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NEW GAMES PUT USERS IN MUSIC, MUSIC INDUSTRY
Shower to Remove Weasel Grease Not Included

For those who think the music business is a game, this story's for you. All six of you.

First up is "Rock Manager," coming next May, a PC-based game that its scriptwriter says was inspired by rock movies like Almost Famous and This Is Spinal Tap. The game allows players to act as managers by recruiting band members, recording albums, and, hopefully, having hits. Cartoon-style wannabe musician characters include a shy musical genius with no charisma and a gangster's prima donna daughter. Per Stromback—yes, that's his real name—says, "We've created a game where you can spend ridiculous amounts of cash on overseas flights, expensive champagne and gorgeous groupies. This is the kind of game that will allow you to record crap music and top the charts with no effort. Rock Manager is a game that exploits the rock & roll fantasy and myth of what it's like to be a rock star." Just playing the game will make most users hated by anyone within earshot.

More exciting, and less sleazy, is a new interactive music program called "MusicPlayground." Using plug-and-play USB peripherals, MusicPlayground allows users to plug in virtual instruments into their computers and jam along with songs "popularized" by Three Doors Down, Barenaked Ladies, Doobie Brothers, Pat Benetar and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others. This means your loser cousin can play "Free Bird" somewhere other than a guitar store. Lyrics are superimposed on top of video/animation for a "total entertainment experience." MusicPlayground includes a CD and direct access to the company's still-growing jukebox of licensed songs. Here's a quote from someone who knows a lot about jamming along, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx: "There's never been anything like MusicPlayground before. It is the only way for fans to get as close as possible to their favorite music and enjoy the same experience as the actual band members. Unless of course they were enjoying the actual band members' members, if you know what I mean."

And finally, Sony is issuing "Frequency," a remix game for its Playstation 2 console. Artists included on the game are No Doubt, Jungle Brothers, BT, The Crystal Method, Roni Size, Fear Factory, Pat Boone and 11 others. OK, the Pat Boone part was a joke. Starting with one instrument, players must hit the appropriate buttons at the time in order to match the rhythm of the song, once the instrument is mastered, players move on the next one. After players master all the instruments, they demand an acting career.

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