Collaborative high tech toy – just in time for the holidays - Rock Band!

I don’t normally write about toys or gadgets, but my teenage son’s latest purchase combines my interest in collaborative technologies and his interest in video games and it’s just so cool that I’ve got to recommend it!  If your kid (or you) has an Xbox 360 (or Playstation 3) and you’ve got $170 that you’re prepared to spend, you can’t beat Rock Band as the coolest game or gadget for the holiday season.

Rock Band, from Harmonix, is a video game plus accessories – a guitar, a drum set, and a microphone. Combine the accessories with the guitar your kid probably already has from Guitar Hero and you’ve got a game you can play with four people.  Instead of trying to kill aliens, steal cars, or chase bad guys, however, the objective of Rock Band is to make music, which is what I really love about this game.  Four people work together on a common goal instead of trying to kill or beat each other.  If you don’t have three other friends who want to play with you in person, you can even play online in a virtual rock band, though I don’t like that idea nearly as much.

Since we got the game on November 20 (yes, that was me standing in line at Target when it opened at 8 am so the game would be at home when Corey got out of school on the first day it was available), there have been a constant stream of boys at my house after school – in between orthodontist appointments, after school jobs, athletic practices, and homework – singing and strumming.  Many of these kids actually play real instruments, but for the most part, these are video-game obsessed teen age boys who would normally be playing Halo or so some other violent game.  To hear them laugh and giggle and attempt to imitate rock stars as they collaborate on each song is far more rewarding than watching them scream and trash talk as they compete in the other types of games they love so much but I detest.  I’m sure they wouldn’t want to know this, but they are really learning to work together as a team as they play Rock Band and it’s MUCH quieter than a “real” band.

So, there’s my recommendation for a way cool collaborative high tech toy for the holiday season – Rock Band for the Xbox 360.

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