The release of Rock Band 3 is imminent: and with it comes a new instrument / controller which should open the floodgates for a whole slew of new musical opportunities. The keyboard has arrived.
With Rock Band and Guitar Hero’s previous titles and themed releases – such as Metallica, Aerosmith and Green Day – focusing very much on the rock side of things, the keyboard may see some more family-friendly tunes and acts begin to appear.
Lego Rock Band has already hinted at this, with tracks such as Ghostbusters and Walking On Sunshine wrestling the gameplay from black leather gloved hands, but the keyboards may see some radical new styles and genres get a look-in.
So, here’s a top 5 of Rock Band games we’d like to see appear.
1) Rock Band 80s
The 80s was the decade of the synthesiser, so what better way to herald in the arrival of the keys than with a title devoted to the electronic sounds of the era?
We would love to recreate those heady days of big hair and shoulder pads with the likes of Kraftwerk, The Human League, Tears for Fears and Howard Jones vying for your ivory-tinkling attention.
Huge Jean Michel Jarre epics could test the mettle and stamina of even the supplest of fingers; whilst disposable pop nonsense like Kajagoogoo and Rick Astley would provide light relief.
And we could have a whole segment devoted to 80s bratpack movies too – all together now: “don’t you, forget about me…”
2) Rock Band Eurovision
The Eurovision Song Contest is filled with heart-rending piano-led ballads, strange folk-tinged pop hybrids, bonkers novelty nonsense and generally more cheese than the gross national dairy product of Holland, France and Italy combined.
Rock Band Eurovision would not only give you the chance to play along to such classics as Making Your Mind Up and – our personal favourite – Ruslana’s 2004 epic Wild Dances – but a whole ‘Contest’ game mode could be incorporated, allowing you to pick your country and try to take your fromage-laden pop classic to the top.
Imagine the nail-biting tension as you try to get the UK’s entry to reach a score in double figures; or the drama as the computer-controlled Eastern Bloc countries exercise tactical voting to ensure Lithuania’s entry triumphs. We definitely think this idea’s worth more than nil points..
3) Rock Band Piano Lessons
Relive the tortuous tedium of your well-intentioned youth with Rock Band Piano Lessons.
Featuring several hours of tutorials where you play nothing else but Chopsticks under the steely gaze of an elderly spinster threatening to hit your knuckles with a ruler, the game could then progress to such dizzying heights as being able to play Old Macdonald Had a Farm and Clair De Lune whilst animated scenes of your friends playing hopscotch and marbles in the summer sunshine could be glimsped out the window.
Do especially well, and you could unlock the game’s secret “School Orchestra” mode, where you play along to a woefully out-of-tune backing track whilst your virtual parents swell up with pride and video tape you from the audience.
4) Rock Band Ambient
Ever wanted to pretend to be 20th century composer Philip Glass? How about emulating the ambient soundscapes of Brian Eno? Or getting a little bit more up to date with the Aphex Twin or The Orb?
The main advantage of a game based around ambient electronic music would be no-one would really know whether you were getting it right or not. Mistimed notes could be explained away as ‘part of the soundscape’ and unintentional errors masked as ‘expressions of the minimalist nature of modern existence’.
Not to be confused with Rock Band Freeform Jazz Combo, Rock Band Ambient would be accompanied by trippy visuals and swirling animations not seen this side of a Windows 95 screensaver.
5) Rock Band Songs of Praise
Why should the black-clad children of Beelzebub have all the Rock Band fun? With Rock Band Songs of Praise, you can prove that the devil doesn’t have all the best tunes after all.
With the new controller being perfectly suited to recreate the unique strains of a church organ, Rock Band Songs of Praise could see you play your way through increasingly-challenging classics from the hymn book.
Starting off your career in small church halls, the game could see you progress to accompanying state celebrations in St Paul’s Cathedral, whilst your animated avatar friends and family lined the front pews looking as keen and earnest as possible for the TV cameras.
So, we now hope you’re as excited about this new addition to the Rock Band family as we are. Like the drums before them, the Rock Band keyboards promise to be an accurate recreation of the real-life instrument, meaning all those years spent practicing Chopsticks might just pay off after all…