Random Encounters #1: The danceable wasteland…

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov (1887).

Random Encounters is like a “What if?” segment with sprites, a feature examining the bizarre possibilities and alternate universes of our videogaming world.

We open on a scarred desert landscape. The wind whips up a choking cloud of thirsty dust and swirls it around and around in the light of the hangdog sun. The grains linger a while, hunting the air for a fully-opened eye or a pristine dress, then dissipate, leaving behind a sadistic tableau. A thin-faced fellow lies curled upon the ground, one socket shut and sinking under a lakelet of congealing blood. His body looks a vicious modern art canvas, a joint production of Jackson Pollock and Jeffrey Dahmer. Two figures loom over, clad in dingy, unraveling band shirts, the logos of Metallica and Motörhead masked by feathered football pads and studded leather. Motionless arms, taut with muscles, poised in raging profile, forecast their further plans, a maple wood Louisville or a rusted tire iron held high in anticipation.

This lunatic and post-apocalyptic display – every bit Mad Max and The Hills Have Eyes in its proportions – comes to you courtesy of the burgeoning DLC war. You’ve just witnessed a thread from the official Rock Band forums. Apparently, the chap in the fetal position had the gall to ask for more Paramore tracks. In the savage country presented here, that’s a capital crime, and Lady Justice needs her sick kicks.

Surely I’m not the only one who foresees this chaos. With all the aggression and intolerance and general madness going on about DLC in rhythm games, what end is there other than a bucket of full-blown anarchy spilling into the real world, sects of rabid fanboys and steely-eyed elitists piling into their mothers’ minivans and roaming the earth, launching gory crusades of arson virtual and literal in the name of the Almighty Frampton or Messiah Mothersbaugh?

And now a supremely shocking fact: more than 200 downloadable Rock Band tracks have amassed in the wings, ready to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting 2008. I ask you: can’t you glimpse the impending mania?

I, for one, will purchase every single, solitary piece of content, so as to fully placate the bands of madmen and murderers in Band Quickplay. Also I’ll be stockpiling gasoline and polishing my Pursuit Special. Just in case.