I don't know when it began.
It had to have been sometime in early 2011 when I discovered Matt "Chainsaw" Chaney's catchy, pastry-inspired ditty from 'Splosion Man was available on the Rock Band network. "Donuts, Go Nuts" had found some novelty popularity in my house, particularly by my children, for its repetitious ukulele riffs and references to a wide variety of donut-like goodies. For several days early that year, we all walked around the house singing, whistling, humming the tune. I'm sure I played it a couple of times in Rock Band 2 or something. And then at some point I forgot about it...
Enter Rock Band: Blitz.
Harmonix's latest offering is a low-key take on the burnt out plastic instrument genre, but with a heavy dose of leaderboards and quite public mockery of friends (also known as "pathetic losers" who have "no chance in hell" of beating "my epic high score"). Fully couch-playable with just a simple gamepad controller, Blitz imports your old Rock Band tracks into a new--but old-school--rhythm game format. There is also an optimization component, with players choosing from a variety of power ups to increase their scores in different ways.
But it didn't really catch on for me initially. Sure, I enjoyed getting some use out of the few Rock Band tracks I had downloaded in years past. It was nice to take a break from Skyrim and a couple of shooters I had been playing for months now. And the graphic design was nice. But I didn't really get hooked.
Then I saw "Donuts, Go Nuts."
"Cool," I thought. "Let's see how this one plays."
I did okay, initially. I think my first score was somewhere around 80,000, which probably put me in the top 100 on the leaderboards. No biggie.
"That seemed like a pretty simple song," I thought. "I bet I could do better."
Sure enough, the next time around, I placed at #15. FIFTEEN. In the WORLD. I've never been that highly ranked at anything. Ever. Forget how many people have actually attempted the song. Forget how easy or straightforward the melody may be. Forget that there is not even a piano part. Toss all of that crap out the window because goddammit I WAS FIFTEENTH ON A LEADERBOARD FOR A VIDEO GAME.
"I could totally get to Number One."
That was three days ago. I am currently ranked sixth in the world at "Donuts, Go Nuts" on Rock Band: Blitz.
I have probably logged a good six or seven hours just playing that one song.
When I turn on the XBox, my family leaves the room.
My three-year-old can now recite the lyrics from beginning to end. (Yes, even the part about croquembouches. I don't even know what those are.)
It's Friday. And all I can think about is playing more Rock Band: Blitz, singing along with Chainsaw into the wee hours of the morning, crushing my controller when I fail to break the high score...
...and maybe, just maybe, reaching that Number One spot.