Our kids received a PlayStation 3 console for Christmas this year (OK, the end of last year), along with a small collection of games to get them started. They’re longtime PlayStation 2 veterans, but it had gotten to the point where the new games weren’t available to them anymore. So, an upgrade was in order.
One of the starter games I lobbied for, was Beatles Rock Band. And we ended up going over-the-top with it, and getting them the Paul McCartney violin bass, the Ringo drum kit, and the whole nine yards. It cost a ridiculous amount of money, but that’s the reason for the season, right? …Hello?
And during the first few days, the game received a decent workout. They played along with the great old songs, and the animation was amazingly good. It actually looked like the Beatles on the screen, and not like… oh I don’t know, Pat Morita? It was a lot of fun, and it felt like we’d hit a home run with the gift.
But now, a few months later, I’m forced to revise my original assessment. Cobwebs have formed between the bass and drums, and (as far as I know) the disc hasn’t been out of its case since the middle of January. It’s kinda disappointing, if you want to know the truth.
I’m shocked, shocked I tell ya, that our kids didn’t take to their father’s rock band, which is old enough to be their grandfather’s rock band (if their grandfather wasn’t a Conway Twitty man). Who could’ve predicted such a thing?
So why did they lose interest so quickly? I needed to know, and started paying attention to the games they didn’t abandon. I also engaged in a little extra eavesdropping on conversations between them and their friends, to try to get my fingers on the pulse of the Middle School-aged boy, and their gaming preferences.
And now I’m prepared to file a report.
Below are eight quick recommendations to make the next edition of Beatles Rock Band more appealing to fourteen year old boys, based on the findings of my investigation. And if you have others, please leave them in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
- Paul McCartney is exposed to nuclear fallout during the wartime bombing of a futuristic London, and mutates into a giant lizard-like creature with pincers for hands. He wanders the streets of a city in ruins, savagely mutilating anything – or anyone – in his path. It’s up to his bandmates to stop the Paul-creature, and they are conflicted between warm feelings for their old friend, and the horror of what he’s become. At a pivotal moment in the action, George Harrison screams, “It’s no longer Paulie, mates! Paul. Is. Dead.”
- The Beatles are trapped in a sideways world where other British Invasion bands are shooting for the top dogs – quite literally. The Fab Four are forced to fight off violent, armed assaults by Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Dave Clark Five, and others. The action takes place in more than twenty global cities. And as an added bonus Donovan is roasted alive, via flamethrower, during every extended playing session.
- A pissed-off John Lennon returns from the grave, following his murder in New York City, with a mission: move the remaining Beatles (along with George Martin) to the “other side,” so they can work together one last time — to avenge his senseless death. The early quests are bittersweet affairs, especially when the lovable Ringo is jettisoned, but the bloody revenge rendered later has the potential to be very satisfying indeed. Yoko Ono, Mark David Chapman, J.D. Salinger, Richard Nixon, and Stephen King make appearances in this edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a game.
- Brian Epstein is an effeminate but tough fortune hunter in the jungles of Africa, and the Beatles are his crew. They encounter many terrifying challenges along the way, including a herd of giant gorillas, an army of blow dart- wielding headhunters (one of whom carries a walking stick with what appears to be Charlie Watts’ noggin on the top), and a shady group of Nehru jacket-wearing Indian “spiritual leaders,” who are trying to reach the treasure first.
- The Beatles (plus Billy Preston) are pitted against the greatest basketball teams in the history of the NBA. Watch mind-blowing, heart-pounding matchups such as Michael Jordan vs. Ringo Starr (with cig), Wilt Chamberlain battling the always-resourceful Paul McCartney, and George Harrison defending against the mythical Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “sky hook.” Billy Preston can be replaced by George Martin, Neil Aspinall, or Stu Sutcliffe.
- The Beatles are sent hurtling, inside a tiny space capsule, to the farthest reaches of the solar system by “the bad Bob Dylan,” who has developed the ability to slip in and out of a parallel dimension. Eventually they crash-land on a fantastic planet populated by dragons, gnomes, wizards, and “thunderhawks.” In addition to the nonstop fantasy-action on their unnamed planet, the bad Bob Dylan can show up at any time to wreak further havoc. On advanced levels, BBD is accompanied by the terrifying Mondo Sullivan.
- Still reeling from his unexplained firing in 1962, original Beatles drummer Pete Best is unstable and angry on the mean streets of Los Angeles. There, he commits car-jackings, liquor store robberies, and assault. His ultimate quest: to steal the Beatles’ master tapes from Blanket Jackson, and hold them ransom. “That bastard McCartney” will surely pay top-dollar for the safe return of the booty, Pete knows. But first, he’ll have to get past vicious street gangs, the LAPD, and Blanket’s estimable security forces.
- Same as the regular Beatles Rock Band, but with tits.
And those are my eight quick recommendations to make Beatles Rock Band more appealing to the Middle School-aged boy. I’d appreciate your input as well; it’s very important that we save this gaming franchise! Please use the comments section below.
And I’ll see you guys next time.