Rock Band

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This happens every time Harmonix announces new DLC.

In 2007 Harmonix, the inventors of Guitar Hero, created a game called Rock Band. It's just like Guitar Hero, except with different songs and a variety of instrument controllers, much like Konami's Japan-only Guitar Freaks and DrumMania. It is said to be "more real" than Guitar Hero, but the people who say this are the same people who have to be picked up by their mom from middle school and form bands with their fellow playground buddies hoping to be featured on MySpace Music.

Contrary to popular belief, Harmonix is not actually run for profit. It would be more accurate to call them a trolling organization. Every business decision the company makes has the ultimate goal of lulz, whether it comes from Activision and Guitar Hero, or from their own fanbase.

Harmonix History[edit]

Audiosurf toned it DOWN.
Guitar Hero vs Rock Band. Same song.
The crap that cost them a publisher.

Harmonix was created when some nerds learned guitar, dropped some acid and decided "let's make a game"! In order to be able to license bands like the Crystal Method Harmonix signed on with Viacom. Thus Frequency was born.

It's Audiosurf. No, wait. Audiosurf stole from Harmonix! This Acid-trip is basically an on-rails shooter where blasting targets makes over-compressed 90's club music blare from your speakers. If this is a reward or a punishment is unknown. Power-ups can be used to clear the track or help your score provided your eyes aren't all blurry from staring at the horrible neon mess on the screen. Yes, this game has been known to induce migranes in people with sensitive eyes and can even trigger seizures sometimes.

Enough stoned out weirdos bought Amplitude that Harmonix created a sequel called Frequency. This game was basically Amplitude with more songs and even more garish graphics. That's right: Harmonix heard the complaints of people with migranes on early message boards and decided the best answer to the problem of too bright flashing neon graphics would be to add even brighter graphics and more crap cluttering up the screen.

After the acid finally wore off Harmonix went "Good God, we need to detox for awhile" and created Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero is Rock Band with just a guitar. It somehow proved to be even more popular than the acid trip shooters that came before it, most likely because everyone likes pretending to be famous and nobody likes eye rape. This got Activision's attention. They wanted publishing and creation rights and Viacom foolishly sold it to them without telling Harmonix first. During this period Harmonix was shuffled to EA. Harmonix shitted out a 80's Guitar Hero title to fill the last of their contract then created Rock Band.

Once Rock Band lost momentum Harmonix sucked Disney's cock for money, creating Fantasia: Music Evolved instead. Having gone back to taking acid Hamronix said they were done with Rock Band and that waving your hands to music was totally the way of the future! The resulting game is basically a $60 children's toy that requires a $200 game system and a $40 camera/wand-thing to play.

Then they back-pedalled and said the actually had decided to wait until the next console gen to release another Rock Band. Oh, and they're totally indie now as the Disney crap cost them their publisher. EA tried to sell Harmonix but nobody wanted to buy a trolling organization made entire out of white nerds on acid wielding electric guitars. Even though this mental image is totally badass it's bad for business to spend your time high as a kite trolling other companies and occasionally your own players. Harmonix scraped together it's lunch money and bought itself for $20 bucks and a few tabs of windowpane. They were now totally indie!

As indies Harmonix tried remaking Amplitude but they didn't want to make a physical release of it. They then made the double mistakes of releasing it as digital only and on Steam only. Audiosurf is owned by steam so naturally they Steam wasn't going to let the game they totally stole from be a success as then someone might find out about the theft. Also everyone old enough to have played the first Amplitude refuses to buy DRM filled games they won't even actually own, so the lack of physical release and refusing to be on Good Old Games turned the remaining fans away. It flopped. They then tried to cash in on the Rock Band crowd with Rock Band Blitz: Amplitude with a boring repeating Rock Band skin. It also flopped.

Noticing that people like Touhou Harmonix then decided to make a acid-trip bullet hell shooter called "The City Sleeps". They hoped that having non-weeb graphics would save things but made the mistake of shooting for the hipster crowd instead. Hipsters don't buy anything as buying things is what sheeple do so it was doomed from the start. Everyone else was used to easy as pie Rock Band games. Naturally they whined and told their friends not to buy The City Sleeps as it's too hard. They also released it on steam AGAIN which was the final nail in the coffin.

With nowhere else to go and all out of ideas, Harmonix went back to making actual Rock Band games again starting with Rock Band 4.

Songlist[edit]

Because Rock Band was developed by Harmonix and Harmonix actually does contain people who play real instruments, occasionally you'll find a band that can actually play worth a damn. Rock Band fans proudly brag that their game does not have crap like I Am Murloc yet Rock Band features Fall Out Boy and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, resulting in roughly equivalent fail.

Trolling Rock Band fans actually isn't necessary because Harmonix takes care of that; they troll different fans every week with the downloadable content they offer. Every Tuesday Monday, the Rock Band Forums get lit up with complaints that the week's offering wasn't what they wanted. Those comments are immediately followed with at least 100 replies telling them to STFU, and then a flame war commences. The most lulz are achieved when Harmonix releases songs from local bands around Boston (because giving undiscovered bands a chance to reach a new audience isn't as important as pleasing one fanboy) or bands made up of their employees.

How Song Charts are Made.
At first, Harmonix tried to listen to their fan's requests, delivering early on with classic Metallica and other highly requested bands. Sometimes fan requests doubled as lulzy trolling opportunities. After Guitar Hero fanboys celebrated the arrival of an Iron Maiden song to their series, Harmonix responded with twelve of their songs, despite the band's apparent dislike of MTV. They succeeded again with 12 Queen songs. But as time went on, Harmonix began to realize that all their efforts at getting hit songs were going to waste. No matter what was offered, they received the same whiny backlash every week. 13 year old boys who have no idea about concepts like song charting and licensing figured all you needed to do was ask for the song and push a button to get a chart, so there was no reason to not have every song from Avenged Sevenfold in the game. They eventually realized that nothing was going to please the pasty basement dwellers that comprised their forum regulars, so now they exploit their songs for maximum butthurt and lulz.

To date, Rock Band has released over 2,000 downloadable tracks. Good luck wading through songs like Spongebob's "Where's Gary?" in order to find things that do not suck. On the up side they do sometimes offer free tracks like their 9/11 release of Charlene (I'm Right Behind You) by Steven and the Colberts. Lady Fucking Gaga has his own track pack but there are only two songs by Kansas. Great one Harmonix!

Many of these downloadables are "Rock Band Network" tracks and can not be played on Rock Band 4. Also, if you are in a band good luck at getting on Rock Band Network. Even when it was 100% supported by all Rock Band games it was notorious for turning away actual artists like Chris Issiak in favor of crap like This is Not a Song It's A Sandwich. There is still no word on if Rock Band Network will return because Harmonix didn't think ahead and didn't make their contract include licensing across new platforms.


Rock Band also is the only plastic guitar game which features songs that you do not even actually have to play to win:

Visions[edit]

Mallika Sundaramurthy, lead singer of Abnormality.

However, none of their trolling efforts come close to matching the drama and butthurt generated by the inclusion of Abnormality's song Visions on the Rock Band 2 disc. The song was recorded when Harmonix abducted four Jews from New York, trapped them in a recording studio and informed them that if they did not record a metal song in five munites, they were going to be gassed and their Jew Gold stolen. Valuing money above life, the Jews were able to record Visions with 30 seconds to spare despite not knowing how to play the instruments. Harmonix gassed them anyway, took the song and added it to the disc with charting done by a 6 year old Aspie banging his head on the keyboard.

Shortly after the game's release, players who couldn't grasp the concept of a setlist including every song in the game jumped right into the final venue, the Endless Setlist 2. Their 1337 skillz got them through 81 of the songs until they were stopped dead in their tracks by Visions. This began the spamming of Visions hate threads on the Rock Band Forums, which still continues today as people complain about not being able to get that last achievement and beg for a feature to block or delete the songs they can't beat.

For pure irony, Visions is dead easy on Vocals so by the time your voice is gone you don't actually have to sing.

The Games[edit]

Rock Band comes with a Fender guitar controller. Like the real Fender it's a complete piece of shit that only faggots play and it's shoddily made so it never works right. Get a fucking Ibanez. It also comes with some plastic drums that in no way resembles an actual drum kit. There also is a USB microphone, but any USB microphone will work including the one you already use in your head set so having a mic in the box is a moot point..

Fun fact: all songs in Rock Band are "bound" to the game they came out in. They will not be in the store nor are they re-used in other games the way Guitar Hero does. If you want to play a song you must own the game it came out in or have the ability to import the song into your new game, typically by having bought the game brand new then exporting it. If a song was previously used in a game or listed in the store it will never appear in a game as an on-disc song. This is why the games after Rock Band 3 have crappy song lists: all the good songs were taken.

The only exception to the rule are "Track Packs" which are basically DLC on a disk and exempt from the "one game per song" rule as they aren't an actual game. Rock Band: Green Day and Rock Band: The Beatles do count as main games, however, which has caused massive butthurt among fans of both bands.

Rock Band[edit]

Not Guitar Hero.

It's totally not Guitar Hero because there are drums, base and a microphone! Beyond that it totally was Guitar Hero because, really, they just made some new character models and slapped some new paint on their Guitar Hero engine so they could launch a new game before their drug money ran out again. As Activision had just bought Guitar Hero they were very butthurt over seeing Rock Band on the market, but there was nothing they could do about it.

Until Rock Band 3 came out it was impossible to import the songs from Rock Band. One or two songs like "Run to the Hills" came out with alternate versions in the store that could be purchased, but past that you had to find and dust off your PS2/Xbox to be able to play any of the Rock Band 1 songs. Now the songs may be imported for an extra fee as long as the Xbox360 and PS4 servers are still going.

If you are importing to Rock Band 4 you need to find and download each and every song individually. There's also no guarantee it will work. Hooray?

Rock Band 2[edit]

Plastic Guitars are serious business.

It's Rock Band but with an expanded solo challenge mode, more songs and more outfits for your characters.

Activision had stolen their baby and were trying to kill them with it so Harmonix knew they had to up their game. In order to compete with Guitar Hero World Tour they gave away 20 free songs just for buying Rock Band 2. Good deal, amirite? Well, only if you bought the game new. The songs came from a code and everyone used to throw their codes away. Buying the game new was also the only way to import songs from Rock Band 2 into Rock band 3 which made the game pricier than hookers and blow. Then the codes stopped working... unless you call up EA and ask them nicely. Even then it's a pain in the ass and a total crapshoot. As a fun bonus generally imported songs from Rock Band 2 do not work in Rock Band 4.

But are those 20 extra songs worth it? assuming you've actually heard of any of the bands on the list, sure. You will be limited to Rock Band 1 and Rock Band 2 compatible songs only. You know, the same ones that can be bought for a dollar or less anyway. In short, you could spend $20 or more on the code to get the extra songs, contact EA, beg for help, then pray it works or you could just buy the songs you really wanted directly and call it a day. The choice is yours!

The Beatles & Green Day Rock Band[edit]

See those three lines up top? Three people are actually singing.
This is also a thing. Yay.

When Harmonix announced The Beatles: Rock Band, fans were genuinely excited that a classic band was going to be added to their series. But few realized how badly they were going to be trolled.

As The Beatles were a four-man band where everyone could sing, it's impossible to get all achievements while playing solo. This is the only Rock Band game that requires Harmonies wherever possible. Multiple people who can actually sing are needed to beat the game as vocals can't be faked by pressing buttons. Making life hell on the singers, the game is arranged by album order so very hard songs are mixed in with easy ones. All must be completed with five stars to "win". Imported songs from other Rock Band games can not be played. It's 100% Beatles.

Because Harmonix got the rights to make the Beatles game first, The Beatles were cut off from ever appearing in Guitar Hero. Harmonix actually put work and dedication into faithfully representing the band, making the Metallica and Van Halen games look like the half assed cash-ins they were. This made Rock band: The Beatles easily beat Guitar Hero 5 in sales despite being a "niche" game. They made sure to not tell Yoko Ono this game was being created. She was very angry that she wasn't included but Paul was, but she's Yoko "the bitch who killed the Beatles" Ono so fuck what she thinks.

Once this game became obsolete Rock Band Fans found out about Harmonix's "One game per song rule" and were enraged. The Beatles songs can never become part of the full Rock Band series because all of their songs, even Octopus' Garden, were on that game's disc. To this day The Beatles Rock Band is the only game with no export/import functions.

There also is a Green Day Rock Band but nobody cares about that band except for Emos so people have basically forgotten about it. Sometimes people request other Emo bands like Paramore, Panic at the Disco or AFI but those requests are ignored because Fuck Emos. At least only one singer is required for Green Day making it possible for antisocial losers to get all of the achievements again.

Rock Band 3[edit]

Instruments. Instruments Everywhere.

After two years Harmonix decided to release yet another main title in the series. This time they decided to take away about half of Rock Band 2's content and add a keyboard that is not supported by some songs in the game. They also tossed in an over priced guitar with Over 9000 buttons on it which is fucking imposable to play. Regarding the missing content mentioned before, it includes but is not limited to, the removal of all duel biased competitive modes and the removal of an actual career mode. If the OMG NEW INSTRUMENTS!!1!11! wasn't enough of a reason to make you run out to buy this game, Harmonix decided to do give their fans reasons that will force them to buy this new version. See, Harmonix decided to make all future DLC for the series only be compatible with Rock Band 3. So all of you Rock Band 2 junkies will not be able to even play the new songs by hit bands like Linkin Park. Oh, and those songs you bought before that were re-released to add in the pro and keyboard functions, well you will have to buy them all over again without so much as a discounted price or anything.

PROTIP: There is a cool glitch that affects your score. When your nearing the end of a song, rapidly hit the start button to pause and un-pause the game at least 15 times. Do this until the game stops rewinding the track, then return to playing. Your score will be insane!

Rock Band 4: The Trollening[edit]

We swear this isn't Rock Band 1.

Fans were assured that even though the next game would be "back to basics" it would still be Rock Band. Fans of the series were butthurt about having to buy an entire new system to play the latest Rock Band game but were still optimistic. They has no idea what was in store for them.

Keys and "pro" versions of instruments were stripped. Nobody liked keys so only the hardest of the hardcore faggots complained. The pro instruments took four months to return so that those who bothered buying the same songs twice and actually bought toy instruments that cost almost as much as real ones could pretend to be superior again. The old guitars and drums still work with an adapter dongle. Only a single dongle is packaged with each game so people who actually play multiplayer in person are screwed. There is no other way to get a dongle except for buying a brand new game. Don't worry, you can still buy the deluxe band package for over $200.

There was no online multiplayer at launch. You couldn't even direct connect with friends, 90's LAN party style. It was an in-person party game or solo game. Period. Of course, it failed as a party game due to having only three craptastic options: career mode (no good for parties), Quickplay (also no good for parties), and Show Mode. Show Mode gives four random songs the players can vote on. If the players don't like the songs they can all vote "no" over, and over, and over again and pray something decent comes up. Want to play a specific song? Just go to Quickplay mode... which allows you to play only one song at a time complete with loading screen, intro animation, and outro animation before and after every single song. Want to play more than one song in a row and actually pick them without hassle? Tough cookies. Setlists were gone. The kicker? Career mode has portions in which the players select songs to play in order: it had setlist mode! Setlist mode was added over six months after launch in a 5 GB update to unlock crap that was already in the game.

You couldn't select songs by part difficulty. Everything was by "band difficulty" until the August 2016 update. Playing alone on career resulted in songlists that have wild difficulty shifts, so songs like "Dead Black (Heart of Ice)" with zero vocals outside of maybe a few spoken lines but five reds on everything else will turn up as a boss song for vocalists. This bug was game-wide including setlist mode.

The less you see, the better you're doing....
The one thing they did have from the beginning? Brutal Mode. This mode makes it so the better you do the less of the screen you can see. It's also harder than Expert mode. Expect to see more "hardcore" faggots uploading videos of Brutal Mode just so they can validate spending their lives mastering the art of plastic guitar.

In Rock Band 3 many people just cheated on Vocals. They either played midi of the correct notes or recordings of the song into the microphone to get a perfect score. Rock Band 4 turns on word recognition and ignores song recordings played back as "vocals". As a consequence only people who actually can sing a song masterfully make it through Brutal mode. The cheaters complained that now they couldn't get all the achievements (again) but Harmonix just laughed at them. This game wasn't designed so everyone could get every achievement, anyway.

Every single Rock Band Network song is missing in Rock band 4. They tried to make Rock Band 4 for PC via Crowdfunding. They claimed this was the only way to get Rock Band Network back. As people were pissed with how hard they were trolled with the console versions of Rock Band 4 it didn't get funded. The RBN songs remain missing. The Rock Band 3 import pack came out six months after the game's release and cost $15 bucks. It's impossible to import any other game via Rock Band 4. You must use the other games to do importing THEN re-download every single song manually to use the songs on Rock Band 4.

The soundtrack rivals the worst Guitar Hero games out there. Featuring six country songs pretending to be rock songs, six emo songs and throwaway songs that play at 3 AM on your local rock station (ex: "Miracle Man" by Ozzy Ozborurne, "A Passage to Bangkok" by Rush), the few actually fun additions are outweighed by tons of crap. The few decent songs feel like import bait for Rock Band 5, provided Harmonix's trolling didn't kill the series.

Rock Band Rivals[edit]

This game was promoted by Harmonix for months without giving fans the slightest clue as to what it would be. Would it be a vague tie-in like Rock Band Blitz or a crappy mobile/handheld port like the Guitar Hero games have? Nope. It's Rock Band 4 with a patch that provides online MULTIPLAYER! It also costs 35 bucks for the downloadable version. The physical version costs 80, comes with a guitar, and is preorder only. There is no disc only physical version.

What else do you get? Story mode now has a plot. They brought back the online leaderboards as well as online band high scores, too. If you pre-ordered you get a few extra songs. Didn't preorder? No new songs for you! It uses the Rock Band 4 setlist for songs and all of your old non-RBN downloads and (outside of pre-orders) has no new songs in the package. Didn't pre-order? Just buy the Rivals songs later as a bundle for $10 extra.

Oh, and if you don't buy it Rock Band 4 stops updating.

This is mandatory DLC to pay for more updates to a game that has been out for over a year already. Apparently Rock Band 4 being a "platform" means that now they just release paid upgrade packages that pretend to be extra games. Hooray? Expect Rivals to be replaced with still more $30+ DLC in 2017.

See Also[edit]

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Rock Band is part of a series on

Gaming

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Rock Band is part of a series on

Music

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Featured article August 18 & 19 2016
Preceded by
The Jewish Question
Rock Band Succeeded by
A Scientologist's Guide to 4chan