I love Rock Band. To this day, it's one of my favorite things to do while hanging out with my friends.
It's also one of the only games I can get my wife to play with me with almost zero coaxing. Unfortunately we have been running into the same problem over and over again. The problem is we would like to buy a Rock Band set and no one seems to want to sell me one.
For a few years now I've been playing Rock Band with some of my best friends, one of which owns a Rock Band set, and a nice one at that. Unfortunately the way life goes we don't hang out with this guy as much anymore and lately it seems the he's found some new friends to play Rock Band with, meh... c'est la vie. As you get older these things happen, plus it's his set so he can do what he wants with it. The problem is that over the past year I have been trying to purchase my own Rock Band set to absolutely no avail. I've checked every retailer I can think of, Future Shop, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, EB Games, even some of the independent shops, and so far it's been no dice. I have managed to find a few for sale on eBay but the shipping costs are out of this world.
All I'm looking for is a Rock Band bundle that comes with a guitar microphone and drum set for Xbox 360. When I began my search I figured it would be easy. During the guitar peripheral era, you couldn't walk into an electronics retailer without seeing Rock Band boxes piled up to the ceiling. Much to my chagrin, this is no longer the case. I understand why this is, but I'm certainly not happy about it. You see floor space at a retailer like Future Shop or EB Games is worth a ridiculous amount of money so if Rock Band isn't the hottest thing going the retailers just aren't going to dedicate the floor space to it. This is a practice I understand, but come on, can't you hang on to one or two bundles in case guys like me come looking?
Rock Band Blitz, which despite being fun in its own way, is a far cry from the experience of being able to split finger your way through Rush's 2112
So I've spent a year looking to give Harmonix and Mad Catz some of my hard earned money and have been unable to do so. I can live with that, but when my bargain hunting mother and sister come up empty handed I start to worry. Just before Christmas my mom and my sister made their annual trip to the USA to take in some of the great shopping. This year when they went I had but one request, FIND ME ROCK BAND! Oh how they tried but ultimately once they got back home they had to tell me "Sorry Tim, but we couldn't find any". What the hell? I figured that if anyone could track down one of these elusive bundles it would be my sister. She lives for the thrill of the find and now she has been denied the opportunity to become my personal shopping hero.
You see Harmonix, I want to give you money so badly it almost hurts. I've probably spent around $50 on Rock Band so far and I don't even own the bloody game. If I was able to find an instrument bundle I would probably spend three or four times that amount. Unfortunately since the only Rock Band I currently own is Rock Band Blitz, which despite being fun in its own way, is a far cry from the experience of being able to split finger your way through Rush's 2112. The bottom line is that it shouldn't be this difficult to support a game you love. Harmonix is a great developer and I would love to support them by buying ridiculous amount of DLC for their music platform. That's just not going to happen and until I can actually get my hands on a drum kit and guitar they won't be seeing any more cash from this gamer.
As always, it's never a good idea to point out problems without offering solutions. Personally, I feel that if retailers like EB, Best Buy, or Future Shop don't want to dedicate floor space to these cumbersome and admittedly dated bundles, then gamers should be able to buy them directly from the developer or publisher. If all I was interested in buying was a Rock Band 2/3 disc, I would have no problem doing so. It's the instruments that are hard to track down for a reasonable price. I'm also pretty sure that at this point, most people's plastic instruments could do with a replacement. Why doesn't Harmonix or Mad Catz simply sell instrument bundles directly to the consumer? It would make this whole process a lot easier and then I'd be able to give Harmonix all of my money. Unfortunately, at this point, I'm going to have to wait until Rock Band 4 before I see these bundles on the market again.