JamLegend – Rock Band Online…and Social

[[innerindex]]JamLegend
Wow. Its all I could say when Adam sent me an invite to JamLegend – a Guitar Hero-esque game that is a pleasant mix of playability, art, and social interaction. I wasn’t expecting much when I got the invite, but as soon as I played through my first song, I was blown away.

The site isn’t allowing open registration at the moment, but you can get on a waiting list…but you can get around some aspects of the waiting list as stated by the JamLegend FAQs:

JamLegend is currently in invitation-only beta. We will be letting people into the site on a first-come, first-served waiting list.

If you really want to get an invite, twitter “@JamLegend I want http://www.JamLegend.com” or become a fan on Facebook. We will randomly send out invites to users who twitter or are fans.

You could also ask your friends to see if they have any invite codes.

The beta will end once we work out some kinks.

JamLegend

How It Works

JamLegend is a Flash game with the number keys 1-5 (and function keys F1-F5) bound to their corresponding positions on the fret board. Like Guitar Hero, dots approach the bottom in time with the music and you must hold the appropriate number(s) in and strum. How? With the Enter key, of course!

You have two primary modes of play: Jam Style and Chill Style…shown here:

JamLegend

Playing the game can be odd depending on your keyboard. If you have a beefy enough keyboard where the function keys are evenly spaced (unlike one of my keyboards) you shouldn’t have much trouble with Jam Style.

My favorite method for play, however, has been using my Wii Guitar on my Mac thanks to DarwiinRemote. :D

The Music

The site’s slogan is “The free way to play the songs you love” is a little misleading. JamLegend is a new site with a small user base at the moment and little buy-in from big name stars. So…the appropriate slogan for now is “The free way to play the songs you will soon love because this site is freaking awesome”.

Are the songs bad? Definitely no. I hadn’t heard of any of the bands prior to playing around with JamLegend. Am I bummed that the songs aren’t from my favorite bands? No…I actually like a number of the artists. Blue Judy being one of my favorites – an Indie Rock Band from LA – and Double Stamp – another Indie Rock Band from Claremont, CA.

JamLegend does a nifty job displaying the songs that are currently popular (although this feature will become better as the user base grows), as well as bubbling new songs in front of your face. In addition to listing top songs, you can search and browse the site for specific genres, artists, and songs. Good times!

JamLegend

The Social Side

Similar to the Guitar Hero stat site that came with Guitar Hero III, JamLegend lists your bests, averages, global rankings, etc. You can add friends, challenge them to duels, or have massive guitar showdowns with large numbers of players. As an additional cool thing, you can earn groupies by completing Achievements. Groupies serve no real purpose at this time save for bragging rights but in the future that may change!

Where Its Heading

In its current state, JamLegend is a pretty ballsy free web application. There are some things coming down the pipe, however, that will make it that much cooler.

Music: If adoption of this game picks up, we could very easily see some larger named bands put their music out for play. Heck, the All American Rejects song Gives You Hell is pending track creation. Awesome.

More Instruments: JamLegend claims they are working on additional playable instruments! They are planning on adding keyboard, drums, bass, and (due to popular request)… cowbell.

Thoughts

This game will very easily become my mobile Guitar Hero fix (and soon to be Rock Band fix once the new instruments are implemented). The JamLegend site is gorgeous. The game is very well implemented. The music is good. I <3 it.