I still remember when Atari came out with the 2600, which included the Combat cartridge. Very few people played Combat afterwards, because it required two people for playing.
I believe Atari launched their gaming console as something that would bring families closer together, like a family game night or something. Of course, Atari had lots of other cartridges out afterward that were made for one player only, and video games slowly became a solitary device.
Then Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony came out with their consoles over the years, and they all came with their versions of solitary games. This led to a lot controversy about how video games leads people to want to play solo, and thus encourages violent behavior, and all of that.
Then along came RockBand and Guitar Hero: World Tour, and they had something that most video games don’t have: togetherness. I’m sure you have seen the games with their plastic instruments of guitar, drums, and microphone. If you haven’t, all I can say is: “where have you been”.
These music games have been called: special controllers waiting for games. I don’t know if I agree with that, because these music style games have created a different type of video game culture.
Gone are the days where gamers played solo, shooting things for the sake of getting through levels. Now gamers are playing something that has always been cool: music.
Games like RockBand and Guitar Hero teach players that music is much better than when gamers jumped levels, anyday. Better yet, these games encourage players to get a band together in their own homes rather than go online.
Best of all, it encourages families to play together, and to paraphrase a cliché, a family that plays together…fill in the rest.
In my own home, we often have a RockBand time where my daughter sings on the microphone, my son plays the drums, and either my wife or I play on the guitar. As a result, my children have learned how to keep a beat to music, and learn some old songs from before their time as well.
Best of all, RockBand encourages them to challenge themselves. A month ago, she told me that she could never play the guitar on RockBand, but now she is learning to play it on Medium level.
Best of all, parents don’t have to worry about the violence or any sexual innuendo that comes with other video games because they are playing the game with their child. The only thing that rates the games “T” by the ESRB is the lyrics of the songs. This is also not a problem, because the lyrics are right there for parents to read. If they don’t like the song, they can choose not to play it.
In short, RockBand is the greatest thing to happen to family gaming since…home video games. At least, I believe that’s what they might have been intended to do.