I’ll admit it. I own Guitar Hero for my XBOX 360. Yes, I have jammed on the garage door (via my XBOX 360 hooked up to a projector) with my neighbor. Yes, it was fun. Yes, I own a real guitar. No, I cannot play it. Do I think these guitar game controllers will make me a rock star? No. They are just plain fun. I have been looking at RockBand to supplement my virtual rock stardom with the included drum set, but at a costs of $170, I have been not willing to oblige. Well, I was over at my neighbors house and he has RockBand. It comes with a guitar controller, which has very nice action and feel, a microphone and the drum pads. I have to say, it is pretty cool, but if only the drums could be purchased separately. Looking on the ‘Net, it looks like MadCatz is coming out with a stand alone drum controller ‘first half of 2008’, so I guess I’ll have to wait, but although, another guitar would be sweet so I can play head to head with neighbors (I don’t do online gaming).

But is that all you can do with the drums? It is said finishing the game on the Expert level should enable you to pound out a good beat on real drums. However, what if you just want to have fun, or to expose your children to musical instruments without incurring the hefty cost of the instrument or instruction? It just so happens that there is an application called Drum Machine which allows you to plug your RockBand drum set into a Windows PC and play it like real drums!

You can map new sounds to the drum pads and jam away. Now you have a dual purpose controller: one for gaming, and one for learning. Plug the drums into your game console and hit the notes a-la DDR style, then plug it into your computer create your own beats. And yes, it really does work! We loaded the application up on my neighbors laptop, plugged in the drums, and his kids started pounding away with all the freedom they could wish for.

Looks like I will have to pick one up sometime. I’m sure my daughter will have a blast with it.