Achieving: Masochistic Payoffs in Rock Band 2

When it comes to Rock Band 2 I consider myself to be pretty average. I’ve never Gold Starred a song and I’ve never finished anything but the first couple of tracks on Expert. I always manage to miss at least one note (and usually plenty more) so those expertise Achievements have remained out of reach. Looking through the list one day, though, I got it into my head that I could probably finish the 84-track Endless Setlist on Medium and that if I didn’t drink or eat anything beforehand I could probably even do it non-stop.

It measures out to about 6 hours and I didn’t want to waste time off with Katy (or a weekend) glued to the TV. Ok, so we’re usually glued to the TV anyways but just let me work the romantic, thoughtful guy angle. That narrowed it down to one of the Fridays that I get off work from time to time but things kept coming up. I never thought I’d get around to it but I finally decided to just go for it. So I set up the laptop for between-song tweets, got out a stool, fully charged some batteries, and set to it.

Within the first hour my left hand was aching like always which is when I usually accept that my body doesn’t want me to keep playing. I popped a few ibuprofen and forged ahead, though, moving from the easier tracks into the harder stuff. I even spent an hour and half listening to a Giant Bomb podcast to drown out the monotony of all the songs I really can’t stand but by the time I got about halfway through the setlist I needed to focus. I played a few of my favorites in full-on rockin’ fashion but for the most part I alternated awkward playing styles to help out my left hand.

Guitar in my lap, I played the smaller “bass” buttons almost like a piano and even got coordinated enough to reach over and strum with my left hand and hit the buttons with my right. I also skipped out on all of the big rock finishes and let my bar hit the red before activating Overdrive and filling it back up just to get a few seconds’ break every now and then. Surprisingly, the time passed way quicker than I expected and before long I was into the last chunk of godawful metal tracks. I like (some) metal music but after 5 hours of straight playing the incoherent growling and manic instrumentation was completely deflating. I just kinda zoned out into the screen and stopped paying attention. And before I knew it — BA-GOINK! — it was done. Two Achievements for a measly 45 points and a few thousand more fans and dollars and it was over.

I quickly packed things up, used the restroom (as I ran between songs in the last hour to get a glass of water), made a sandwich, and got in the shower. I didn’t really break a sweat but the hot water somehow (subconsciously) helped my hands feel better. I ran some errands and by then Katy was home and I hadn’t wasted a moment of her free time on stupid Achievement stunts. Romance, intact!

Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.


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