Friday, July 31, 2009

She thinks the Trapper's sexy

This week DMan was sick, but we had a special visit from Nick, the original Guitar Hero master from Macadamian (he's one of the only people I know who passed Jordan on Expert in GH2). The Trapper and Sylvie also helped out, with everyone switching instruments throughout the night.

One funny moment was when Phoenix changed the lyrics of "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" (from the new Country Track Pack) to "She thinks the Trapper's sexy, there's really something wrong...".

We also had a tough time passing "No Hassle Night" from "The Dead Weather" due to the crazy drum intro. After a few attempts, Bongoo saved the day so we could go on with our night. :)

We played 32 unranked songs, gaining 24M points along the way. This should move us up from 27th to 22nd in the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

- Stars breakdown for the 32 songs, 5 stars (22), 4 stars (10)
- Bongoo is the "Top Performer" for the most songs (20), followed by Raikan (8), Nick (4), and Sylvie (2)
- Bongoo has the most FCs (5), followed by Raikan (3)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goal for tonight: move to the top 20 will have an update later today, but I can confirm that we will be ranked 27th with 500M points for the "All Songs" Leaderboards. Tonight our goal should be to play 32 unranked songs and gain at least 32M points. That would move us up to the top 20.

500M points is a nice achievement, but I'm sure we will be joining the 1B point club soon... :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Doin' That Rag without Raikan

This week Raikan couldn't make the session and DMan couldn't sing so we played 24 unranked songs with Sylvie on Vocals and DMan on Bass. We likely gained about 20M points, so that will move us up a few spots in the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

We had the shaky arrow during "Doin' That Rag", which made it difficult to sing for those who hadn't heard it before. We finally passed it with Bongoo on Vocals, with Sylvie being the "Top Performer" while playing guitar.

That Grateful Dead song is my least favorite out of the 13 that are out so far. Apart from the main riff which is somewhat catchy, the whole song has a very disjointed feel, never quite hitting any kind of rhythm, melody, or groove. I really like the Grateful Dead songs on guitar, but this song is kind of painful to play and hear.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs, no Gold star due to the unusual line-up: 5 stars (10), 4 stars (13), 3 stars (1)
- Bongoo is the "Top Performer" for the most songs (16), followed by Phoenix (5), DMan (3), and Sylvie (2)
- Bongoo had the only FC of the night

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goal for tonight: move up 5 ranks

With today's session starting a bit late (see previous post), let's aim to do at least 24 unranked songs with the optimal line-up instead of the usual 32. is currently at its optimal range to update twice a week, so our scores with last week's session are now up-to-date. We are currently ranked 27th for the "All Songs" Leaderboards with 483M points. This is slightly lower than our in-game total due to some songs being played with one instrument only, the score not being high enough to be ranked.

Gaining 24M points would move us up to to 22nd place.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Late for this week's session

Hi, I will probably be tied up until 9h30 this Thursday, I'll give you all a call ~30 mins before I'll get home.

Worst case: I can arrange to keep the back door unlocked if you wish to come and start without me, I'll let you know on the phone.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Beef with CafePress

Several months ago I (somewhat jokingly) created an online store for 3 Macas and a Reject using CafePress, the self proclaimed leader in User-Generated commerce. I created a couple of products using some ideas generated by the group, and posted them on our store, for all to see and purchase.

On June 1st 2009, several months after the launch of our shop, CafePress modified its royalty policies. Where we, as shopkeepers, had once decided how much our products would sell for, CafePress would now state the price for all products, giving shop owners 10% of every sale.

Now, this may seem reasonable, but let me take you through an example:

On the 3MaaR store, we have a "They're Buttons You Know" T-Shirt posted at $21.99. Of that $21.99, CafePress takes $14.99 for the shirt, and we receive $7. Not bad huh? Well, if you happen to buy our T-Shirt off of CafePress' website (which all people do, as we have virtually no traffic going to our shop) you'll have to pay $25 (3$ more than what we ask for it). Not only that, but CafePress will only give us 10% of the sale, meaning we get $2.50 and CafePress gets $22.50, up from $14.99!

So to reiterate:

Old System:
  • Our price - $21.99
  • Our cut - $7.00
  • CafePress' cut - $14.99

New System:
  • New Price - $25.00
  • Our cut - $2.50
  • CafePress' cut - $22.50 (That's $7.50 more than before!)

Customers get screwed because they have to pay 3$ more for our shirt, and we get screwed because we receive $4.50 less than what we would have originaly. The only ones who are happy in the end is CafePress, who laugh all the way to the bank.

Well, you suck-didely-uck CafePress! And with that, I am sad to say I will be closing the 3MaaR online shop, as I can't stand seeing a company so blatantly screwing over its customers.

As for any potential shop owners out there who are looking to publish their creations, don't use CafePress. There are many other great alternatives (like for example) who are much better, and a lot less devious...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rock Band Diversity: From SpongBob SquarePants to Cannibal Corpse!

When Rock Band was released and we started getting weekly DLC, I knew that this would be a great way to expand the range of artists we can play as. For example, in June 2008, we got a week that featured both Disturbed and Jimmy Buffett! :)

But that is nothing compared to what is on display in our current Rock Band catalogue. In a single set, we can now go from SpongeBob SquarePants (ex: "The Best Day Ever") to Cannibal Corpse ("Hammer Smashed Face")! For an interesting "Disney-esque" parody of the real Cannibal Corpse song played in E major, see this video (warning: not for the squeamish). Those are some very happy riffs...

While some of the extreme lyrics of Cannibal Corpse could potentially have been censored (see this post), having such contrasting musical and thematic styles in a single game is a good sign that we'll continue to get some great artists in all genres. Harmonix is a company that is not afraid to push boundaries to expand their clientele.

That said, tonight we started off by playing all 8 songs of the Mayhem pack. That was a very intense set, with Phoenix thankfully playing on Hard difficulty (I warned him beforehand of how crazy some of the drum charts are). Most of the songs were a lot of fun to play, with my favorite being the Behemoth song.

We played another 16 random unranked songs after that, the first time in a while we play the whole night with our optimal line-up. Because we started the night with 464M points, this should be bring us very close to the top 20 in the "All Songs" Leaderboards when they are updated.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold star (5), 5 stars (12), 4 stars (5), 3 stars (2)
- Raikan is once again the "Top Performer" for the most songs (10), followed by Phoenix and Bongoo (7 each), and DMan (4)
- Raikan and Bongoo tie for the most FCs (2 each), DMan would have won but we don't count songs that only have "talkie" sections

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Goal for tonight: gain another 32M points

This week we will play another 32+ unranked songs, which should give us at least 32M points more. With last week's point gain, this will bring us closer to the top 20 for All Songs.

"Original 84" All-Console Rank: 40th
"All Songs" All-Console Rank: 32nd

Friday, July 10, 2009

AC/DC marathon songs + Raikan takes over

Tonight we played 24 unranked songs and likely gained at least 24M points (didn't check). Most of the night we played with the optimal line-up, but Sylvie replaced Phoenix for the last set. We probably moved up from rank 31 to 27 in the "All Songs" Leaderboards.

Using our patented pseudo-random song selection technique (see this post), we just so happened to get two AC/DC songs in a row. But not just any two AC/DC songs... Jailbreak (Live) and High Voltage (Live)! These two songs are the longest in the game, at 10 minutes+ each.

Now I don't mind long epic songs (I'm a Dream Theater fan after all), but these two, especially Jailbreak, had some really long and boring parts that seemed to never end... Phoenix had enough of one of these songs, so Sylvie played the second one.

Tonight was the first time that Bongoo was not the "Top Performer" for the most songs. Raikan gets the win with 14 vs. Bongoo's 10!

Also of note is that we didn't have an internet connection so hopefully the next time Phoenix connects, tonight's scores will be uploaded. In RB1, scores for songs that were played offline were never uploaded, but apparently this is fixed in RB2. This will be a good test. We'll have to wait until next week to try the new metal songs from the Mayhem pack.

- Stars breakdown for the 24 songs: Gold star (5), 5 stars (17), 4 stars (2)
- Raikan is the "Top Performer" for the most songs (14), followed by Bongoo (10), Phoenix (6), and then DMan and Sylvie (1 each)
- Bongoo has the most FCs (4), followed by Raikan (2)
- Phoenix has an amazing performance on "Sleepwalker", finishing as the "Top Performer" with 96% of notes hit

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Macas are back!

The Macas are back after a 3-week break. The Phoenix and DMan duet has enjoyed touring the country and enlivening the crowds.

Tonight we will play at least 32 unranked songs, which will move us up about 8 ranks in the "All Songs" Leaderboards (rank 31 to 23). We can also try to beat our record for Gold stars for one session (13), plus play some of the new songs from the Mayhem metal pack.

"Original 84" All-Console Rank: 39th
"All Songs" All-Console Rank: 31st

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Macas back next week for some metal!

Phoenix and DMan are back from their journey, but this week's session is cancelled due to today being Bongoo's birthday. Harmonix must have known it was my birthday because they just announced a metal 8-pack! :)

Behemoth - Conquer All
Black Dahlia Murder - What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
Cannibal Corpse - Hammer Smashed Face
Gob Forbid - Empire of the Gun
Job for a Cowboy - Embedded
Marilyn Manson - Disposable Teens
Slayer - Black Magic
Whitechapel - This Is Exile

Last year we had two metal variety packs (3 songs from Earache and 6 songs from Roadrunner Records), so this makes it the largest one yet! Of note is the first black metal influenced group in Rock Band (Behemoth), plus songs by the pioneers of thrash metal (Slayer) and death metal (Cannibal Corpse). There are also some more modern metal groups (Whitechapel, Black Dahlia Murder, God Forbid, Job for a Cowboy), plus the least "metal" song of the pack by shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

All the bands are part of the Mayhem Festival in the U.S. this summer. Unfortunately there was no "Heavy MTL" metal festival in Montreal this summer, so at least we'll have a taste of another festival through Rock Band! :)

One thing I'm wondering about is if Cannibal Corpse's lyrics will be censored. A few Rock Band songs have violent or gory lyrics that weren't censored ("Good Mourning/Black Friday" by Megadeth and "2 Minutes to Midnight" by Iron Maiden), so it might not be. But I wonder what parents would think if they saw their children sing that song... It's all about parental supervision I guess.

The members of Cannibal Corpse have some interesting thoughts about their lyrics in the "Response to critics" section of their Wikipedia page.

It's funny how in the U.S. nudity and sex bring about so much censorship for any type of media (ex: "Sir Psycho Sexy" lyrics in Rock Band, NC-17 ratings for some movies), whereas extreme violence and gore is tolerated (ex: violent movies usually get an R rating at the worst).

Nevertheless, bring on the metal! :)