Welcome to Hooked Up, the Gaming Nexus series that puts the spotlight on gaming related products that impact the Video Game experience. This week we take a look at Performance Designed Products’ (PDP - Formerly Pelican) Rock Band Stage Kit.
What is it?
The Rock Band Stage Kit is a combo fog machine and led light system designed to enhance Rock Band play by simulating on-stage conditions.
|Product Quick Reference
||Rock Band Stage Kit
When I first starting messing around with the stage kit, I was a bit apprehensive of how much it would add to the gaming experience. After pulling everything out of the box, it was evident that this was designed to be portable and able to be hooked up quickly. Because it has just a few components (LED light unit, fog machine and fog juice) to the kit, it was very simple to hook up. The led light connects via USB to your console and the fog machine plugs into the wall outlet. The LED also connects to the fog machine, which also contains the master controls. Once it’s hooked up, follow the instructions and load the fog machine up with fog liquid (a one-liter jug is included).
After the fog machine is prepped and turned on, just pop in Rock Band and have at it. Because this is an official Rock Band accessory, PDP worked with Harmonix to utilize in-game marks for the LED’s to follow along to the beat of the song. This adds a bit more to the realism of playing your fake instruments, as the fog and lights will be in harmony with the music.
I did my primary testing while my daughter was entertaining some of her friends and playing around on no fail mode in Rock Band 2. After getting a kick out of playing the songs on the various instruments, they absolutely loved the effects that the Stage Kit put out when I added it in. As with most seven-year-old girls with impressionable minds, I heard several Hannah Montana mentions and what it is like when she is on stage.
While the Rock Band Stage kit adds some cool effects to the RB experience, it does have a couple of things to look out for, primarily involving the LED lights. Although the fog machine worked pretty well, but the lighting was not quite a strong as I would have hoped. In order for them to look their best, the room should be almost completely dark and it is probably best to not use a projector. The LEDs will be somewhat diminished by the projector light or any other light source in the room. Still, for $50, this is a solid combination to add to your Rock Band accessory collection if it is within your budget.
|Ease of Use
||Lighting can wash out
|Official RB Accy.
First and foremost, the Rock Band Stage kit should be a hit for those die-hard fans that are crazy about all things Rock Band. Much like adding better drumsticks, microphone or any other accessory, the Stage Kit just makes the ambiance that much better and gets people more into the fun of playing. Personally, I expect the biggest impact of the Rock Band Stage Kit will be for those that are playing host to a group setting. While there may be some that want to go hog wild while playing solo or online because they need to extra effects the smoke and lights provide, this probably isn’t for the solo campaign player.
The Rock Band Stage kit is not for everyone and probably wasn’t designed for your casual or online player. It is best suited to players that host local gatherings where the event is about fun and having a good time. I have some friends and family members that have graduated from having friends over to play cards to having them over for Rock Band parties, and the Stage Kit is right up their alley. While its $49.99 MSRP price tag (and $24.99 for liquid fog refill
may scare off those without disposable income, think of it as a one-time party supply purchase that can be used multiple times each year. Unfortunately, despite its ease to hook up, most people probably aren’t going to have this set up in the game room 24/7 and will bring it out for special events only, which plays into my assessment that it is definitely a great party accessory.
Where to Find/Buy
The Rock Band Stage kit can be purchased at Best Buy
for an approximate price of $49.99 - $99.99.
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I spent the greater part of my informative years glued to the front of a Commodore 64 after we wore out our Intellivision. If you were in the Toledo area surfing C-64 bulletin boards in the mid 80's, we probably have already met. When not running the BBS, I spent countless hours wandering around the streets of Skara Brae, as my life was immersed in The Bard's Tale series on the C-64. After taking the early 90's off from gaming (college years) minus the occasional Bill Walsh College Football on Sega, I was re-introduced to PC games in the mid 1990's with a couple of little games called DOOM II and Diablo. I went all-in with the current generation of consoles, getting an Xbox 360 on launch weekend as well as adding a PS3 and Wii in subsequent years. I now am into the next-gneration (latest?) of consoles with the WiiU and Xbox One. Although I haven't taken the plunge on the PS4 yet, it has my interest peaked, especially as my kids continue to grow and their gaming tastes evolve.
While my byline is on many reviews, articles and countless news stories, I have a passion for and spent the last several years at GamingNexus focusing on audio & video and accessories as they relate to gaming. Having over 20 years of Home Theater consulting and sales under my belt, it is quite enjoyable to spend some of my time viewing gaming through the A/V perspective. While I haven't yet made it to one of the major gaming conventions (PAX or E3), I have represented GamingNexus at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in nine of the last ten years.
I have been a staff member at GamingNexus since 2006 and feel lucky to have the opportunity to put to use my B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University.