Nice look at Del Casher and the history of wah; music seen through a technological lens.
"Planbeast is a free service that lets you find people to play your favorite Xbox 360 games with online. Planbeast allows you to schedule and join new online events for any Xbox Live-compatible title." And there was me all ready to build this (albeit just for Left4Dead)… and now somebody's gone and done it already.
"This is a series of lessons on Blues Guitar." Simple, but thorough, and with some score/tab as well. Probably worth plugging through.
"BUGFIXES: Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause characters other than Ken to appear on the Character Select screen during online play." Damn, that one's been affecting me too.
"It is probably safe to say that, despite decades of ever more spectacular Hollywood visions of extra-terrestial domination, humanity in its worst nightmares never imagined it would have to contend with spawn-camping aliens." Chris Remo documents the end of Tabula Rasa from the frontlines.
"An experiment I’ve been running for more than two years now is over: running two Macs is more hassle than it’s worth. I write not to praise synchronisation technology, but to bury it." Roughly what I'd always guessed, but Fraser is careful and detailed, and makes some sensible points. I just hope Aperture doesn't chug as much on the new MBPs as it did on the old ones, for his sake.
"Yes people use the Internet to do bad thing, and quite possibly Twitter is one of those services that bad people use. But they also plan bad things in coffee house but for the last 300 odd years we’ve realised that trying to legislate against coffee houses is a bad thing for society." I recently finished Markman Ellis' book on coffee houses, and so Tom's post had a special kind of relevance.
A neat summary of what's available out there; I use Blueprint for prototyping, but it's interesting to see what else is available – particularly the more stripped-down frameworks.
"A whimsical riff on the bookmobile, Mr. Soriano’s Biblioburro is a small institution: one man and two donkeys. He created it out of the simple belief that the act of taking books to people who do not have them can somehow improve this impoverished region, and perhaps Colombia." Awesome.
"Flaming Lips vocalist-guitarist Wayne Coyne brought with him what he dubbed the 'Guitar Hero guitar,' an Epiphone double-neck with the lower, six-string neck replaced by a five-button variant and wired to an oscillator. '[It's] because a lot of kids out there think this is actually the way you play guitar…'" Awesome.
07 January 2007
This is the first an (hopefully) recurring series on Infovore, in which I write about, well, great gaming moments in whatever I’m playing at the time – current or otherwise. Let’s hope I can keep it up…
Guitar Hero was my favourite game of 2006. No question of that. A wonderful, empowering, hugely satisfying experience that cried out to be played for the sake of it. The sequel, released at the end of last year, is at least as good. It suffers by not being the first, not having the wonderful new-ness the first game brought to the market, but it’s more attractive, more polished, has much better note-detection, and a swathe of new features.
And, finishing it for the first time this morning, it brought my first “great gaming moment” of this year.
Before we go on, a note on the slightly altered structure of GHII. To progress through the game, you play gigs of songs; complete a whole gig and you can move on to the next set of songs at the next venue. Obviously, they get progressively harder. In GH, it was only necessary to complete either four or five (out of five) in the set, dependent on difficulty level, in order to progress.
GHII roughly sticks to that, but with a twist: it only lists four songs in the group. When you complete the final song necessary to progress, the camera lingers on your gig, and the audience start chanting, demanding an encore. And the game ask you if you want to give them one. Of course, you click yes, and wait for the game to load a song that’ll be a complete surprise to you.
It doesn’t really affect how the game plays, but it adds to the experience – of being a rock god – so much. So: to return to my story.
The greatest moment in the game is the final encore. It’s the final gig. You’ve shredded your way through four hellish solo-heavy songs, playing a special gig at Stonehenge. And the crowd start clamouring for an encore. But this time around, they’re not chanting indecipherable words, oh no.
It’s quite clear what they’re yelling.
They want you to play Freebird.
And up pops the game. “The audience are demanding Freebird! Will you give it to them?”.
You hit Yes.
“You’re really going to play Freebird?”
“You’re definitely sure about this?”
Yes. Got to love the game’s sense of humour.
Practice mode, Guitar Solo i is what you’re looking for, says the loading screen. It turns out that it’s not lying.
“If I leave here tomorrow…“. I stand in my living room, tapping out that wonderful acoustic first section, as hundreds of little computer people wave their lighters in the air. Crudely rendered they may be, but it’s a magical moment.
And then the tempo picks up, and the shredding begins.
It’s all over only a few minutes later. The grin is still on my face; it’s a hectic, exciting series of solos that rattle your wrists. As I write this, that grin is returning to my face, honestly.
It’s the most majestic pay-off. Two games, and seventy-odd songs later, the audience inside my PS2 are clamouring for one last song. They know exactly what song they want to hear. And finally, I can play it for them. That one moment – that’s Guitar Hero II in a nutshell: charming, exhilirating, a masterpiece of challenge-and-reward.
I have to go now. I can hear the crowd calling again.