This holiday's most ambitious new videogame is a rock band in a box. Rock Band retails for $170. Yes, that's insane. But it comes with a game you can play for months. Plus a guitar. Plus a microphone. And a drum set.
None of these plastic, almost life-size instruments are playable in the real world. You hook them up to your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and play them as you would in Guitar Hero, with notes scrolling on the screen. You can even hook up four instruments at the same time and invite friends to play guitar, bass and drums while you sing.
I'm kind of over the whole Guitar Hero phenomenon. It's beginning to feel like button-mashing instead of music-making. So it's an awesome change of pace to bang on four drum pads and a foot pedal in Rock Band. There you are, sort of playing rhythm on Nine Inch Nails' "The Hand That Feeds" and Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl."
Even more fun: singing. Rock Band does a fantastic job of recognizing when you sing in pitch, in key and in time.