Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here:

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

For a hot minute there, music games seemed like they were here to stay and Harmonix was the king of the genre. Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2 were massive hits, selling plenty of copies and guitar controllers. When Harmonix announced they were developing a game that formed an entire band, instead of just guitar and bass, music game fans couldn’t have been more excited. Today’s game is the result of that ambition. Today’s game is Rock Band. Developed by Harmonix and released on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in 2007.

Rock Band has a simple premise: give four people simplified instrument controllers and let them play hit songs together. Each instrument has the basic idea of showing a music track on the screen. As indicators move down the track, players must play (or sing) the correct note when the indicator reaches the bottom. When done correctly, the song keeps playing. If it’s done wrong, that instrument’s track stops playing until the next correct note.

Rock Band guitars are very similar to the Guitar Hero guitars. If you’ve seen one, you get how it works. There are five fret buttons on the neck of the guitar representing different notes. Hold down the correct button or buttons on the guitar and strum at the correct time to play the note. Drums are made up of four main drums and a kick pedal, all given different colors to differentiate them. When the colored indicators come down the track, hit the correct drum or the kick pedal. Finally, there is a mic for singers. This is the least abstract instrument of the bunch and functions much like a karaoke machine but one that grades you based on how close you are to the correct note. Octave doesn’t matter though so singers can adjust songs to their own vocal range. Finally, just like in Guitar Hero, each instrument can collect Overdrive by getting certain note sequences correct in a song. If the Overdrive meter is filled up, it can be activated to double the score multiplier or bring back a bandmate who has failed out by missing too many notes in a row.

Rock Band took the Guitar Hero formula and made it more of a party game by letting up to four players play at once on different instruments. Each player can choose their own individual difficulty so new players can play with experienced ones without much of a problem. There are several different modes for players to play as well. Along with a freeplay mode where players can mix and match instruments however they’d like and select songs to play from a list, there is a Solo Tour mode and a Band World Tour mode. Solo Tour mode gives a single player groups of songs matched together by difficulty for whichever instrument the person is playing. As they complete a group of songs, they can unlock the next group. Band World Tour is a much more involved mode where a group of at least two players can go to different cities on a world map. Each city has challenges to play through such as “Play Two Random Songs” or “Get At Least Four Stars on This Song”. Succeeding on challenges gets the band money to buy cosmetic items and unlocks more cities to play at, eventually unlocking the biggest challenge, the Endless Setlist, which challenges players to play through every song in Rock Band in one continuous set.

Rock Band was well received and sold remarkably well, considering the full band set retailed for $150 US dollars. Rock Band released a continuous stream of DLC songs players could add to their library as well as coming out with three sequels and a spin-off game. While the music genre has petered out for the most part, Harmonix continues to release DLC for Rock Band 4 to this day.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.