Rock Band Network FAQ

Rock Band Network

What is this “Rock Band Network” thing that you keep going on about?

Who are you, person who keeps using the hell out of #RBN on Twitter?

What does “UND-” mean anyway?

These and so very many other questions for this activity which started spontaneously and has since become a weekly event. It seemed easiest to create a page with all the pertinent info and just link to it when necessary. I’m sure people following along on Twitter will appreciate the absence of five or six prologue tweets.

Right, so what is this Rock Band Network thing?
The Cliff Notes version: The Rock Band Network is a system set up by Rock Band creators Harmonix where anybody with the rights to a song can get it into the game. A lengthy answer is best found on either Wikipedia or the RBN site.

You have no musical ability to speak of, so what are you doing with it?
Playing it. By its very nature, the RBN is filled with groups you’ve probably never heard of playing songs you’ve probably never heard of. Nobody wants to plonk down money for something they’ve never heard of. They thought of that, and each song offers a demo version that you can try first. These demos are the first sixty seconds of the song (or 30%, whichever is shorter), completely playable on all instruments and all difficulties.

What does that have to do with you spamming the hell out of Twitter?
The week that RBN launched, my husband (Mike/@Ultrace_v1) and I were pretty stoked. We downloaded all 105 of the inaugural demos and prepared to play them. But as we did, we also decided to Tweet our thoughts on those demos. Much to our surprise it became pretty popular, which prompted us to turn it into a weekly rundown of all the new tracks.

But I can’t understand half of what you’re saying when you review on Twitter!
Yeah, 140 characters is pretty limiting, especially for someone like me who will never use 5 words when 15 will suffice. Once you put in the song title, the artist and the #RBN hashtag, there’s not a whole lot of room left. An abbreviated system is pretty much a necessity.

Every demo is initially rated one of four ways:
* BUY. An instant purchase. No further research necessary.
* UND+. Undecided, but positive. We want to see and/or hear more but the first 60 seconds intrigued us.
* UND-. Undecided, but negative. We’re not ready to dismiss the song completely yet but it didn’t really grab us.
* DELETE. No thanks, it’s just not for us.

What instruments are playing when you try the demos?
We both play on our “default” instruments: Expert guitar for me and expert bass for Mike.

What do you put in your RBN posts to your blog, anything different from Twitter?
A large part of those posts are a copy/paste directly from my Twitter reviews. I’ll change the titles or bands to their full names if I had to truncate it for Twitter’s limitations. I also link to a video of the song where I can; I do full band charts wherever possible, but sometimes have to settle for single instrument charts or even just a video/performance of the song. I also include the price of the song, listed in Microsoft points (ex: [80]).

I also will occasionally post an update, where Mike and I have sat down and reviewed the full songs/charts for tracks that were previously rated UND+ or UND-. Here we list any decisions we’ve made, moving tracks to either BUY or DELETE or adding a new rating of RAINYDAY. This rating means that we’ve decided that we like the track enough to pick it up, but it falls just shy of being something we want get right this moment. Instead, we’re keeping it on a list of DLC that we can go to whenever we’re in the mood for something new.

These periodic updates also include a running list of all the BUY and RAINYDAY DLC, making it a handy resource for anybody with musical tastes similar to ours who are looking for a convenient place to, at a glance, review all of the songs we felt were worth purchasing.

You didn’t like [song]! You never like [genre]! You suck and your tastes suck and your dog sucks too!
It’s true, sometimes I don’t like stuff. Crazy, I know, me having an opinion and all when doing reviews that express my opinion. Here’s the thing though: IT’S OKAY. Just because I didn’t like a song or band or genre that you love doesn’t mean that I’m saying your song/band/genre shouldn’t be in the game. Quite the contrary, I think that RBN should be as open and diverse as it’s possible to be. That’s the beauty and the genius of the thing. But because I am a thinking and feeling creature capable forming independent ideas, that means there’s going to be stuff I don’t care for. Whether it be the sound or performance and style or just not liking to simulate it on my fake plastic instruments in my leisure game that I play for fun. If you don’t like the idea that I might not agree with you on everything then it’s probably best for us both if you stop reading anything I have to say about anything ever.

Oh, and my dog does not suck, you poo-head.

I have more information about a chart / I think you’re really not giving this song a chance / You’re missing something awesome and here’s why you should love it.
Please do not hesitate to share any of these thoughts with me, either here or on Twitter. The main reason we’re going through these things is because we want to hear cool music that we would never have heard and play fun charts that we would never have played. I hope that by sharing our thoughts we’ll help others to do likewise. Let’s face it, the RBN is already a pretty daunting size. If you have information or opinions that will help us find good stuff that might’ve fell through the cracks, don’t hesitate to say. In the same vein, if there’s a way that I can make these posts more useful to anyone using them as a resource, then this is absolutely stuff I wanna know. Let’s all keep helping each other rock.