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Rock Band 2

Endless Setlist 2 in Rock Band 2!!, originally uploaded by punquin.

I’ve never been much of a gamer, until Rock Band came along. I worked my way up from medium to expert vocals. It’s been a great way for me to relax and de-stress myself.

In Rock Band 1, there was a solo tour mode (where you played each song in order of easiest to hardest on any given difficulty) which I completed on medium and then expert (skipped hard - figured I’d just go balls-out!). There was also a “world tour” mode where you had a band (2 to 4 players) and played the songs at various “venues” in a format that emulated a band’s career. When we first got the game, Danny and I played together in a band. Eventually, he lost interest, so I could only play in my solo tour, or go online with random players and just play one song at a time (called “quick play”).

The huge improvement they made in Rock Band 2 was that they got rid of the solo tour, and instead made it so you can do the world tour with 1 to 4 players. They also changed it so you can have band members via Xbox Live. So, the first thing I did when we got it was set up my solo band, “Images of Broken Light”. I was really excited to get to experience world tour all the way through, including the infamous “Endless Set List”, where you play every on-disc song (84!) from start to finish in one long (7 hour) set!

My first task was to unlock all 84 songs in the month before our Halloween party so they’d all be available. They had made a “challenges” section which replaced the solo tour’s method of unlocking the songs in order. That is the fastest way to unlock them, but I chose to do it in my world tour so that I could earn “stars”. Every song you preform, you earn stars based on your score and how long you are able to hold a combo (a streak of perfect playing/singing). You get up to 5 stars, and on expert you can get 5 gold stars if you go way beyond the score needed for 5. All the stars you get in world tour are added up into a tally which unlocked new venues and sets. You also earn “fans” and “money” (to be spent on clothing, hair styles, piercings or instruments - tattoos are free, I believe).

So I went the slow way of unlocking all the songs in my world tour, but managed to rack up nearly 400 stars by our Halloween party. I remembered that in RB1, you needed 600 stars to unlock the Endless Set list, so I went online to see if it was the same in RB2. Uh, no. You needed 900! So, I spent a week doing a bunch of challenges and getting their achievements, and started accepting invitations to be a substitute vocalist in other people’s bands.

Vocalists are hard to find online - especially ones who will do all songs on expert level. I have a friend’s band I play in, “Five Day Forecast”, but with a big wave of new Xbox games, he wasn’t available much. I was accepting invites from a band of amazing expert players (we did a Battle of the Bands together and placed 3rd in the world, and I believe we got 1st place on a Metallica song at one point). They had a better vocalist than me, but she was never available. Right before the band leader went away on a 3-week trip, they asked if I’d like to be a permanent member of their Wednesday night practices. I was very honored, because I still remember my days back on medium.

I kept chugging along at my solo world tour. Danny got back into the game and we started a band together called “Stunt Puppies”. He recently traded in Amazon gift cards for the premium Ion drums. I’m glad too, because the old ones were so loud I couldn’t hear the music!

Before I knew it, I’d gotten 900 stars and unlocked the Endless Setlist! The weekend was coming up, and Danny planned on going to a show in Baltimore Saturday night, so I decided to go for it. I didn’t get started until 8:45 pm, so I knew I’d be at it until nearly 4 am! If you play right through without pausing the game or failing any songs, you get an extra achievement aptly named the “Bladder of Steel”. As I needed 2 water bottles and three mugs of tea to sing for 7 hours straight, I did not have a bladder of steel. Not a big deal to me. I had to walk the dogs halfway through anyway. I had a laptop and webcam set up so people could watch the game screen and hear me singing live thoughout the who thing. Some fellow RB addicts from the official forums kept me company until the end.

And, I made it! Hot. Malted. Chihuahua pants. I got no less than 5 stars on every song - gold stars on about 90%. I started the set with about 20 million fans and earned nearly 28 million more! The part I was most excited about (yes, I’m a dork) is that from now on, my character’s symbol will be platinum. Ooo, shiny!

That puts me up to today. I’ve been working to improve on the songs I can’t get gold stars on yet (”Tangled up in Blue” by Dylan I’ve only gotten 97% on so far, and “Uncontrollable Urge” by Devo I’m at 96-97% as well). Danny and I have been playing in our band. Tonight, the expert band I was asked to join is supposed to start back up it’s practicing, but while the band leader was away, his house was robbed at gun point. All of his game consoles, tv’s, stereo system, etc… were taken. They left one tv, but he discovered it is broken. So, chances are slim that we’ll play tonight. If we do, we have to start all over with a brand new band, as all the data was on the stolen Xbox. Huge bummer, but more importantly, no one was hurt in the robbery.

So, that is my Rock Band adventure to date. If you have it on Xbox and need a vocalist, my gamer tag is “punquin”. Just send a message so I know who you are.

Originally published in my journal, Stephanie's Thoughts. Leave me a comment!

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September 2011


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