From this week's lengthy New Yorker article about the victorious Barack Obama presidential campaign:

Like many campaign teams, Obama’s was young. The communications department --made up mostly of guys in their twenties and thirties -- had a fraternity-house quality. On weekends, they would often drink beer together and play the video game "Rock Band" at a group house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. They had been brought up in Democratic politics in the previous two decades with an understanding that the people who worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton were the best operatives in Washington, especially when it came to dealing with the media. They had watched "The War Room," the documentary about the 1992 Clinton campaign, which featured strategists like James Carville and George Stephanopoulos manically responding to every negative story and trying to win every news cycle.

It's not clear if this will affect Obama's video game policy plans.

Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images.

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I'm in Los Angeles this week to help our guest blogger Michelle Zeller attend a "Shaun White Snowboarding" party and interview the boarder himself.

I've also been cruising around LA, meeting up with developer friends, making studio visits -- look for pictures from Pandemic Studios soon -- and making notes on what game related stuff I notice while on my trip.

To be honest, I've come across some pretty weird stuff.

Above, check out the epic "Rock Band 2" setup at the Hollywood-placed Virgin Records. Keep reading to see Amoeba Records' "Guitar Hero"-only setup and how I almost bought some Dreamcast and PS One games.


You know how "Guitar Hero: World Tour"'s drum kit works in "Rock Band," but a reader asked a good question: what about the other way around?

The drums work just fine in the Xbox 360 version of "Guitar Hero" that's in my possession.

Making the "Rock Band" drums work is as easy as turning them on; in my experience, there were no compatibility issues whatsoever.

But just because they work doesn't mean they will feel good in the game. I had to test them out:


With the release of "Guitar Hero: World Tour," gamers finally have some legitimately different choices in what instruments they rock out with.

Activision Blizzard's drum set works just fine with "Rock Band 2." The PlayStation 3 version of "Rock Band 2" still needs a patch, but on Xbox 360, everything's good to go.

I've been playing with the "Rock Band" drums for almost a year now, but the moment I played with "Guitar Hero"'s elevated cymbals, I fell in love. It feels so much more natural. Cymbals are coming to "Rock Band" soon, but they're not here yet.

Is plugging the new "Guitar Hero" drums into "Rock Band" the perfect solution? I tested that theory…


Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks, has just made it official that Harmonix/MTV Games and Apple Corp will "create a brand new video game featuring the music of the iconic Beatles."

Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos also said that it's not just a "Rock Band" song expansion pack; it will be "a new, full-grown, custom game built from the ground up."

The game is slated for release in Holiday 2009.

Full press release:

[UPDATE 4:20pm: The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that "several people familiar with the matter" have informed the publication that music from The Beatles has, indeed, been licensed for use in "Rock Band." We've reached out to MTV Games for comment, but have not yet heard back.]

We don't know.

You may have seen the blog posts and news articles about the MTV PR blast that just went out to video game reporters. It hypes the pending announcement involving MTV and the company that owns the Beatles' music library, Apple Corps.

You might be getting excited that there could be a "Rock Band Beatles" announcement coming tomorrow.

And you might think I can say if it's happening or not, since I work for MTV. Read More...

"Guitar Hero: World Tour" -- out right now -- and "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack" -- coming on November 2 -- mark some of first releases since we learned each set of instruments would work in their competition's games.

The way MTV Games and Activision Blizzard have promoted this newfound instrument truce on the packaging for their latest games differ, however.

In the interest of full disclosure, please note that MTV Games, a division of MTV Networks, which also owns MTV Multiplayer, does publish "Rock Band."

That said, here's what the boxes tell us…


Has anyone else been playing with the community tools that Harmonix and MTV Games built for the newly relaunched "Rock Band 2" website?

I haven't, until someone pointed out to me that you can create hilarious album covers by importing characters you've built in "Rock Band 2."

My options were a little limited, though. I haven't designed a logo for my band, The 40z (don't ask what it means, MTV won't let me say!) -- and, for whatever reason, my girlfriend's character is a no-show. But, for now, I was able to make my guy pose in a holiday-appropriate graveyard setting. That works.

Share some of your own creations in the comments!

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Back in college, several local bars would host "Guitar Hero" competitions.

I haven't noticed anyone in San Francisco doing anything similar. Maybe I've just missed it. But while walking my dog this week, I noticed something…else.

A "Rock Band" competition!

Not only does the bar Vertigo give away prizes to successful "Rock Band" bands, they even hold special rehearsal times for them.

That's dedication. Maybe I'll have to expand the scope of my own virtual "Rock Band" and see if we can't garner some real-life fans. Then again, maybe not. I'd rather just watch.

Do any establishments around you host video game-themed events?

The disc-only version of Konami's "Rock Revolution" was released last week, but the drum kit-and-game bundle won't be in stores until next month.

I was told by Konami reps last month that if you can't wait until then, you can buy the game and use MTV Games' "Rock Band" drum kit, in addition to Activision's "Guitar Hero" or "Rock Band" guitars.

In my tiny apartment, I currently have both the "Rock Revolution" drum kit (borrowed courtesy of Konami) and my "Rock Band" drum set (wireless version) for the Xbox 360. So I decided to compare what happens when I played the game, tailored to a six-pad drum kit, with a four pad one. Will "Rock Revolution" scale the difficulty accordingly? Read More...

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