Before we get to the subject of the post, there is exciting toy news to discuss. The Transformer movie toys officially come out on June 2nd, however to coincide with last week's splendiferous trailer, Hasbro has allowed stores to start selling 6 figures. This would be your Bumblebee, Wreckage, Barricade, Brawl, Jazz and Scorponok. So far, I haven't seen these figures anywhere, but seeing how Walmart is still stocked with figures from the Classics line, as well as a glut of Spider-Man toys, and Target is content with rows and rows of empty pegs, I'm not surprised.
As you should know by now, I am an impatient man when it comes to games and Transformers. Waiting until I stumbled across the figures at my favorite retail shop is not something I deal well with. Thankfully, the Hasbro online toy shop is not only open, but has the figures in stock. My gaming buddy Kojubat was kind enough to provide me with a code that gives the bearer both free shipping and 25% off, so not only did I score the six figures with minimal hassle, but I saved 12 bucks in the process. That's the price of another toy. Woo-hoo! I also get some free Transformer magnets which I find somewhat ironic as presumably, they would wipe clean the mind of any robotic being they come across, thereby destroying the very commodities they advertise. The only downside here is that between the processing time and the shipping time, it'll be about 4 weeks until I get the blasted things. No worries here. Should I find the figures out in retail, I can buy them, begin enjoying them and then just return the ones I receive in the mail. Truly, this is a glorious day. That leaves several I now need to find come June 2, but it's 6 less than there were when I woke up this morning.
Details on Guitar Hero 3 were released today and while normally I would be all a twitter with excitement for the delicious song information, my copy of Guitar Hero 2 for the 360 sits in the corner a scant 2 months old. How can I be excited for a spate of new songs when I haven't even 5 starred all of the existing tour songs on Medium and have yet to even buy all the indies? Loathe as I am to say it, it would appear that Guitar Hero has been turned into the Madden of the rhythm game genre.
This new version of Guitar Hero will support both the Wii and the PS3, which allows for even further market penetration, but for those of us lured to the 360 version by the siren song of downloadable content, I fear our hopes have just come crashing down to Earth. If the next version of the full game is to be release some 7 - 8 months after the last one, I fail to see how there is enough time and development resources at Neversoft to produce both new, downloadable songs and a full version of the game on 3 different platforms, 2 of which they have never developed on before. Oh, did I not mention that Neversoft has never actually made a Guitar Hero game?
Now, just because I'm proclaiming doom, it doesn't mean that doom is upon is. There are a few scenarios that would allow us to download songs. First, is that Neversoft has two teams, one for developing the new version and one for developing new download only songs. I find this somewhat hard to believe as the cost must be prohibitive and why allocate resources to develop songs that will be purchased piecemeal, when you can instead force people to pay 60 bucks for the entire catalog?
The second option is that the newly announced 80's expansion pack for Guitar Hero 2, which, so far, is a PS2 exclusive, will be available via download on Live. If this is the case, I doubt they'll break up the songs, but anything is possible. All I know is that I'd sooner let a rabid Wildebeest in my home to fuck my couch than I would anything by Flock of Seagulls or Poison.
The third option is that, as development continues on GH3, they'll release a few songs for purchase that will hook into GH2 and allow you to increase your leaderboard scores and such. In earlier, more innocent days you would have called this a demo. People will bitch and moan about having to pay now for songs they could just wait to buy later, but in the end the need to download something, anything, will win, just as people bitched and moaned over the price of the downloadable GH1 songs but ultimately bought them to validate their 360 purchase.
Personally, knowing that another version of Guitar Hero will be available in less than a year, I don't really feel the need to download songs. As I mentioned before I've a fair amount to accomplish in Guitar Hero 2 and if 3 will have multiplayer over Live, then I feel as if my 360 purchase has been justified. In fact, I feel that way already as the 360 controller is infinitely more responsive than it's PS2 counterpart, a fact confirmed by my going back and playing GH1 on the PS2. Achievements are also a big draw, regardless of what that says about my vanity. I'm somewhat disappointed that downloadable songs seem to be stuck in the past, but at 2 bucks a pop, their pricing model did not inspire confidence, even less so knowing full versions will come every fall. I will go out on a limb and say that Rocktober will favor heavily.
I know that I haven't spoken of Rock Band, but at this point, the one controller I have purchased marks the most I'm willing to spend on hardware in my quest to become a fake rock star. An extra 200 dollars is folly, even if it includes a drum and a microphone. Also, I have spent enough time attending college open mic nights to know that some people have no business singing, yet feel as if they were put on this Earth to do just that. I have no desire to meet these people online and were I to do so, their torturing of my favorite songs would haunt my dreams.
Finally, if ever you wondered if a dog can blow out its knee, I am hear to tell you "yes". The proof is currently asleep on my family room floor. Not only can they blow out one knee, but if they're fat and female like my dog, chances are they'll blow out both back knees. When I tell people about this, their first question usually regards how much it will cost to fix her knee. My answer is that my dog is 11 and has led a wonderfully full life. That usually ends the conversation as to not leads to a fairly grim economics lesson.