Rock Band and the Story of Stuff

I love music games, but Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour offend me on an environmental level. Games that come in boxes so big you can't carry them in a backpack shouldn't be allowed to come out every year. It's just completely not cool. It's the same with iPhones and iPods. I love the improvements they are able to make so quickly, but it's so wrong to expect, tempt, or even want people to buy new versions of perfectly good stuff every year or even every other year (for particularly expensive items). I know that you don't have to buy the new peripherals or upgraded versions, and I guess I'm hoping that most people don't. But I'll be the first to admit that it's hard to play with my old crappy Rock Band 1 drums when I know the new kit has so many needed improvements (quieter pads, mainly, but also the better attachment for the pedal so it doesn't fall off so easily). If the better drums didn't exist until two or three years from now, though, I'd probably feel perfectly satisfied with my old ones. What would be so bad for them if they just put out new drums every few years and rolled all the upgrades into the rarer, better versions? I suppose that's just completely at odds with our consumer culture though.... There's this longish but really well done little video about this problem called The Story of Stuff.

At least USB as a standard means the controllers are compatible with the different franchises. Proprietary controllers would simply be unacceptable.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the waste of yearly upgrades. I would really like to have the Guitar Hero drum kit, but with already owning Rock Band 1 and Guitar Hero 3, I can't justify the money and space that another $200 box will take up. I'll probably just keep banging away on the Rock Band kit until it dies. Maybe by that time the Guitar Hero kit will be sold by itself.

Oh, and how many microphones do we need? My wife has Singstar and I have Rockband... I already have three microphones floating around my living room. ugh...

Unknown said...


My guess is that if you sold your old Rock Band drums, someone would use them, and you could buy the new ones. No waste. :) I'm sure some people would love to buy the cheaper Rock Band 1 drums over the newer ones and wouldn't even notice the difference.

Alex said...

even if you could only get $30 or $40 for your used Rock Band 1 drums...

The Rock Band 2 drums are worth the upgrade. Seriously... they pretty much made me take up drumming in the game again. They're super quiet, super sensitive (for those drum rolls), and have such excellent rebound you'll be able to nail parts you've never been able to hit before.

I know this isn't exactly what your post was about... still, the benefits can't be denied.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jen!

I totally would keep the old drum set. I have an iPod from about three years ago and I still use it. I don't want a new iPod. The only difference from my iPod to the brand new iPod is the look and how many songs I can put on it, but that's about it. If the new set only make the pads quieter and comes with a better pedal attachment, why don't they just sell those two things separately for those who have the old set?

In other news, I know you are know a Ziff Davis alum, but I was wondering if I can get some advice from you. I am the managing editor of my high school newspaper, West Word at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois. Can you tell me some advice to help me lead my staff better? And also some advice on how to enter the career of gaming journalism because I want to take journalism as a major in college (I'm a junior right now). Thanks for reading this!

Jennifer said...

Interesting suggestion to sell the old Rock Band drums. I hadn't thought of that. Unfortunately that'll require effort.

And yeah, glad to hear how awesome the drums are. I KNOW.

Still, glad to hear others are in agreement.

Regarding advice on how to get into game journalism, that will have to wait until another day... I'll try to come up with some thoughts on the matter soon!