It’s a given that the upcoming Rock Band: The Beatles, is going to be a huge, huge success, and the hope is that it will simultaneously spur both the gaming and music industries. Which is why many many more bands are jumping on the Rock Band, er, bandwagon.
Yesterday, on Twitter, of all places, it was revealed that artists such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, U2, and The Rolling Stones all have editions in the pipeline. Naturally, each version has its own idiosyncrasies, based upon the artist to which it is dedicated. Since a lot of you still aren’t on the Twitter, I thought that I would give you a sneak peek at what you can expect when you buy some of the upcoming special editions of Rock Band.
So, I was reading this King Kaufman column in Salon last Monday. He was talking about ESPN’s broadcast on Jackie Robinson Day, and was relating a story that Henry Aaron was telling a story about playing second base against Robinson and — wait a second, Hank Aaron played second base?
That was Kaufman’s reaction, and mine as well, but for totally different reasons. He was just interested in it as a baseball historian, and so looked it up. And sure enough, Aaron played games as a second-bagger for the Braves as late as the mid-1960’s.
Me, all I can think is this: Hank Aaron had fantasy eligibility at 2B! How cool would that have been for my fantasy baseball team!
My initial reaction was you have GOT to be shitting me, followed closely by huh. that kinda makes sense. That’s been my chain of response to most everything about the online virtual world thingy Second Life thus far, from the basic concept to its immense popularity to the gazillions of dollars spent on it daily to the notion that for many users it’s just high-bandwidth cybersex to the fact that major brands are establishing a marketing presence there. That it even qualifies as a “there” is troubling, but according to consensus reality, it exists. And where people go, they will be sold to. Certainly advertising in video games is nothing new, dating at least back to the Marlboro ads in Pole Position II. The blatant promotion of cigarettes to ten year-olds (as opposed to the comparatively more subtle Joe Camel approach) has that certain early-eighties charm, doesn’t it?
So after a momentary incredulousness, I realized the lack of shock value that the allegedly beleaguered music industry (whose tolerate/hate relationship with the internet is probably the most well-documented struggle since World War II) is attempting to get a piece of the virtual pie’s very real money, in such forms as the imaginatively named Sony Music Media Island. In Second Life parlance, an island is the same thing as in meatspace: a mass of land surrounded by water. The owner can do pretty much whatever they want with it, allowing for the fulfillment of more than a few fascist fantasies. Rule your vampire clan while sitting at your computer in a bathrobe! We may not have flying cars, but the Future’s still pretty great.
Say what you will about Microsoft’s Zune launch, it didn’t cause anywhere near the death, destruction, and sheer mayhem that yesterday’s PlayStation 3 launch caused. Reports of shootings, thefts, and generally stupid behavior are flooding in from across America. The details make a George Romero film seem tame by comparison. We have apparently become a nation of PlayStation Zombies.
We rag on Microsoft a lot around here. Zune, particularly, has come in for a lot of pre-sale criticism from these quarters. So we should praise them when they do something right. And today’s announcement that they have set up a deal with several studios to offer downloads directly to their Xbox Live service in just a couple of weeks smacks a whole hell of a lot of doing things right.
It’s an idea that only those who instinctively dislike everything Microsoft does could hate.