Still here? Good. It’s been a couple months since we last talked shop about the keyboard; I hope you’ve been practicing. You have been practicing, haven’t you? Because you know what happens if you don’t practice.
If you don’t practice, you don’t get a lolly.
On this second installment of our keyboard study, we’ll be talking about strategies for aspiring pianists — no snickering! —who are just now getting to know their way around the ivories.
As a child, there was nothing I dreaded more than my weekly piano lessons. My teacher, a doting, grandmotherly old lady who smelled like candy and cried whenever I said “thank you,” did her best to impress upon me the importance of mastering scales and the beauty of perfecting a large-note, simplified Chopin piece, but I would have none of it.
I dabbled in piano lessons again in my early teens, but the routine was only more tedious than before. When I came home from a day at high school, I wanted to put on a Linkin Park CD and feel sorry for myself, dammit, not familiarize myself with the sustain pedal while trudging through my teacher’s favorite new-age song of the week.
Generic teenage angst aside, there’s a very good reason why kids don’t want to practice their instruments: It’s just not very much fun.
Enter Rock Band 3. Combining the tried-and-true gameplay the series is renowned for with a set of real-world instruments, Rock Band 3 might be the first videogame that can actually teach a person how to play an instrument. But just how much of a commitment will that take from the average person? And just how much can you learn from a game?
Well, that’s where I come in. I put up the money to get Rock Band 3 on October 26th along with the keyboard peripheral, and I’ll be chronicling my progression through Rock Band 3′s Pro Keys mode.
There’s just no place for a street fighting man.
Well, that may have been true in 1968, but anyone who’s old enough to remember the Clinton era remembers Street Fighter II. Its unprecedented console game sales numbers, the lines of wannabe world warriors amassing at the local arcade machine, the combos, chains and cancels — they put Capcom on the map and gave birth to a brilliant new game genre, but the phenomenon faded with time. An obscure series of sequels and offshoots largely served to refine the game’s brilliant core mechanics, but did so at the cost of accessibility.
Fortunately, that ends with Street Fighter IV. The game’s back with the entire original cast of fighters from Super Street Fighter II Turbo (minus T. Hawk and Dee Jay, but nobody misses them) along with some fresh and inspired new faces. It’s endlessly replayable, packed to the brim with style and tempered with disciplined balance — a hallmark of the series and the result of months of in-depth public testing with the arcade version. But if you’re like me, you can barely remember how to throw a Hadoken or block Sagat’s knee attack. That’s where this guide comes in! I’ve taken my thirty hours’ experience of getting my ass handed to me by tweens named xXDeathstrykeXx and yourgonnalose (sic) on Xbox Live and coupled it with the best advice I’ve found for learning the ropes in Street Fighter in the hopes that new players can get the hang of a game whose only real flaw is the lack of a beginner’s mode. So dust off your gloves, dry-clean your most fashionable gi and get ready to throw hands with the best of ‘em. (more…)