The Beatles: Rock Band may be the best thing we’ve ever seen
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know all about the video game phenomenon that is Guitar Hero and Rock Band. One day, when I have the pleasure of nostalgically gazing into my youth, I myself will no doubt conjure such images of late night drum-and-wail sessions with friends to “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. But when news broke last year that the pioneers behind the Rock Band franchise were actually going to try and destroy the legacy of The Beatles’ music by turning their saga and catalog into a video game, a little part of me broke inside. However, as months passed and more news came that the surviving Beatles (McCartney, Starr) as well as the families of Lennon and Harrison were not only on board, but involved, I began to give a little. After all, I’d be the biggest liar in history if I said I’d never dreamt of the moment when I’d get to belt out “Paperback Writer,” even if only in a digital, make-believe world.
Now only a few months from its release on 09.09.2009, those of us who have been waiting with bated breath (and scathing criticisms at the ready) have some tangible material to judge. The gameplay trailer was released a few weeks ago, demonstrating what makers had promised–a comprehensive chronicling of the band’s history from the underground clubs of Liverpool to their fully-fledged British Invasion of America to the later, more acid-y goodness of the late 60s. (There’s even a quick glimpse of the band’s historic rooftop performance on the Apple Studios.) The historic scenes look vividly accurate, and the recreations of the Fab Four somehow exhibit realism while also recalling an uncanny likeness to their Saturday morning cartoon selves. All in all, I’m ready to place mine on pre-order. Immediately.
But the real kicker for me was the recently released cinematic trailer which will open the game. It, too, captures the whole of the Beatles’ career, but the artwork, done in a vaguely Japanese-anime and Surrealist style, is simply breathtaking.
I cannot say anything at all except that I take all my initial sentiments back. By the looks of it, the People In Charge took their assignment with the same weight of the legacy they were handling. And, sure, it is a video game, but I can’t help thinking that if all four were still around, they’d dig it, too.
The Beatles: Rock Band setlist [from thebeatlesrockband.com]:
From “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “Get Back,” every song in “The Beatles: Rock Band” comes directly from the Abbey Road master tapes. The song list spans the length of The Beatles’ career, including:
- I SAW HER STANDING THERE
- I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
- I FEEL FINE
- DAY TRIPPER
- I AM THE WALRUS
- BACK IN THE U.S.S.R.
- OCTOPUS’S GARDEN
- HERE COMES THE SUN
- GET BACK
- and more…