Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't open that!!

In Greek mythology, Pandora opened a box and unleashed many evils into world.

On June 23, 2009, I received my copy of Rock Band 2 and proceeded to do the exact same thing.

Two weeks ago today, I had an 8 AM conference call at work. Before going to that meeting, I got a 20 oz. Pepsi out of one of the vending machines. It had a red cap on it, instead of the standard dark blue. That cap was part of a promotional contest that Pepsi, Yahoo!, and EA were running. It contained a 12-character alphanumeric code that could be entered on their website to enter drawings for Rock Band 2 Special Edition packages (for your choice of game system) and downloadable content, among other things.

Later that night, maybe around 10 or 11 PM, I entered my code onto the website. Since I didn't already own the game, I used it to enter the hourly drawing for a package for a Wii. One shot, one kill; I won.

The website stated it would take 6-8 weeks for delivery. Which was fine with me. I suck at Rock Band. My friends Casey and Jason have the game, and I had only played it a few times. I never played Guitar Hero, which was never released for a Nintendo console until GH3 came out on Wii in late 2007. Besides, I don't have the finger dexterity to be very good at it. But when the original Rock Band came out around the same time, I was intrigued. Drumming? Singing? Things that I suck less at? Sign me up!

Harmonix, the developers of Rock Band, announced the sequel in summer 2008 (about 4 months before I ever played it for the first time at Jason's place on Halloween), so I was going to wait for that release before getting it for myself. And even then, I wanted to wait until AFTER this summer was over. I had too much going on. Weddings, golf, vacations, hockey, etc. If I got Rock Band 2, I'd spend nearly every waking moment playing it. Not leaving the house. Not spending time with friends. Wasting hundreds of hours just trying to unlock all the content for all my friends to come over and play it with me (or more realistically, take it to their places). And we all know what happened with the last game I spent a kajillion hours on...

So anyway, I get home from work on Tuesday and there's a UPS delivery notice on the front door of my apartment building. I assume it's for my new check blanks, so I go to pick them up on my way to my hockey scrimmage that night. I get to UPS, give them the delivery notice, flash the badge (photo ID, but badge sounds sexier), and they give me this large box. My initial reaction? "What the hell?" I must have said it 2-3 times before I walk out with it to my car. I open the box. There's my Rock Band 2 Special Edition for Wii. The box was shorter (height-wise) and longer than I expected. And it arrived in 6-8 DAYS, not weeks. Hence, my initial confusion.

I go and play hockey, and after I'm done, I went home, ate, showered, then unpacked the equipment and assembled it. Drum kit, microphone, and guitar (only one guitar, but that's another story for another day). I don't play it, 'cuz it was getting close to 1 AM and I had to work in the morning. But Wednesday, at lunch, I went home and booted it up, created my band and character, and played a few songs. A little singing, but a lot of drumming.

It's only been 72 hours. My left hand hurts from drumming. Every time I close my eyes, I can picture the gameplay and the drumming portions. Many of the game's songs are stuck in my head. I needed to watch "High Fidelity" on DVD. Why? Because I named my band "Sonic Death Monkey" (Let 'em riot, we're Sonic-fuckin'-Death Monkey). I had to make an iTunes mix of all the songs in the Rock Band series (the games, track packs, and downloadable content). I have an overwhelming urge to purchase the MP3's I don't already own of the songs that appear in the game series. And another urge to buy additional game content (the original game, track packs, and songs).

Could I have avoided this? Maybe, but doubtful. A special edition of Rock Band 2 comes in at around $190, plus tax and/or shipping. An extra guitar to get a full set of instruments is around 50 to 75 bucks (depending on the manufacturer). The original game is $50, plus $5 for a code to let me import them into #2. Track packs are $30 for 20 additional songs. Individual songs for download are $2. I knew I was going to open this can of worms at some point; the question was when.

Pandora, you have my sympathies. I can't blame you for what you did, because I'm guilty myself. Nothing left to do but start a club and order some sweaters.

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