I Wanna Rock!

Hope you’ve got this much room, you’ll eventually need it.

With Guitar Hero 3 being released this week, and Rock Band a couple weeks later, living room rockers will be getting their fantasy dream fix this holiday season. As someone who admittedly once had dreams of becoming a rock god, I love these guitar rhythm based games. So it goes without saying that I’ve been greatly anticipating both titles. What I hadn’t planned for was a dilemma, with certain factors being “instrumental” in my decision.

Embarrassingly bad puns aside, the purchase of GH3/Rock Band isn’t as simple as save money, spend money. Being a multi-console owner, it becomes needlessly complicated thanks to console reliability failure rates, downloadable content (or lack of), my wanting to play online with friends, and guitar compatibility issues. So which console will allow me to reach my maximum rock out potential? Humor me as I explain each step in the decision making process.

1. Console Reliability and Downloadable Content: Both of these titles have advertised constant updates and support long after release date. With GH3 you’ll be able to download more songs (hopefully not in awful packs), and Rock Band will offer full length albums. This is something that I’m very interested in, as it lets you fully customize your experience based on your musical taste.

I plan on purchasing quite a bit of content. I’m also sure that the 360 will receive this content, but have no assurances that the PS3 will. But, I’m also sure that my 360 will break again, (I own three 360s, and have had 4 red rings so far) and since I don’t always have access to high speed internet (and despise the fact that my content is tied down to my being signed in or not) I may not be able to access the content I legally purchased and own. While on the PS3 a simple hard drive swap (should it ever break, but I don’t think God could break that sucker) would solve the problem. And, through questionably legal means, I may or may not have the option of sharing content with up to 5 other consoles (I’ll never admit to anything).

2. Online Friends Play: New to GH3, and Rock Band, is online play. Most of my gaming is done online now, as being away makes playing with friends on the same TV a rare event. Almost all of my friends own 360s. I guess that there’s no arguing this point: The 360 is the clear victor here.

3. Guitar Headaches: IGN and 1up recently posted articles explaining that not all guitars are created equal. Let me shamelessly copy and paste from

Guitar Hero II’s X-Plorer

  • Rock Band? Yes
  • Guitar Hero II? Yes
  • Guitar Hero III? Yes
  • Guitar Hero III’s Les Paul

  • Rock Band? Yes
  • Guitar Hero II? Yes
  • Guitar Hero III? Yes
  • Rock Band’s Stratocaster

  • Rock Band? Yes
  • Guitar Hero II? Unknown, but unlikely
  • Guitar Hero III? No
  • As you can see, not every game likes to share. Specifically the Guitar Hero games. This incompatibility is, in simple words, motherf*****g insane. The blame lies entirely on the makers of Guitar Hero, as a spoke person for Harmonix (Rock Band) has stated:

    “Guitar controllers are like any other standard game controller — -the controller sends a signal back to the game depending on the buttons you push. If a third party game controller is based on open standards, then it should work with Rock Band as well.”

    So what do I do now? I still want to play the thorn-in-my-side GH, but would like to do so with a friend. Should I purchase the 360 version, use my GH2 guitar (which is compatible with everything), forgo the downloadable content, then purchase the Rock Band bundle (giving me 3 guitars total, 2 wired, because they aren’t selling instruments separately at launch, and I want me those drums)? With this solution I’d still have to buy 2 more guitars, the Rock Band (bundle) AND the GH3 pack (because Rock Band won’t work).

    Or should I get the PS3 version, forget about using my GH2 guitar, get all new guitars (I’d have to get 3 more guitars, all wireless, 2 GH and 1 RB, because it’s forced by the bundle), and permit myself to get downloadable content (which would be contingent on the PS3 getting the same content)?

    It really is frustrating because the selling point of Rock Band is the fact it’ll be supported by weeklyish additional tracks. And it’s also INSANELY frustrating because my backup backup (you read that right, I have 2 backup 360s) just red ringed on me for the second time, and will be out of commission during my whole November break. (Why? Because 2 of my 360s are currently at customer support, and the other will be shipped to MS the day I get back. All three of my 360s are broken right now. The 360 is a piece of shit console.) So when my next 360 breaks, I don’t want to suddenly not be able to access the content I’ve purchased and own.

    But I also don’t want to have to get 3 more guitars, which would be added next to my GH1 and GH2 guitars. I also forgot to mention that these things don’t just take up space, but cost money as well. Rock Band is 170, GH3 with guitar is 100, an additional GH3 guitar is…unavailable? Not sold separately?

    Moments like these make me want to grab everything and smash it. And then burn it.

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