Hooked Up – Rock Band Stage Kit

Article

posted 9/18/2009 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
Platforms: 360 AV
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 
Company PDP
Product Rock Band Stage Kit
Price $79.99
Product Website www.PDP.com


Impressions
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.

Pros Cons
Fun Pricey
Ease of Use Lighting can wash out
Official RB Accy.  

Gaming Impact
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 Skinny
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, Walmart and Amazon.com for an approximate price of $49.99 - $99.99.


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