As frequent readers of this blog will know (I’m just going to pretend like I have frequent readers and maybe someday it will come true), I like reviews. I like critiquing and I like listening to the critics. However, I’m about to do something I’ve never done before… I’m going to review a video game.
I’m not into video games. I used to be. I used to play all the time on my Atari 800 when I was a kid. I was playing Mario Brothers WAY before they were ever Super. But as video games developed more intricate storylines and animations that actually looked like what they were supposed to be, I lost interest. I had enough frustrations to fill my time without trying to get past level 12 of King Gormagonzola.
When I started dating my now husband, I remember being amazed at the quality of the video games he was playing on his PS2. It was a far cry from the last game I played, which was Tetris, on a black and white and green Gameboy. But I still wasn’t interested in video games.
Then this game called Guitar Hero came out. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a legitimate way to learn how to play the guitar. Then I found out the controllers were plastic and I was disappointed. But when my husband and I happened upon a demo of the game at an electronics store, a funny thing happened. We sat down to play together and I BEAT THE PANTS OFF OF HIM. I was elated. I’d never beaten him at a video game before, and I didn’t just beat him, I CREAMED him. I was an immediate Guitar Hero savant. (A few months later when I saw a shirt at Hot Topic that said “I beat my boyfriend at Guitar Hero” I knew I was part of an international phenomenon.)
So I took an interest in Guitar Hero and the subsequent Rock Band series. It was often frustrating because there were some awful songs you had to play to get to the good songs. And while my years of music education allow me to keep one step ahead of my husband now matter how hard he tries, this video game, like all others, ceased to keep my attention.
Oh but lookout. On 09/09/09 something glorious happened. Someone somewhere made a pact with the Devil and Paul McCartney, and BEATLES: ROCK BAND was released to the generations upon never-ending generations of Beatles fans, sure to rake in mountains of cash. They got my money right away.
I played the entire game over the better part of five hours. It was well-made and accurate enough to please any true Beatles fan, intimate with every detail of their career. Playing a song well allows you to unlock Beatles photographs, and before songs there is Beatle chatter from between studio takes. Unlike the other games, you don’t have to concern yourself with building an avatar and picking a guitar, because you are playing as the Beatles, with their clothes and their guitars. And there are no bad songs to push through….Okay that’s not true. The last section of the game is the Beatles Rooftop Concert and those are mostly songs from Let It Be which was just an unfortunate misstep of an album. But for the love of all things Beatle, I can’t understand why Dig A Pony would make any first-string cut. I’m pretty sure John Lennon didn’t even like that song.
But it’s a good game. I haven’t been back to play it since my initial triumph, but at some point I’m sure I’ll test out the drum parts, and on this particular game, unlike any of the other games, you can have multiple singers so that you can sing all the intricate Beatles’ harmony parts, and probably – I’m just guessing here – fail. It will definitely be the first game I pull out at my next party or gathering. But it’s still just a videogame and it will never have the strangle hold on my attention that just listening to music does.