The Beatles broke up years before I was born, but I know their songs and music as well as, and in many cases better, those of the then-contemporary musicians I followed in the ’90s. Not only is my dad is a longtime fan, but seeing Yellow Submarine on TV when I was about five and hearing their songs on the radio left an impression on me. Somehow, we got old LP copies of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour when I was in high school. In college, I dubbed a friend’s copies of Abbey Road and Let It Be. Post graduation, it was Revolver, Rubber Soul, and The Beatles (aka the “White Album”).
In short, I love the Beatles.
I’d heard about The Beatles: Rock Band some time before seeing Microsoft’s E3 press conference earlier this year, but it wasn’t until that presentation—and especially that stunning opening animation—that I got excited for it. The game came out yesterday, along with the remastered versions of all their albums, and I’ve got to say… I’m not so excited anymore.
Though I’ve long liked rhythm games, I’ve never played Guitar Hero or Rock Band. In fact, the only rhythm game I’ve ever played that involved real instrument simulation was Samba de Amigo on the Dreamcast, and I even hunted down a used set of the official maracas to supplement it. Guitar Hero and especially Rock Band are very cool ideas, but if I want to enjoy music, I’ll just listen to it, maybe even sing along. If I got one of those games, I’d be most afraid of the peripherals gathering dust, like my real guitar and keyboard tend to do these days. (Yes, I’ve long been musically-inclined, but I’m not one of those Luddites who believes that everyone who enjoys Guitar Hero and their ilk should pick up a real axe instead. Playing a game about music and actually performing it are two very different things.)
The main thing that interested me about The Beatles: Rock Band anyway was the singing bits, since I love to sing along with the songs (when no one else is around, of course. I don’t have much of a singing voice). However, I was never all that big on karaoke, which this game would essentially turn into as a result. If I hung out with people on a regular basis that were into the sort of experience Rock Band is made for, then I suppose it would be a worthwhile purchase, but I don’t. In summation, I’m sure The Beatles: Rock Band is an awesome, awesome game if you’re into that sort of thing, but as it stands, I’m happy enough just cranking up the tracks of theirs I’ve got ripped to iTunes and imagining how I would cover “You Won’t See Me” given the chance.
The remasters, on the other hand… hell yeah, I so want those.