Let’s Go Retro – 2008: Rock Band

Let's Go Retro

Singing into hairbrushes and playing the most awesome air guitar became somewhat outdated when a game that introduced rock to the world of gaming arrived.

In this week’s Let’s Go Retro we head back to 2008 and pay homage to Rock Band.Rock Band

What: Rock Band

Type: Music video game

Developed by: Harmonix Music Systems

For: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Wii

When: 12 September 2008

Developers Harmonix struck gold when it created a game which allowed up to four people to simulate the performance of rock songs with controllers modelled on musical instruments.

Players could take on the role of lead or bass guitar, drums or vocals and rack up points on their ability to match the scrolling musical notes on-screen using the instruments, or the singer’s pitch on vocals.

Rock Band Bundle

Rock Band’s gameplay and on-screen interface combined elements from the already established Guitar Hero series and Karaoke Revolution, and expanded on them to incorporate space for a full four-piece band.

The game had three tracks of vertically scrolling coloured music notes – one section each for lead guitar, drums and bass, and a horizontal scrolling bar of lyrics and pitch for the vocals.

Players had to press the corresponding coloured button or drum head in time with the music, and match the pitch in order to score points and pass the song successfully.

Rock Band Gameplay

Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions offered online and offline capabilities, and in addition to the 58 core songs on the game disc, over 2000 downloadable tracks were available.

Sold in either a bundle with the instruments or separately, Rock Band received widespread critical acclaim and reached sales of more than four million.

Spawning five sequels including The Beatles: Rock Band and Lego Rock Band, players have collectively made more than 100 million downloadable song purchases since the game’s original release – rock ‘n’ roll.

So that’s the tech, what else did 2008 have to offer?

The leap year saw the start of some pretty epic series both on the big and small screens. In the movie world, 2008 brought us the first Twilight and Iron Man installments, while television saw the beginning of Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and The Inbetweeners.


The charts were dominated by the divas as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Girls Aloud all gained the top spot crown. But before we take a bow, here are some of the other notable events from 2008:

February 24 – The 80th Academy Awards took place, hosted by Jon Stewart. Best Picture went to No Country for Old Men

August 8 – The 2008 Summer Olympics began in Beijing, China

August 17 – Michael Phelps surpassed Mark Spitz in gold medals won at a single Olympics, winning eight

December 21 – Alexandra Burke scored the UK Christmas number one with ‘Hallelujah’