So, for those of you curious, I did make it back to Eau Claire safely. I'm typing this while I'm on lunch at work even, so things are continuing as per normal. That said, on Saturday (while I was still in Milwaukee) I went with Derek when he bought Harmonix's Rock Band - and it is officially the sweetest thing ever.
You heard me.
He bought the version for the 360 (as his roommate has one) and we used their Guitar Hero 3 controller for the Bass part (as the $170 bundle just comes with one controller). It is officially the sweetest video game ever - and let me tell you why. I, for one, suck at Guitar Hero. While I've been decent at a lot of music games (I actually tend to do pretty well at Harmonix classics Frequency and Amplitude), I've never been good at coordinating the strumming with the fret presses. Something in my brain just can't make the two step connection. I think it's the same reason I could get a hang of Samba de Amigo and not Dance Dance Revolution -- my brain can only do so much at once. The back arrow moving up? That part of DDR just always caused a glitch in my brain. While SdA had balls moving to where I needed to move my maracas... and it all clicked.
I know I could probably train myself, but I'm only willing to put so much effort into it when I can just load up my copy of Amplitude instead and have a good time. Oh, and while I'm on it, Sega -- if you ever made another Samba de Amigo game for the new consoles, I would totally buy it. I loved that game on the Dreamcast so friggin' much...
But back to Rock Band. Rock Band solves my mental-disconnect problem in gameplay by adding the best part ever -- the drums. See, I can handle that - hit the corresponding drum when the color comes down the line. It's the EXACT same mentality as hitting buttons in Frequency, only I have five buttons (four drums and a pedal) instead of three. This I can handle.
I'm also a singer, and a big fan of the Karaoke Revolution games (which were also developed by Harmonix). The addition of this part of game play makes the thing pretty darn fun to play. I have a feeling that this is the game that Harmonix has been wanting to make since they got into this whole industry. I mean, some people may think of this game as "Like Guitar Hero with singing and drums added" but I think of it as "Karaoke Revolution and Amplitude with Guitar and Bass added." It really is everything they've been doing combined into one product... one that is worth the $170 price tag.
Sadly though, I don't own a 360 or PS3 - and as I'd want the downloadable content, it's not worth it for the PS2 for me. This means I'm going to eventually have to buy one...
...or convince one of my roommates to buy one.
Either way, I expect that once I have the ability to start playing this thing, I'm never going to want to stop. This is seriously the game I've been waiting for to get me excited about video games again.
I guess until I can afford it, I'll just stick to my old PS2 games, along with digging out my 3DO and X'Eye. I think there are some unreleased Sega CD games I can find on Bittorrent trackers to waste my time on...
..and I never did beat Guardian War on the 3DO. That game has the worst story ever, but man is it addictive.