to process back into the single-vocal-track for the standard Rock Band games. I guess I was holding out hope that it would simply strip out the harmony parts and bring just the lead vocals over. If anyone could make that work, it would have been Harmonix.

I’m still waiting to hear whether or not Guitar Hero 5 is going to offer compatibility with World Tour DLC and especially its on-disc songs (since I personally haven’t purchased any DLC for it). As much as I don’t want to fall for Activision’s shenanigans again, the on-disc artist list is getting a little too difficult for me to ignore. Thrice, Brand New, Sunny Day Real Estate… graaaaaaaar! If I can bring my World Tour on-disc songs into 5, I might consider picking it up. Harmonix set the bar on this one, and I don’t know if Activision can ignore that yet again.

Was a podcast recorded last weekend? I dunno. Maybe.

Xbox 360 License Transfer Issues

Hey. In the new house. Let’s blog, again.

So as you may have read on the site and heard on the podcast, I received a replacement Xbox 360 last September. I did not have a single problem since then (knock on wood). I went through all of their directions and re-downloaded items from my “Download History” if I needed them. All set to go.

Well, I just moved. The internet connection is up in the loft. To get on Xbox LIVE right now, I have to run a bazillion-foot ethernet cable down over the railing, across the living room, and into the 360 in the TV stand. I could buy a $100 wireless adapter, but that would be ridiculous (though I probably will do so using bonus points from my credit card so I don’t feel like I’m wasting real money). Needless to say, I don’t keep that cable running to-and-fro all the time.

The other day Jeff came over to help set up the new ION drum kit. Yes, it’s fantastic. We then attempted to play some Rock Band 2, and of course dived into some recent DLC. No problems there. Then we tried some older DLC… stuff I downloaded before I received my replacement console. Here’s what we got:

rock_band_song_unavailable

If you can’t read that (and for the sake of search-engine optimization), it reads:

The song data you were accessing has become unavailable, and the game cannot proceed without it. Your game session has restarted.

Since I’m moderately intelligent, I knew it was a license issue. A little Googling around brings up similar experiences, confirming that even deleting and re-downloading the individual song content does not re-license it to the new system hardware. What does this mean?

A call to Xbox customer support (800-4-MY-XBOX) was in order.

I ended up speaking with two very nice ladies (with very thick accents, and the second sounded like she was taking the call in a sports stadium full of people). Since I was able to explain the issue clearly and describe to them what the resolution should be, it went very smoothly. I will apparently receive a call back within 48 hours to update me on the resolution, as well as receive an e-mail when it is complete. All I had to do was provide my replacement console’s serial number and system ID a couple times, my gamertag, and e-mail address.

I’ll update again when it’s resolved. Hopefully this is an easy fix…!

More Activision Insanity

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I just wanted to post up another bit of absolute insanity regarding Activision and their asinine decisions with the Guitar Hero games and DLC.

According to this preview of Guitar Hero: Metallica by Destructoid, the game does not support any DLC, including the Death Magnetic album that was offered pre-World Tour. You know… the Metallica album DLC. That you would assume could be played in… oh, I dunno…┬á their own game featuring Metallica. Nope, instead you get a mere three of the album’s songs included in the new game on-disc.

For DLC that was actually for Guitar Hero III and forwards-compatible with World Tour, this is perhaps the most ridiculous decision yet I have seen out of them.

They Just Don’t Get It (Let Me Play My Music!)

IGN has put up an interview with Paul Gadbois, producer at Beedox, the company responsible for developing Guitar Hero Greatest Hits in conjunction with Activision. This “new” game is not really a “new” game; think of it as a compilation disc of songs from previous games. That sounds like a fantastic idea in theory, especially since they note that songs that were previously featured as cover versions will now be updated to their master tracks, and all of the songs will be playable as the full band (vocals, guitar, bass, drums). There were a lot of songs in the first two games that I would love to see come back in playable form in the updated game engine, so you can imagine my disappointment as I kept reading.

IGN: Will downloadable tracks purchased for Guitar Hero World Tour work with this disc? What about GHTunes songs?

Paul Gadbois: Guitar Hero Greatest Hits (working title on PS3/PS2) will support the entire library of downloadable user-created songs from GHTunes and players can once again create and publish their own songs from the Music Studio. Currently, downloadable songs for Guitar Hero World Tour will work with that title only.

And it only continues to get worse:

IGN: Will there be any way to purchase this disc and import the songs into Guitar Hero World Tour (or vice versa) to have all of the tracks accessible at once?

Paul Gadbois: The 48 songs in this game will all be instantly playable and are designed to be playable off the disc only.

Excuse me? It is clearly using the exact same game engine and infrastructure from World Tour if it will be fully interoperable with the “GHTunes” library and service, so why on Earth will downloadable content for that exact same game engine not be accessible in this new game…?! I gave the jump from II to III a free pass when the previous game’s DLC would not work with the newer game, since a new company was picking up the reigns and developing from scratch. I was slightly miffed that World Tour would not import (even as guitar-only) the DLC from III, but I got on with my life.

This, however, is just another concrete showcase of how Activision views you as a consumer, and how lost of a cause they are for progress.

Here comes the inevitable Rock Band comparison you were waiting for (ignoring the Wii version of the first game, and all PS2 versions due to technical limitations):

  1. DLC purchased during the time of the first Rock Band is fully usable in Rock Band 2 the same way as it was in the first game.
  2. All DLC, regardless of when it is purchased, works in both Rock Band and Rock Band 2.
  3. The (near) entirety of the first Rock Band can be exported to your console’s hard drive for play in Rock Band 2, without the need to switch discs.
  4. While AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack is a retail, disc-only game with its own gameplay, the music can be installed to your console’s hard drive and then used within the traditional Rock Band games.
  5. The upcoming Beatles game has just been given the name The Beatles: Rock Band, hinting at some type of interoperability with Rock Band games, and essentially confirms interoperability with instruments.

Sure, World Tour finally opened up interoperability with Rock Band instruments (and would even adapt the drum note-path from 6 to 5 notes when used with the Rock Band set), but that’s about the extent of the consideration I can speak to. There’s a reason why World Tour rarely gets popped into my 360. There are several reasons, actually, and I think you can infer anything I have not already touched up.

This lack of DLC interoperability is the modern example of what many of us were doing several years ago with Dance Dance Revolution simulators like DWI and Stepmania. Despite owning every single American PS1 & PS2 DDR game and a plethora of the Japanese releases, I found myself hooking up the pads to the computer to illegally play copies of songs that I otherwise would have to switch back and forth between two consoles and dozens of games to play. Want to do “Boom Boom Dollar” followed by “Cowboy“? Sorry! It would not surprise me one bit if some of the Harmonix folks went through this same process, because once you have all of your music at your fingertips (also see: having an iPod versus a portable CD player), you never want to go back, and it’s unfathomable to even consider going back to such an antiquated method.

At the end of the day, however, it all comes back to revenue for the game developers. Rock Band 2 did not quite hit sales expectations, while the Guitar Hero brand continues to perform incredibly well (especially on the Wii). Does this mean all that nonsense about interoperability, consumer consideration, games as a platform, etc. means absolutely nothing? Are they just the incoherent internet whines of a select few?

Prince of Persia: PC, DRM, DLC, ROFL

You may have heard on the podcast several times that Andrew and I… well, we like easy games. We’re busy people, and hard games take up too much time in our crazy adult lives! To be fair, I don’t think either of us actually want complete cake-walks for games; rather, we want a gaming experience that we don’t have to fight with. Games have progressed a long way over the decades, and the shift to 3D has finally gotten to a point where we’re not constantly rotating a camera around ourselves (see: Super Mario 64… which, don’t get me wrong, I love!).

With all that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the latest iteration (and incarnation) of Prince of Persia is thoroughly intriguing to me. You can’t die? You’re not severely punished? You can get right back into the swing of things quickly after messing up? Sign me up.

prince_of_persia_pc

(Related side note: Don’t you just hate fighting games that don’t offer a “quick continue” option when you lose in story/arcade mode, forcing you back to a character select screen, rather than just click-and-replay…?)

After tossing in my new GeForce 9800 video card, I’ve been looking for things to show me beautiful imagery on my computer screen. Not really wanting to go the FPS route any further (sorry, Crysis), the consideration you should obviously see coming would be the newest Prince of Persia. While it is also available on PS3/360, since I won’t have an HDTV set up until we move in the next couple months, the only way to see the game in its high-def glory right now would be over on the PC running at 1600×1050 with the settings turned all the way up.

This particular game has been a curious case for me. I am fully capable of running it, and Ubisoft announced prior to the game’s release that the PC version would be shipping without any DRM on it (the retail version, anyway; Steam’s would still have its own DRM integration). Being able to install it right onto the hard drive without needing to keep a DVD in the drive (or otherwise cracking it to do so) is one of my current obsessions, and partly why I’m often found playing PSN / Xbox Live games more than anything else (you may call it “laziness”, but I call it “comfy convenience”).

As many pundits and general gaming “observationalists” (yes, I’m coining new terms) were quick to point out, Ubisoft’s “No DRM!” decision was not necessarily a case of freebies, giving back to the gaming crowd, or any other type of selfless act. There may be a bit too much conspiracy theory at work, but it’s not beyond a reasonable doubt to assume that using such a high-profile game to later claim, “Hey, look how much it was pirated, despite us giving the gaming crowd exactly what they asked for with no DRM!” gives them an easy out to revert back to typical destructive measures.

Fast-forward to this week’s announcement of new downloadable content for the game (including a playable epilogue to the story and new outfits based on the original character designs) for the 360 and PS3… but not the PC version. Wait, why no PC version content? The current official word from Ubisoft is that it is due to “business reasons”.

Am I too far off to see this conversation going something like:

– “We have released the game DRM-free just like everyone asked!”
(game gets pirated as it normally would have anyway)
– “We have new downloadable content coming for the 360 and PS3!”
(asked for clarification on no PC DLC)
– “Due to the low sales figures and overwhelming piracy rate for the PC version, we have decided not to support DLC in this particular version of the game.”

…? What do you think? Does this make you second-guess picking the game up if you haven’t already, or drive you more towards a console version? Were you not even considering the PC version in the first place?

“Rock Band” or “Guitar Hero”: A Platform For Investment

Harmonix has done a great job of promoting Rock Band as a “platform”. DLC is backwards/forwards compatible (meaning it works in either the first or second game), and the same goes for the fake plastic instruments. You can even export the majority of songs from the first game right into the second game, something Bemani fans have wanted forever (helping contribute to projects like Stepmania and pirated collections of hundreds of step and song files from all DDR games).

That is exactly why the game has become such an investment. With everything working together so beautifully, it makes complete sense to say “Money be damned!” and go ahead and spend lots of virtual space money on the game, racking up a collection of dozens upon dozens of downloaded songs to play.

I actually briefly brought up this idea with my wife (hehe! fun to say!) earlier. She thought that maybe the term “investment” wasn’t really accurate, since you’re not, for example, making any money off of it. I think it really is accurate, though. For me, that return on investment is the fun that you get from having all of it in such a convenient mass (my time and effort is worth money, I say). There’s nothing more enjoyable in gaming to me, right now, than having a bunch of people over and having the awesome ability to scroll and scroll and scroll to whatever type of song any particular person wants to play.

Anyway, those decisions just got a lot more interesting with the release of Guitar Hero: World Tour. Suddenly you have two completely separate “platforms” that both work in the exact same way and perform the exact same function(s).

What is a music fan to do?

Unfortunately for Activision, I’ve already made a decision on what my platform is going to be… and it’s Rock Band. Why is this? Quite frankly, it’s because Rock Band was there first.

I am currently up to 247 songs available in the game, including 108 downloaded songs (which itself includes those 20 free downloads with a new purchase of Rock Band 2). With such a huge amount of entertainment at my disposal in that game, it makes little sense for me to start doing the same thing in a separate game that (like I just mentioned) works and performs in the exact same way.

This feeling is further heightened when you consider just how much overlap already exists between the games. In terms of straight-up on-disc songs, there are 13 overlaps between the two latest games. When you count DLC as-of this writing, you’re up to 19 songs. There has been very little pure exclusivity announced, so there is always a possibility that a song that shows up as DLC in one game could show up weeks (or even months) later in the other. Again, Blink-182’s “Dammit” was an on-disc song for Guitar Hero: World Tour, and even though Travis Barker was involved with that game, it didn’t stop the song from appearing as DLC for Rock Band just one week before their competitor’s launch. Billy Corgan has the exact same role in Guitar Hero: World Tour, yet “Today” appears on-disc in both games, and Rock Band already has “Siva” and “Zero” as DLC (in addition to “Cherub Rock” being on-disc in the first game). Guitar Hero: World Tour launched with Hayley Williams and “Misery Business“, but Rock Band was there first with Paramore’s “crushcrushcrush” and “That’s What You Get“.

This is why I am so frightened to purchase any DLC within Guitar Hero: World Tour. Why purchase it for that game if there’s even the slightest possibility that I can purchase it for Rock Band and add it to the larger, pre-existing collection of music?

If Activision wants to compete on this level with this information and these situations in mind, they’re going to have to do something that is horribly anti-consumer-friendly… bring in the exclusivity.

There are already confirmations of this with Metallica, and they’ve even noted that Rock Band getting an Aerosmith song took place before they grabbed the band for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. The consumer (read: ME) would need this knowledge that there is absolutely no chance of them getting a band’s music in the other game (in this case Rock Band) before they would consider purchasing it for the new game (in this case Guitar Hero).

So what is the point to this tirade? Is it just more pro-Rock Band shenanigans from me? Possibly; I certainly wouldn’t deny that. If nothing else, it proves that Harmonix was the one with the foresight to plan for all of this and get there first.

Finally, as a brief follow-up to yesterday’s “Subtle Harmonix Genius” post (and pretty much falling in line with the above conclusion), they’ve announced that next week’s Rock Band DLC is going to be the entire Foo Fighters album The Colour and the Shape. It’s not the No Doubt pack I was expecting, but it *is* a giant pack of music from yet another artist that is also featured in Guitar Hero: World Tour, and that’s more or less exactly what I expected them to do (I just predicted the wrong artist :P).

EDIT: In thinking about this a little more this morning, I realized that I’ve basically described a typical video game console war… except the games, themselves, are acting as the consoles. Sure, we’ve always had this type of competition (especially in things like yearly sports games; EA vs 2K for example), but never has it reached the $200-to-entry threshold level between competitors (for the full experience, anyway).

Subtle Harmonix Genius

Hey, all. I’m back! I have a lot to talk about on whatever (and whenever) the next podcast is about gaming on a honeymoon, but until then, it’s business as usual for me.

(That basically means that I talk about Rock Band in some capacity, if you’re new here.)

So I picked up Guitar Hero: World Tour (game-only) Monday evening after getting back into the states. I was considering getting the guitar bundle as the new guitar looks pretty sweet, but since my Guitar Hero III one is still kicking pretty well and the whammy bar is the only broken component of my original Rock Band one, I’ll just hold out until something major actually snaps somewhere before I upgrade. I’m not going to talk about the new Guitar Hero just yet, though. I do have a whole lot of comparisons and such I’d like to make, but it’s not time for that yet.

I want to talk about some, as I’ve titled it, “Subtle Harmonix Genius”. Harmonix, as you may well know, is the developer of Rock Band (and originally Guitar Hero, before the four or so involved companies all got split apart, sold, acquired, formed new alliances, etc.). I’ve been keeping an eye on what Harmonix has been doing with Rock Band (more specifically Rock Band 2, though it’s all one big platform, as they’ve accurately described it) as the release of Guitar Hero: World Tour neared. It’s all extremely intriguing, and quite sly if you dig really deep into it. Let me give you a few examples.

Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” is an on-disc song in both Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour. Months ahead of time (back in July), Harmonix began heavily promoting their game with “Everlong“.

System of a Down’s “B.Y.O.B.” is an on-disc song in Guitar Hero: World Tour. On August 5th, Harmonix made “B.Y.O.B.” available as DLC for Rock Band.

Nirvana’s acoustic (MTV Unplugged) version of “About A Girl” is an on-disc song in Guitar Hero: World Tour. Two weeks prior to the game’s release (on October 21st), Harmonix released a seven-track pack of Nirvana songs as DLC for Rock Band.

Travis Barker, current drummer for Blink-182, was involved with Guitar Hero: World Tour in that he was motion-captured and appears as a playable character/avatar. Blink-182’s song “Dammit” is an on-disc song in the game. One week prior to the game’s release, Harmonix made “Dammit” available as DLC for Rock Band.

The week of Guitar Hero: World Tour‘s release, Harmonix announced that the 20 free downloadable songs promised with all new purchases of Rock Band 2 would become available.

I haven’t even touched on a whole ton of other songs that are available in both games, via all sorts of combinations of on-disc and DLC (“The Middle“, “Lazy Eye“, etc.). Take a look at No Doubt, though. I’ll make a prediction and say that Harmonix’s promised “The Best of No Doubt (Rock Band Edition)” pack will be made available extremely soon, hot on the heels of Guitar Hero: World Tour and its on-disc “Spiderwebs“.

None of these are coincidences. These are all calculated and smirk-inducing examples of the genius over there at Harmonix. I can see plenty of examples of a potential Guitar Hero: World Tour consumer who already owns Rock Band looking down the set-list and saying, “Why buy the whole new game when I can just spend $10 on DLC and get just the songs I want in a game I already own…?

More Rock Band / Guitar Hero discussions coming from me will be on the topics of the series as a platform and choosing one side to make an investment in, actual comparisons between the two games and their gameplay, and a whole heck of a lot more.

No, there will be no Rock Revolution discussion. Sorry, Konami.

Top 10 Couch Songs In “Rock Band”

While this is a Top 10 list, it’s not part of a regular episode, so I won’t toss it over with the rest of the more formal Top 10 lists. This is instead intended to just be a fun little thing to put out there, and to coax Jeff and Andrew into making their own lists, as well.

In case you haven’t heard, we play the crap out of Rock Band. Constantly. It was like a part of me was dead on the inside when I had to send my 360 back for repairs and thus could not play Rock Band. One of the things we love about the game (series) is how amazing Harmonix has arranged the playable songs. There’s literally something for everyone. No matter what type of music you like (or think you like), there are a couple songs that you are dying to play on every single instrument.

I figured the three of us could take a couple minutes to jot down a Top 10 list, but in a different way from what we’ve done before. My list is going to be the Top 10 Emo Couch Songs In Rock Band. Admittedly, some of these are going to cross genres a little bit, but they’re all relatively part of the same scene (or evolutions over time). Both games are fair for this list, as well as all downloadable content.

10: AFI – “Girl’s Not Grey” (music video on YouTube)
What I like about the inclusion of this song is the style. It’s more aggressive than the majority of others in the same genre, but the vocals are of a different range, as well. It’s far from my favorite AFI album (that would probably be The Art Of Drowning), but it’s a logical and fun inclusion.

09: Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle” (music video on YouTube)
It was a pretty huge song, so it makes sense that it would eventually be whored out to all of the current-generation music games (it’ll also be popping up in Guitar Hero: World Tour and On Tour Decades). Every little bit of the song is fun to play; that brief pause after “It just…” totally makes you feel like a rock star.

08: Against Me! – “Stop!” (music video on YouTube)
It was literally just released as DLC this week, but it’s an awesome inclusion. It’s got a slightly funky drum beat to it, all of the parts are fun to play, and it’s a great song. I’m not even really sure what else to say about it. Don’t stop and take some time to think… just download it! Ugh, that was terrible.

07: 30 Seconds To Mars – “Attack” (music video on YouTube)
I don’t even particularly like this band, which is what really impressed me about the song. I threw it on a mix CD of songs from the game, and happened to really like what I heard. I absolutely loathed “The Kill”, and was shocked to find myself enjoying this one. I keep trying and trying to be able to do all of the singing and screaming parts of this song, but it’s just totally out of my range. I can’t do it. Grrrrr. Thankfully, it’s ridiculously fun on guitar and such, so it works out in the end.

06: All-American Rejects – “Move Along” (music video on YouTube)
The fact that I got Jeff to even remotely listen to a couple of this band’s songs is a testament to their catchiness. Their first album is probably the superior one in terms of hooks, but this particular song is a perfect inclusion. The opening drums are super fun once you get the hang of the pattern, and the vocals are at a perfect range for nearly anyone to sing.

05: Buzzcocks – “Ever Fallen In Love” (music video on YouTube)
I’ll admit that I actually didn’t know of this particular song until I heard Thursday’s cover of it. Their version is delivered quite differently in the vocals, but it’s amazing that you can sing it either way and it still works out perfectly in terms of scoring. The drums are really fun to play on this song, but my favorite part is easily the final “… ever fallen in love wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiith” at the end.

04: Paramore – “Crushcrushcrush” (music video on YouTube)
While “Misery Business” would have been our first choice of a Paramore song (which Guitar Hero: World Tour is getting), having this show up as DLC one day certainly wasn’t a bad thing. The drum part of this song is one of the easiest expert-level songs, which can really make you feel like you’re making progress with learning how to play. The vocals are deceptively difficult to get a good score on, mostly because you simply don’t have a lot of time to breathe in between lines!

03: Fall Out Boy – “Dead On Arrival” (music video on YouTube)
Those that were present the first evening that we had Rock Band will painfully remember my squawking along with Pete’s vocals on this one. Sorry. Take This To Your Grave is somewhat of a scene classic with its clever lyrics, and while this song is much more straight-forward than the rest, it was a great pick from the album. Bring in the (and I hate to use the phrase again) deceptively difficult instrument patterns (especially on drums) and you’ve got a winner.

02: Weezer – “El Scorcho” (music video on YouTube)
I’m a sucker for gang vocals. Add to that the fact that it’s in a party game which essentially obligates people to shout along? Sold. From the oft-forgotten album Pinkerton, this one’s another “easy” song in all areas, but its lyrics are so ridiculous and fun that it doesn’t matter. Definitely one of my staple performances, and one that I can actually 100% on hard-level vocals.

01: Dashboard Confessional – “Hands Down” (music video on YouTube)
When I heard that the game-titled tour was going to have a DLC pack in the future (and that Dashboard was a part of it), I was both excited and terrified. I was excited just to have some Dashboard music coming my way, but was terrified that it might be something much newer that I had no real attachment to. Reading that song title put a huge smile on my face, as does singing it every time. Chris always introduces the song as being about “the best day” he ever had, and I have absolutely no problem sharing in that with him every time we play the song.

How about you guys ‘n gals? What are you favorite couch songs? Jeff and Andrew… what are your lists going to be? ­čśÇ

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