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July 09, 2008

This is why I'm excited for Rock Band 2

Rock Band 2: The AV Club Hands-On Preview | The A.V. Club

All of my most minor complaints have been answered, it seems. Also mentioned in the article is that there is a drum trainer included to teach you how to actually play drums for reals. Fuck. Yes.

First off, the career mode. Rock Band 2 cuts the solo world tour, and it makes the concept of a "band" more flexible. Any number of people, online or off, can join a band: you can play by yourself with three steady non-player characters of your own design, you can start a band with remote players, and you can invite people just to sit in with you. Your characters don't have to stick to one instrument, giving you the flexibility to jump from guitar to drums. And if you're just playing in a pick-up band at a party, a "party-safe" mode keeps newcomers from accidentally hitting the wrong button and backing everybody out when you're trying to start the song.

The path through the setlist is also more flexible. Instead of hammering your way through section after section, you can take on different "challenges" to unlock more of the setlist: you can focus on guitar-centric songs, or skip to the "decade" challenges. The songs on the disc will integrate seamlessly with the songs you've downloaded, making your '70s setlist longer and longer the more Rush tracks you buy. And you'll now be able to queue up your setlists, using an interface that's based on the Music Store UI. You'll also be able to play whole albums automatically in the right order, to save you the hassle of forgetting the tracklist halfway through Doolittle.

In the band world tour, you'll still compete for cash and fans, but you'll have more variables to play with. You can hire staff – promoters, your mom – to support your band or find new gigs. A risk and reward system will complicate the business end: hire a sleezy accountant and you may clear more money from a successful gig, or you may get robbed if you underperform.

. . .

Harmonix is also looking into merchandising options. While they haven't confirmed details, they're exploring a way to let you buy real-life posters and t-shirts bearing the name and logo of your imaginary band. This struck me as a funny yet not-so-funny idea: it adds an intriguing dimension to the act of pretending you're in a rock band. In Rock Band, you can pick it up for fun and laugh at the plastic toy guitar – but the longer you play and the better you get, the more invested you can become in your characters and your band. As Teasdale put it, "It's like getting people to roleplay without even realizing it."

Mercedes to cease making petroleum-powered vehicles by 2015

Mercedes to cut petroleum out of lineup by 2015 : Yahoo! Green

In less than 7 years, Mercedes-Benz plans to ditch petroleum-powered vehicles from its lineup. Focusing on electric, fuel cell, and biofuels, the company is revving up research in alternative fuel sources and efficiency.

The German car company has a few new power-trains in the line-up that European journalists have had the opportunity to test out in the Mercedes facility in Spain. One vehicle includes the F700, powered by a DiesOtto engine that combines HCCI and spark ignition to get nearly the same efficiency as diesel, but minus the expensive after-treatment systems.

The engine can run on biofuels, and we may have a purchasable vehicle by 2010 -- a year that seems to be popular for the debut of a lot of new alternative fuel car models, making ’08 and ’09 simply thumb-twiddling years for consumers. I don’t know, maybe car makers just like the roundness of “2010.” The company’s next big step will be to launch a Smart electric car which is fuel and emission-free.

July 06, 2008

Rock Band 2 setlist revealed?

Rumor: Dueling Rock Band 2 Tracklists

The rumor is that RB2 owners will be able to transfer all of their downloaded songs and all of the songs of the first Rock Band into RB2, which is already impressive. I hated Guitar Hero 2 for selling back to me (not that I bought them) the songs of the first Guitar Hero.

This list below has been edited down to what I'm personally excited about. For the full list (which is just a rumor) click through.

3 Alanis Morissette You Oughta Know
4 Alice in Chains Man in the Box
8 Beastie Boys So Whatcha Want
11 Billy Idol White Wedding Pt I
12 Blondie One Way or Another
13 Bob Dylan Tangled Up in Blue
14 Bon Jovi Livin' on a Prayer
17 Dinosaur Jr Feel the Pain
f 22 Elvis Costello Pump it Up
25 Go-Go's, The We Got the Bea
t 27 Guess Who, The American Woman
33 Joan Jett Bad Reputation
36 Kansas Carry On Wayward Son
37 L7 Pretend We're Dead
45 Mighty Mighty Bosstones Where'd You Go
46 Modest Mouse Float On
47 Motorhead Ace of Spades
48 Muffs, The Kids in America
49 Nirvana Drain You
50 Norman Greenbaum Spirit in the Sky
51 Offspring, The Come Out & Play (Keep 'em Seperated)
54 Pearl Jam Alive
55 Presidents of the USA Lump
58 Red Hot Chili Peppers Give it Away
70 Survivor Eye of the Tiger
72 Talking Heads Psycho Killer

What do YOU think?