Ben's 12 Days of Christmas Memories - Day 8: Rockband

Back in my late years of high school, there was one video game everyone knew and loved. Guitar Hero. This thing took the world by storm when it came out, and with the release of Guitar Hero 2 and 3 that popularity only continued to grow. Eventually it got to the point where we were actually allowed to play it in school, and the school even hosted competition game nights playing the thing. It was actually pretty crazy! Then things changed. With the release of Rockband (created by the company who did GH1 and 2) everything started to shift more in it's direction instead. It had the guitar gameplay of GH, but also mixed in drums and singing. It was a lot more diverse, and had a little something for everyone. This is actually one of the main games featured at my senior year's post prom, but I really wasn't that good at it.

Jump ahead to 2009 and finally things were about to turn around for me. Beetles Rockband was on it's way, and for whatever reason I really wanted it. I wasn't really a Beetles fan or anything (only knew a handful of their songs), but I knew Rockband as a whole was so much more. The Beetles bundle would be a good entry point, and now that I had an Xbox 360 I could actually play the "good" versions of these games. (I didn't want it on the Wii.) Anyway this was my first Christmas as an "adult" (I was 18), but strangely nothing felt that different to me. I guess I assumed once you were old enough Christmas would change, but that didn't happen. Thinking back on it though, I was pretty much the only kid in the family (as everyone else was 5-8 years older than me), but despite that we still all gave to each other. Rather than being a holiday more for the kids, my entire family always tried to make it special no matter how old everyone was. So when my parents said they'd get me Rockband that year, I was both excited, and a little surprised. Afterwords I remember going to Best Buy with a cousin of mine, and the two of us playing the demo station for at least an hour. I wanted to make sure I really wanted the game, and that day pretty much sold it to me. It was just as fun as I remembered Guitar Hero being, and I couldn't wait to finally own it myself. It was going to be a great Christmas! Although that year was quite a bit different from the past...

(Hard to believe this was 9 years ago.)
That was the first year we didn't have a normal Christmas at my grandma's house first. My cousins didn't come home, and I spent all of Christmas Eve working at our family's bakery. There were soooooooo many people. Thousands of orders had to be filled, people were coming in non stop to pick things up, the phone constantly rang, and we had to be as fast as we could to keep up. Had nearly the entire staff working that day, but even then it was a challenge to keep things moving. This is actually how my next few Christmases would go, but this year in particular was different. After all things were said and done we did go over to my Grandma's to eat, but we didn't open gifts or anything like we usually did. We did take quite a few pictures that day though, and all things considered working that day at the bakery was pretty fun. Well, it's at least a good memory to look back on. Once that was all said and done I went back home for the night, and fell asleep on the couch as I waited for Christmas Day.

With the bakery and everything that happened, this was the first Christmas in many, MANY, years that we recorded anything. I remember opening Beetles Rockband and not being surprised by it, but what did catch me off guard was everything else I got with it. Multiple Rockband song packs to fill up my library, and some money to buy whatever else I wanted. This is what I would use later that week to buy Fallout 3 and Lego Rockband, but for the time being all I needed was The Beetles.

Although The Beetles part of it might not have been my favorite, Rockband itself became my "go to game" when I didn't feel like doing anything else. I spent most of that Christmas playing it with my family, but it wasn't until I got Lego Rockband that it started to really click with me. When my aunt and cousins came for New Years we spent all night playing it, and afterwords it was a game I'd turn on at least once a week or so. Each time I played I got better and better, and when I had the spare cash I was able to add new songs to the list. Sadly Lego Rockband limited me on what I was allowed to buy, but whatever. I was fine with it. Of course I would eventually get Rockband 3, but that's a story for tomorrow.

Looking back now, it's hard to believe that was almost exactly 10 years ago. I remember it like it was just yesterday, but in reality so much time has passed. It was a good time.

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