I'm standing in my living room holding a replica Fender Stratocaster and I imagine I am playing it with the skill, dexterity, and swagger of the love child of Jack White and Keith Richards. That is until I catch my reflection in the window and realise I look more like the awkward guitarist in a church rock band trying not to mangle Michael Row the Boat Ashore.
Meantime Amy is in full swing on the drum kit. Bashing at the red and green pads that represent cymbals and snare, and looking very cool. I try to add flare with the whammy bar, no dice. I realise I can't think of one technically proficient but aesthetically boring rock guitarist.
Next song up we choose Mississippi Queen and I decide to try it on (bum bum buuuum) medium difficulty. Within 30 seconds I am leaping around the room, picking up riffs and laughing maniacally. By the end of the song I am surfing a huge adrenaline buzz. Gone are the days where I am placated by sitting on my couch twiddling my thumbs to play games. This is the funnest game I have ever played.
Greater user interactivity is not a new thing with games. For me it began with the orange and grey Nintendo Zapper Light Gun for Duck Hunt. Then much later the bigger, multi-button and triggered controllers that required more than two-button mashing. The race-car set-ups with gear sticks and steering wheels. The "realistic" fighter jet joysticks. Then the Wii came out, the first game system that actually made you work up a sweat.
I've got a baseball game for the Wii called The Bigs, which is the first game I've played that feels almost like I'm playing the real game (with the possible exception of Wii golf, I suck at real golf, I suck at Wii golf). You swing and pitch and "run". In fact, after playing The Bigs for a few months I went to get tattooed and noticed that my pitching arm was bigger then my non-pitching arm. Jokes ensued.
A few months ago we got a Wii Fit too, leaning and hula-hoop became incredibly addictive and really hard work. But the game got a little too preachy and creepily personal for us ("I haven't seen you in a while Hadyn, where have you been?" "Why do you think you've gained weight Hadyn?"). But still it was totally fun.
So while Rock Band could've been a game where you sit in front of your TV pressing buttons on a regular controller, by making that controller into the shape of a guitar or a drum kit, suddenly you have made the funnest and most addictive game I've played since... well, actually since I got Wii sport.
But just in case Amy and I were crazy and this game actually sucked, I enlisted the help of a couple of bandmates. Mike (drums) and Jed (photographer, vocals and drums when we could prise Mike off them) showed up, we ate fish and chips, drank beer and rocked. The fuck. Out.
We could've rock and rolled all night (and partied every day). We only stopped because it was getting late and we didn't want to annoy the neighbours. Not very rock and roll, but it is just a game.