Posted on June 24, 2008, Stephany A Keyboard Peripheral Would be an Awesome Addition to World Tour and Rock Band 2
All the talk lately about Guitar Hero: World Tour, Rock Band 2, and Rock Revolution has got me thinking pretty hard about what I would like to see in the next installment of these games. Granted, Rock Revolution is new to the music simulation genre, so I cannot really count them just yet – plus, from what we have heard about the game so far, they are mostly covers and that is just kind of lame.
I have always been a music nerd since I can remember, and I love all different kinds, which means I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoy a little Kraftwerk now and then. If you were to look through my collection of 8-tracks (yes, 8-tracks), cassettes, albums, .45s, and Mp3s you would find plenty of mainstream radio/MTV friendly tunes as well as some of the most obscure recordings ever made. I have everything from Patsy Cline to Godsmack, Nightwish to Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams SR to NWA, Robert Johnson to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, Depeche Mode to Fleetwood Mac, Loreena McKennitt to Luke Kelly and tons of what could be considered trance, blues, new age, traditional, bluegrass or world music. I just love music. The only past time of mine that can compete with my love of all things musical is my love of gaming. Therefore, when the first Guitar Hero game came out, I felt like Whitney Huston would feel getting a diamond encrusted crack pipe for Christmas.
All that said, you would think that it would be very hard to please me when it comes to content for a music simulation game like the ones mentioned above. No, not really, because while I do indeed love all types of music, I prefer anything loud, heavy, and something that would cause a little blue haired lady on the street to wet herself out of fear. Therefore, I usually like the offerings that have come our way via the discs or from downloadable content. However, I think that more could be done to even the playing field a bit so to speak, and how they could do this, is with the much rumored and hard to create keyboard peripheral.
Imagine if you will, the game screen for Rock Band. Picture in your mind what you see when you are playing. If you think that there would not be enough room on the screen with the addition of keyboards, that is not so. The notes for it could go right underneath the vocals, and they really would not have to be that big either. Apparently though, that is not the problem they are having with keyboards, it is the peripheral itself.
Personally, I would not want a keyboard peripheral with a dozen keys on it or anything, and you really would not have to put that many on there anyway. Six to eight tops is all you would need, because the left hand does the chords, so you would be using up to three buttons, four tops right off the bat. The right hand side would also allow the use of chords, but those would not be as frequent because that is where your melody actually comes from, and where most of your finger work would come into play. If the song did not call for chords, the buttons could stand in for sound effects and looping.
The peripheral would be rather simple to create really, the hardest part would be the work going into the development because as instruments, the keyboard and piano not the simplest. Now, I am not saying that the guitar or drums are for simpletons; I am just speaking from the position of someone who has played the piano all her life, and trust me when I say that it is not the easiest instrument to play. It is not NEAR as hard as the cello, which I can attest to as well, but it is still not easy. The other issue you would run into with a keyboard is how the consoles are set up in the first place, which means and additional peripheral would either not work or would cause another one to get cut.
Anyway, where was I going with this before I went off on a complexity ramble… oh, I remember now. If you were to add keyboards to one of these games, it would open up a whole new realm of music to gamers. Now, not every song would have the need for you to use the keyboard peripheral, but the different song options for it are endless. Here are a few examples just off the top of my head that I think would be a helluvalot of fun to play:
- Du Hast – Rammstein
- Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
- Living Dead Girl – Rob Zombie
- Call Me When You’re Sober – Evanescence
- Pictures of You – The Cure
- Blue Monday – New Order
- The Final Countdown – Europe
- Strict Machine – Goldfrapp
- Black No. 1 – Type O Negative
- Sweet Dreams – Eurhythmics
- Shock the Monkey – Peter Gabriel
- Diamonds on the Inside – Ben Harper
- Change It – Stevie Ray Vaughn
- Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
- I Feel You – Depeche Mode
- November Rain – Guns N Roses
- The One Thing –INXS
- Nemo – Nightwish
- Sweet Soul Sister – The Cult
- Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac (the drums on this are AWESOME)
- Trampled Under Foot – Led Zeppelin
- No Leaf Clover – Metallica (the orchestrated version)
- 3 Libras – Perfect Circle
- New Years Day – U2
- Separate Ways – Journey
- Anything by The Killers
That is just a list of songs that are not necessarily keyboard or piano centric that would make awesome additions to World Tour or Rock Band 2 should they decide to incorporate a keyboard peripheral. I even played around with GIMP and made a mock up of what one would look like. It is not the prettiest thing on the planet, but you get the idea. Plus, if you were to get a mike stand, the keyboard player could also sing at the same time since they are sitting down, and it might make it easier on them – until the tambourine part comes into play.
My whole point is, that they could make it if they really wanted to and it would be fun and help round out the whole “band” experience. Both Guitar Hero and Rock Band are moving into the next realm of development, and whoever comes out with the keyboard first will probably end up selling the most units – if only for the oddity of it and not the actual “coolness”.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to apologize to Roland for desecrating their keyboard, but if I had done it to a Korg, I would not have been able to live with myself.
(Since I am asking a lot out of these game developers, I have one more request. GIVE US SOME MORE ALICE IN CHAINS and PANTERA DAMN IT!)