The drums sat in a corner of my room, untouched, with a thin veneer of dust and fabric-fluff turning them slightly gray. The drumsticks were a pristine birch, unstained by sweat or grease. Stacked nearby lay my two guitars: one haphazardly disassembled, the other mottled by pox-like rust along its strum bar. These toys, once prized, formed a small altar of neglect.
Rock Band fell out of my regular rotation after I moved into my own quiet, cramped apartment. The thrill of channeling Eric Clapton as I wailed on 5 tiny plastic keys suddenly became routine. I stopped chasing DLC, stopped paying for music I owned twice (sometimes thrice) over, stopped trying to squeeze a bit of extra dexterity from my digits.
It wasn’t until this weekend that I took the game seriously again. Unexpectedly, a few friends dropped by with the explicit goal of rocking the f**k out. They weren’t interested in facemelting shreds, or knuckle-cracking drum fills. Score-mongering held no value to them. It was only the promise of fun that drew them to the game. It was much the same with my old roommates. They didn’t play to gold-star songs or to one-up each other. Three-hour rockathons surreptitiously assembled in the middle of the night were social events, not gaming events.
In the middle of chortling through a 12 note streak (thanks to some creatively rendered lyrics for “Eye of the Tiger”), I realized just what I had been missing these last few months.