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Rockblocked! - Suit up, son! You're going to Mars! [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Suit up, son! You're going to Mars!

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Rockblocked! [Feb. 21st, 2008|01:14 am]
Suit up, son! You're going to Mars!
So there I was at the Valve party at GDC. Jonathan Coulton—the featured entertainment—is ready to play the last song of his short set. Everyone there knows the song is going to be "Still Alive," the ending song from Valve's game Portal, which has just swept the Game Developers' Choice Awards earlier in the evening. What quickly becomes apparant is that he's actually going to play the singing part of Rock Band, for which "Still Alive" has been created as a level. Various members of Harmonix join him on stage to play the guitar, bass and drum parts.

The Rock Band-ized version of the song is received with cheers. The entire audience sings along. JoCo and his faux band earn five stars in the game, and cries of appreciation from their real life fans.

The set ends, and musicians real and fake alike start packing their gear. That's when I start thinking: "Still Alive" is an unpublished Rock Band song, stored on an XBox 360 on the stage. I've had a few beers on an empty stomach. And for various reasons (all nerdy), I am carrying around an XBox 360 memory unit (MU) on my keychain. I come to the obvious conclusion.

As I step onto the stage—it's only a foot or two high—I have a brief moment of awkward eye contact with Jonathan Coulton. He seems taken aback, perhaps because I am crashing the stage, or perhaps because I am walking past him, the obvious celebrity, to talk to Alex, the "drummer" who also happens to be CEO of Harmonix.

I ask Alex whether I can take a copy of the song, and after applying some convoluted beer-augmented logic to his answer, I decide I can. I put my MU into the Xbox and power it up. I'm just at the point of selecting "copy" when another Harmonix guy sees what I'm doing and yanks the controller out of my hand. There's a tense moment where it seems like he's going to confiscate my MU permanantly, and he doesn't give it back until he's had a chance to put it back in the console and check it for contraband. I leave the stage red-faced and red-handed. The party seems to have taken no notice of these events.

Later at that same party, I bump into that guy who busted me. Introducing myself, I apologize for being such a troublemaker, and thank him for giving me something more valuable than a Rock Band song: a good story. It turns out that the song wouldn't have worked on a retail kit anyway, and I suspect that a retail version will be available for purchase in the future.

Disclaimer: Don't try this at home, kids. The only reason I did is because I am an acquaintance of Alex as well as good friends with several Harmonix folks, and game industry friends give each other free swag all the time. Remember, making an unauthorized copy of copyrighted material is theft.

Epilogue

Yet later, I bump into Jonathan Coulton on his way out, apologize for crashing the stage, and amuse him with my Memory Unit story. I also compliment him for his recording of "Famous Blue Raincoat," and we briefly discuss our mutual admiration of that song.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: nothings
2008-02-21 12:04 pm (UTC)
I suspect that a retail version will be available for purchase in the future.

Actually, old news: http://www.joystiq.com/2008/02/14/rumor-cracked-rock-band-dlc-reveals-future-songs/
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[User Picture]From: jdbakermn
2008-02-21 03:41 pm (UTC)
okay, that's a really cool story. :)
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[User Picture]From: shaggy_man
2008-02-21 04:35 pm (UTC)
You absolutely, positively had a more interesting evening than I.
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[User Picture]From: countertorque
2008-02-21 09:21 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks for trying! I probably wouldn't have the guts. But, I guess that's what the beer is for.
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From: owlboy
2008-02-23 06:07 am (UTC)
wow, that takes some serious inebriation to try that :).
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[User Picture]From: algorithmancy
2008-02-23 05:53 pm (UTC)
See the disclaimer I just added.
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[User Picture]From: graphemes
2008-02-25 05:28 pm (UTC)

Disclaimer: Don't try this at home, kids. The only reason I did is because I am an acquaintance of Alex as well as good friends with several Harmonix folks, and game industry friends give each other free swag all the time. Remember, making an unauthorized copy of copyrighted material is theft.

What's exceptionally inane about this whole thing is that you act like because you're friends with several Harmonix folks, you assume you can steal from them. I work for a game developer, and I assure you . . . if any of my friends tried to steal from my company, they wouldn't be my friends anymore. You should be ashamed of using your friendships like that. You seem to have a giant sense of self entitlement. This is probably why you'll never have a job for a Game developer. No one likes a thief, especially in a business where people have to work so hard to protect IP.
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From: xivspew
2008-02-25 05:37 pm (UTC)
You should be ashamed of being such an anal douche about trying to score Still Alive for the public. You're in the very, very distinct minority here.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-02-25 09:14 pm (UTC)
If the people at the party weren't overly concerned about it, then why the should you be? Quit being a wang.
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[User Picture]From: kirisutogomen
2008-04-02 07:36 pm (UTC)
You tell him, girl.

algorithmancy, your dreams of working in the game industry have been crushed.
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From: xivspew
2008-02-25 05:35 pm (UTC)
It's awesome when you get a story from 2 different angles like this:

http://kotaku.com/360423/drunk-guy-tries-to-steal-portal-song-at-valve-party

the internet is fun!
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[User Picture]From: xanderphydeaux
2008-02-25 06:02 pm (UTC)
I am absolutely shocked that they didn't escort you out immediately by your pant leg. They would've been well within rights to do so.

How does this even come close to being recognized as an okay thing to do, morally?
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-02-25 07:38 pm (UTC)

humm...

This experience should teach you something. Public embarrassment may be really helpful :D

Don't try again. And don't undelete the files.
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[User Picture]From: mp3_4_free
2008-02-25 07:59 pm (UTC)
That's just plain greedy. There have been times where you could just share data with each other, nowadays you have to pay for every new content extra. And that sucks.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-02-25 09:22 pm (UTC)

I AM NOT AXXO

This is a funny post - I think that's all it's meant to be. A funny post about being drunk and doing something stupid and funny. That is all. So could the poo-pooers give it a rest. Look at it this way. If he knows the song Still Alive he's more than likely bought a copy of Portal one way or another - so that is paid for. If he wants to play it on Rockband - then he's bought a copy of Rockband with it's overpriced plastic peripherals - he knows that, he's happy with it and willing to pay to play the game. So why does he have to pay again for the same song to play on a game he's already paid for? I mean, he's obviously evil, but he hasn't quite reached Hitler levels yet, has he? And if I find out that he theived Rockband and the Orange Box, well, then he can go reproduce with some water fowl.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-02-26 01:47 am (UTC)

Re: I AM NOT AXXO

He did probably pay for Portal, but did he pay for 16 note charts across 4 instruments and difficulties? No.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-02-26 04:33 am (UTC)
u loser
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-02-26 10:00 am (UTC)

Yess

You sir are the man! Good effort..
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-05-11 08:37 am (UTC)

Cool quote


What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!


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