TR-REc

Drum machine manufacturer offers a more sensible take on Guitar Hero

TR-REC is basically Guitar Hero by another name, and it seems unlikely that any of the parties involved could object too strenuously to this characterization. The game is an exercise in conflating genres and media forms.

The self-described “pattern sequencing game” is made by Roland, a company more commonly known for its synthesizers, production tools, and drum machines. TR-REC is a digital facsimile of the latter, asking you to tap out a variety of sick-adjacent beats. This, in the digital world, might also be called drumming. Beat sequences are denoted using scrolling dots on the screen of your iPhone or Android device. Points are awarded for accuracy. As the game progresses, the beats become faster and more complicated. (Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before.) By the by, Roland makes an instrument known as the “TR-8 Rhythm Performer,” which has basically the same interface as TR-REC. Go figure.

Being good at TR-REC does not make you a beatmaster

What is TR-REC? A game? A promotional tie-in? A tutorial? A veritable drum machine? All of the above, I suppose, and this isn’t necessarily the worst of things. The game reflects the now-decade-long convergence between games about music and the act of making music they seek to depict. The two are not yet one and the same, mind you. Being good at TR-REC does not make you a beatmaster, much as Guitar Hero expertise is not really the universe’s way of telling you that you are the artist soon to be known as Prince, but these two realms aren’t entirely unrelated.

Indeed, the parallel is clearer in TR-REC, where the game shares more interface elements with the actual instrumentation than Guitar Hero. Some of that surely has to do with Roland’s involvement with the game, but that is not a sufficient explanation. The sort of simplifying and reliance on buttons that music games typically require is less suited to a guitar—see Guitar Hero’s awkward implement—than digital drumming. In that respect, TR-REC, promotional tie-in though it may well be, is actually quite sensible.

Find out more about TR-REC, including where to download it, on its website.