UPDATED: A Video Game Virgin's Take on "Rock Band" at the VMAs

(UPDATED: We added video from the UNLV tour stop. 9/21/07 5:23 PM EST)

 

The VMAs weren’t all about Britney.

That same weekend MTV and EA, the companies behind "Rock Band," announced a cross-country tour for the game. The latest marketing ploy, which started right then and there in Las Vegas, upped the ante in the "Guitar Hero III" versus "Rock Band" rivalry.

We invited fellow blogger Tamar (a self-professed "video game virgin") from MTV's Buzzworthy to give her impressions of the game. After all, she hadn't played "Rock Band" yet (we have, and we're so jaded, right?). She tested it out alongside a slew of bands in town for the awards show, including pop-punk band Boys Like Girls -- pictured here -- who were seen playing Weezer's "Say It Ain’t So." Take it away, Tamar...

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So I got a chance to check out "Rock Band" in the flesh (or chrome and foam, in the case of the game's tricked-out controller and drum kit, respectively) while in Vegas for the VMAs. And I'm not gonna lie, (and I swear I'm not saying this just because MTV, who issues my paycheck, also owns the game's developer Harmonix): It. Rules.

First of all, since it's clearly a peripheral-driven game, the add-ons are even more exciting than the game graphics. When all of the instrument peripherals are set up, the whole game just LOOKS rad. And the peripherals are awesomely realistic, especially the drums, which don't look much different than a lot of actual drum machines, and the Fender guitar feels great. But set-up aside, two of the best things about the game are:

boys_like_girls3.jpg1. "Rock Band" definitely is not simply just straight-up live band karaoke. Surely some a-holes will interpret the mic stand as their open invite to subject anyone in the room to their best (or worst) Roger Daltry impression (which is actually entirely possible since all of Who's Next will soon be available for download; users are also going to be able to download new music for "Rock Band" every week). But, the game scores on accuracy, not raw talent (or your own perceived raw talent), so if you get up there and bust out a song or two's worth of Christina Aguilera-style improvised scatting, you're gonna lose points, unless, of course, you're singing a Christina Aguilera song (which thankfully, isn’t included 'cause it's "Rock Band," not "Overly Made-Up Pregnant, High-Pitched Pop Star"). And then your whole team will hate you and kick you out like when Van Halen basically gave David Lee Roth the boot.

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2. Most video games aren't exactly too engaging when you're not the one actually playing (like "The Sims"… how fun is it to watch someone clean their bathroom?). But "Rock Band" is actually really fun to watch, because it's participatory and active (as opposed to passive and treacherously boring) even if you're not playing. And if you're a total hardcore gamer fanboy and feel the need to play by yourself, that's cool, and you can, and you can also play against players anywhere in the world online. "Rock Band" isn't ultimately about winning or losing. It's not even about playing well. It's really just all about rocking out. And who doesn't like to rock out?