Mock and Roll

Why Rock Band, one of the season's hottest video games, is about more than faking the funk

Jonathan Saunders for TIME

Three Brooklyn teens rock out with instruments from MTVs Rock Band .

Rock Band is a video game that comes in a box the size of a large cat carrier or a small steamer trunk. This is because along with the usual game disc, Rock Band comes with a collection of plastic musical instruments: a guitar, a drum kit and a bass (which looks exactly like the guitar), plus a microphone for vocals. Using these "instruments," you pretend to play along to songs by Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, Metallica, Radiohead, R.E.M. and so on. You're not actually playing--the instruments don't make any noise. The fun is real, but everything else is fake.

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