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The Rise And Fall Of Rock Band | Gameological Society


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The band broke up this year. Or it went on “indefinite hiatus,” like R.E.M. or The Pixies—titans that didn’t flare out in a blaze of glory but simply went to bed after a slow, strong fade. Harmonix, the Boston-based developer behindRock Band (and the entire plastic-instrument-game phenomenon of the last decade) released its last downloadable songs for the game on April 2, two and a half years after the release of the final game in the series, Rock Band 3.

Don McLean’s “American Pie” closed out 281 consecutive weeks of new songs for living room partiers, each one almost rewritten from the ground up by the studio to be played by amateurs with plastic instruments. Classic songs, underground indie bar burners, metalhead thrashers—they were all reimagined as video game feats of dexterity, each one adapted for all kinds of skill levels.

Rock Band turned into this social game, this kind of collaborative experience,” Harmonix’s Greg LoPiccolo said. LoPiccolo was one of the project leaders on the series from the start. “We got a lot of emails from people, like families who didn’t get along and teenage kids who couldn’t get along, but they could all play Rock Band together, and that was a common ground. You know, Mom would sing and whatever. There’s precious little of that in the world. Insofar as we were able to create an environment where people could do that and enjoy each other’s company, that was a big deal for me.”

How did Rock Band die so quickly? Did people just burn out of it?

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