‘The Beatles: Rock Band’

Andie Hutner | Game Review
Courtesy of The Beatles Rockband

Courtesy of The Beatles Rockband

Last year, I often found myself wandering into my floor common room or one of my friends’ rooms to the sound of furious drumming and slightly off-key singing. Unfortunately, no one was trying to start a legitimate dorm-room garage-rock band, but another type of band was being formed—a “Rock Band” band. This video game took over many hours of my friends’ free time, but I never found myself getting in on the fun. I found it a little bit difficult to strum around on a song that I had never heard before, which, sadly, fit the criteria for most of the “Rock Band” songs. And then, on Sept. 9 of this year, everything changed.

On that glorious day, “The Beatles: Rock Band” was released. When I walked toward my friend’s suite after class, I heard the usual sounds of loud singing coupled with a pounding beat. But oddly enough, it was a song I recognized. It was a Beatles song. When I walked in and asked to sing “Can’t Buy Me Love,” it was heavenly. I instantly fell in love with the game.

“Beatles” isn’t much different from regular “Rock Band,” but I like it much better. It features 45 songs that represent a chronological summary of The Beatles’ catalogue. Like regular “Rock Band,” you play certain songs in different venues, but in this version, you start on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and end up on the famous rooftop. The Beatles songs are much easier to play than songs from the regular game: Playing drums for “A Hard Day’s Night” on expert would probably have been less than medium difficulty in the normal version. The Beatles sing along in the background, and whenever the singer hits a particularly good streak of notes, the word “fab” flashes on the screen. No one boos at you if you happen to fail, making “Beatles” a much larger ego booster than the regular version.

The best part about the game, however, does not really have to do with how it was programmed. “Beatles” is a loving tribute to a band that helped shape the American musical culture. It’s usually hard to find someone to hold the microphone when getting a “Rock Band” band together, but in this version, people are fighting to sing. Whether bopping around to an upbeat song like “Twist and Shout,” connecting emotionally with “Something,” putting a smile on everyone’s face with “Here Comes the Sun” or slowly changing the world with “Revolution,” the game lets you the join in on the timeless Beatles experience.

The game’s biggest flaw is that with only 45 songs, it may start to get repetitive if you play it as much as I do. Luckily, within the next few months, entire albums will become downloadable. “Abbey Road” will become the first completed album, and it will be released in mid-October. The limited number of songs, however, probably will not be an issue. You can play guitar, bass, drums or vocals on four levels of difficulty. And because these songs are so classic, they just don’t become stale. The Beatles are one of the world’s most influential bands, and they just aren’t going to go away. This video game will certainly help to keep The Beatles current in American society. Not that they needed any.

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