Anyone who’s seen me flail at Guitar Hero understands – even encourages – my reticence to play Rock Band. In spite of my enthusiasm, intense concentration and true desire to rock out, I once performed so poorly that a kind friend suggested to the room that “perhaps the signal isn’t getting through.” That, combined with the overt disappointment and head-shaking from the animated characters on-screen, put me off the game. I must say, however, that for the opportunity to play some Beatles Rock Band, I would again risk such embarrassment.
Scheduled for release on September 9th (9/9/9 — think any Virgin Mary-on-my-toast people will flip those numbers over?), Beatles Rock Band will be the first band-branded title. Ten songs will be available upon the game’s release, with an additional 35 songs added over time.
If you can get past the creepy animated likenesses, The Beatles: Rock Band promises to be both experiential and educational. The Beatles are known for their vast and varied catalogue, and Rock Band honors that diversity both in the playlist and gameplay, through a virtual tour of the band’s eras and styles. The interactive gaming platform is a great choice for highlighting this diversity and depth, and the roll-out smartly coincides with the band’s digitally remastered discography release, giving fans multiple ways to experience and share the music.
According to Daily Telegraph Music Critic Neil McCormick, the Beatles historically have been reluctant to release music digitally. “Odd thing for such an innovative band,” McCormick writes. But enter the digital world they have, and the move is significant not just for the band, but for the Rock Band franchise (for which the title will prove a welcome alternative to much of the Nu Metal that’s currently offered), and for gaming, which continues its evolution toward broader and older audiences.
Rock Band can at once reinvigorate existing fans’ love of The Beatles, provide new ways to experience the band’s story and music, and engage a new generation of fans. Playing the game with special edition Replica Beatles Instruments might help with this, too. And for the struggling music industry, The Beatles’ leap positions gaming as a credible medium through which artists past and present can release and re-release their music.
The question I ask now is, who’s next? The Rolling Stones? Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band? For whom else will I willingly flail?
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