It’s a funny thing. No matter the placement or size of Harmonix setup at PAX, the crowds always find them. Despite a slew of new and unknown games on the show floor, I always find myself gravitating to the sighs and sounds of the familiar Rock Band and Dance Central games. Harmonix at PAX Prime 2012 was no different for me… wait, it was better. Harominx brings people together, making my time with them at Prime one of the highlights of the weekend.
This time around, Harmonix brings us Rock Band Blitz and Dance Central 3. Rock Band Blitz is fun and clever. Positioned as a downloadable title, Blitz is a controller based rhythm game, challenging the player to perform all of the parts of a song. All 5 parts (keys and vox included) come speeding at you on the game screen. You jump between tracks to boost score multipliers on each, while building an overall score attack run. The challenge is in it’s simplicity. Each instrument only has two notes, but staying on beat is only half the battle. Knowing when to jump tracks and which tracks to play requires some mental effort. Couple that with puzzle-style power ups, and the player has a lot to master while maximizing their score.
You might ask why you’d play this game if you already have a full Rock Band kit? Well, maybe you don’t. But let’s assume you do. Blitz is the perfect compliment to your existing Rock Band library. All the songs from Blitz transfer to your regular Rock Band library. Your existing library works in Blitz . It’s a different way to enjoy Rock Band, something you can do if you can’t break out your plastic (or are just too lazy). It’s practically a steal too, $15 for over 20 songs, compared to the price of individual songs in the stores. Available now on PSN and XBLA.
If you’ve been to PAX, chances are you’ve seen the Dance Central stage. Brave souls line up around the stage for the chance to shake it in front of a veritable cornucopia of nerds. I can’t seem to get enough of it. Dance Central 3 means more songs, and more mayhem. I probably saw the dance routine for LMFAO’s “Sexy and I know it” at least 10 times… and it keeps getting better… every time I see it [not to mention the fact you’re talking to a dead guy here… (name that film)]. Seriously, I don’t even know what the new features are in the game, I just already know I want it. Dance Central 3 takes players on a trip through time, coming mid-October.
So yeah, after wimping out for the DC stage at East, I went back to my living room and trained for Prime… Rocky style… Hearts on Fire style. Too bad none of the existing Dance Central songs were on display. My nerve unshaken, I was determined to get on stage. Luckily, I met some great folks (in person) at our Thursday night meetup. They egged me on, had my back. All I can say is Backstreet’s Back, Alright! Thanks for dragging me up there guys, seriously.
Earlier in the day, I even walked by and caught members of Team Vanguard up on stage, breaking in down. Instead of the Shepard Shuffle, they did the “Hustle”.
Full discretion, I sometimes watch Dance Central videos on You Tube, because it’s sometimes easier to figure out a routine when an actual human being is doing it. That’s how I learned about RiffRaffDC and his Dance Central gameplay videos (credit to him for the video above too). Shout out to Raffi for representing for the guys. Anyhow, he is usually the guy on the stage who isn’t in DC cosplay. Naturally, I went and said “hey” and thanks for the video tips… and naturally, I then challenged him to do a song on Sunday I had never seen or danced before. I had no business being up there, but I had an awesome time as we performed Scream by Usher. At East, I’ll be practiced and ready…
Check out his DC channel on You Tube for more action.
The party continues
Saturday night, Harmonix hosted a game show event for the community. It was sort of a retro, hippie, disco vibe. Their energy was matched only by the energy of the audience. I apologize for not remembering the host’s name, but his uncanny resemblence to Mr. Laupin (see Thomas Lennon, Viva Variety) was spot on and probably hilarious only to me for that reason.
The panel was lively to say the least… and legit in the sense that Harmonix handed out some serious swag at the event. I think some dude walked away with an entire Rock Band set up. That’s pretty rad on Harmonix’ part. Another great example of a community that loves the developer, and the developer returns it too.
At PAX, Harmonix showed us a new way to enjoy our music library, gave us new dances to master, brought friends together, and connected devs with the community. And while I wasn’t prepared for the shenanigans at Prime, I’ll be sure to bring my A-game, when Nerd Appropriate invades PAX East in Boston on Harmonix’ home turf. Great show, guys and gals!