Xyon (xyon) wrote,

Still Alive

o there are really only two things that I do these days; work and play xbox games (mudding has gone by the wayside, it seems)... so I guess I can talk about one of the two things I do...

So Rock Band got a fair chunk of my time. Hard drum solo tour was finished with the exception of Run To The Hills which is stupidly hard (withholding 2 achievements and 70G), and made some progress on the expert tour. Likewise, expert guitar is one song away, Green Grass and High Tides... it does a 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-... run that I just can't do, and I consistently fail it 68% of the way through the incredibly long song. If I could get one more overdrive activation then I'd have 4 more achievements (and 140 more G). Sigh.

So, yeah, Rock Band gets mothballed with me missing Flawless Singing, Platinum Artist, Vocal Solo Hard and Expert, and the aforementioned Drum and Guitar solos. 39/50 named achievements, 615/1000G.

When Rock Band started getting left over at tekman and angel_grrl's place I borrowed Bioshock from a coworker. I have two things to say about the game... 1) It's sort of clever. If it wasn't actually novel then they managed to make me look at them and their predecessors never did. The plot is reasonable, gameplay fine, et cetera. 2) The game is scary. I cannot play it after it starts getting late. When the sun is out it's just another video game. At 2am it's pretty terrifying. So if you haven't played it and like being scared, play Bioshock late at night. Progress is slow due to my window of playable time for the game being small.

So with Bioshock scaring me I opted to borrow Viva Piñata, mostly to see why taylorvr (she hasn't changed that name, eh?) was/is so into it. The game is, well, stupid. Except I have to get every stupid check mark now. Stupid, stupid game. Cows are inefficient, stick with sheep. taylorvr is still destroying me, though; the only achievement I have that she doesn't is full tower of sour; which is silly since I still have one sour critter left to tame.

So back to Rock Band for a bit.

When tekman, angel_grrl and I were doing the Endless Setlist on Medium for Vinyl Artist (yeah, we were wimps) my bass drum pedal snapped at the hinge with about 2 songs to go. Duct tape came to the rescue and we finished the set (I really thought I had written about this, but it seems not). I had already been considering an Omega Pedal, and with a broken pedal I went ahead and bought one. After placing the order I got an email that said it would ship within 3 to 4 weeks. They seem to do this crazy thing where they take your money and then build the thing. That makes sense when it's custom designed, or extremely expensive... and I guess somewhat when you have an average monthly volume of 8; but it's still unpleasant as a consumer.

So after 4 to 5 weeks, while at kyledgoss' wedding (wow, he hasn't updated in a long time) I got an email that their parts order got sent to Japan, and that it would be another 4 weeks. I don't know what kind of error Pearl could make that takes 4 more weeks to fix, so clearly it's Steridian's fault.

At some social gathering I found out that EA will replace broken hardware (which makes sense, I had just thought it had a guarantee that ended when you touched it the first time for some reason). So then I had EA send me a new one. It was weird playing drums without duct tape... but I got over it.

So the Omega Pedal finally arrived last week. Using a spring to pull the pedal back into the neutral position is a lot more predictable than the lower-cost push spring in the Rock Band pedal. Except if you have too many in a row it's hard to stop. Having this pedal let me get past some expert difficulty drum songs in solo that I couldn't beat, I'm pretty sure it wasn't just psychosomatic. The pedal is nice, it's a modified P-120P, but if you're electrically inclined you might be better off just making one yourself. I realize the catch-22 with saying that they're too small to order from, but I'm a modern consumer and I demand a modern producer, the Omega Pedal guys just don't seem to have their stuff together. But if you're not in a hurry or just like to help the little guy, yeah, they won't steal your money, they're just slow.

And while I'm thinking about it, another thing I never mentioned for posterity's sake is that Pelican Rock Band Drum Silencers are quite effective at changing clackity-clack to thumpity-thump and making one less likely to kill the drummer for merely existing.

So, anyways, Rock Band 2 is out now, I got it (and my free t-shirt) from Gamestop, because they were the only ones that I found that would let me pickup the pre-order in the store. Since I ran across some people who had achievements fulfilled on the 12th maybe pre-order for delivery would have been better, but I didn't want to get it -after- the 14th... why would anyone release on a Sunday anyways?

So the question I've been asked most when I was wearing my free t-shirt was "is it better?" Well, it's different. There are new songs (+), band leaders and instrument affinity are gone (+), the calibration process is better (+) but still not good (neutral). The interface looks stretched on a 16:9 display (--)( can't speak for 4:3). Battle of the bands is cool (+), I'm #11 on a leaderboard (+? :P), challenges are cooler than solo tours (+). Achievements are easier (I'm going back and forth on this one... on the one hand, playing every gig took a while; on the other, playing one gig somewhere on the west coast feels a little under-achievy. Perhaps it should have been play every gig at some city on the west coast). So I guess with more pluses than minuses it's a better game, but really it's just different while being the same.

There, I said a lot of nothing.

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