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An amateur's guide to 'The Beatles: Rock Band' (and is 'Rock Band' the right move for the Beatles?)

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Raise your hands if you've never played "Rock Band."

(Hand raised)

What might Beatle fans look forward to in "The Beatles: Rock Band" September, based on the "Rock Band" game play in the past?

I asked someone who knows -- my son, Phil, who has played it.

"The point of 'Rock Band' is 'Dance Dance Revolution.' It's like that, but instead of having dance moves, you have beats on a drum or chords on a guitar. There's a wide variety of songs to play and a combination of guitar, bass and vocal team up to accomplish the song."

"If you have four people playing, it feels like you're in a full band, especially if you're on expert (difficult)."

He explained easy on guitar is the first three buttons, medium is the fourth one, hard and expert is the fifth, but on expert, you have to play faster because the notes are coming a lot faster at you."

There are plenty of videos on YouTube. Here's one of "Hello There" by Cheap Trick from Rock Band 2 that demonstrates what might be in store. And then again, maybe not.

Is "Rock Band" bad timing by the Beatles?: Digital City on CNET floats an interesting observation -- that "The Beatles: Rock Band" is too little, too late. They explain that sales of both "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero," its competition, are down. In the case of "Rock Band," they says 22 percent over the last year.

In addition, they add another argument we know all too well. Because the Beatles haven't yet docked into iTunes or any mp3 downloads, they've missed a ton of money and a ton of fans. Could "Rock Band" end up another "Magical Mystery Tour" -- heavily criticized with a meaning that never really made sense?

Make no mistake. This is not the digitalization of the Beatles some will be quick to claim. What it is is a further venture into the new technology started by the reworking of the catalog with "Love." As far as making sense, as long as the cash registers ring, that will be all that matters.

You know it will be hyped and bantered like crazy until we see it in September. The real question, though, and one which we might see answered in the next few months,  is will "The Beatles: Rock Band" leave Beatle fans singing, "I can't get no satisfaction"? It's not a song the Beatles want to hear.

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  • MicC 5 years ago

    I dunno. I don't see the kids clammoring to get this when they can play "Street Fighter 4."

  • Steve Marinucci (Beatles Examiner) 5 years ago

    MicC: I don't think it's just the kids the Beatles want buying this. And that's where things could get sticky. Who besides the kids will really care?

  • Cat Schwamm 5 years ago

    Well, whether it's too late or not, I'll still be banging down the door of my local Best Buy the morning of September 9th to get my copy and calling into work sick that day.

  • kathy 5 years ago

    me too, Cat! I'm hoping toysrus will take pre-orders on the set, though! I've already told my husband it's all I want for Christmas.

  • Tina 5 years ago

    I'll be right there with you, Cat. I'm a middle-aged woman, a wannabe musician, and a non-gamer, but I got hooked on Guitar Hero at a friend's house a couple of years ago. It's just a lot of fun! Having Apple release a Beatles version of Rock Band is just the excuse I've been looking for to drop a couple hundred hard-earned dollars on a game console. Now whether I can get my hands on the money for that *and* the limited-edition package is another matter! My neighbors are already covering their ears and cringing! ;-)

  • M. Ray Robinson 5 years ago

    It will sell well. Too many fans of Beatles' music of all ages tell me that it will. People that own "Rock Band" and master every song within a month will be looking for new challenges as well.
    Once video game controllers got past a "joypad" and the A & B buttons, I was horrible at playing them. I won't buy it myself, but I'll be thrilled to take vocals on someone else's console.

  • Jon 5 years ago

    Too little, too late and the wrong thing again about sums it up. Apple Corps. is very efficient when it comes to things like this. And since they are announcing something that is coming out in the later part of the year, that doesn't bode well--once again--for us to expect the CDs this year. They brought us the puzzles, games, etc., essentially junk that nobody really wanted. IF/WHEN the company finally gets around to releasing the remastered CDs they, too, likely will be too late and likely out-of-date anyway. Technology will have advanced again. Who could have imagined the Beatles would meet this fate?

  • mva5580 5 years ago

    I'm sorry if it seems like I'm insulting people a lot here, but honestly an article like this shows the authors age.

    I'm 28, a die-hard Beatles fan, and I'm literally going into convulsions waiting for this game to come out. I will HAPPILY shell out the $250 on release day, and I can assure you that people who already own RB 1/2 & Guitar Hero will be doing the same for the $60 stand alone disc, and any nice limited edition Beatle-specific peripherals that are released. Obviously not everyone is going to spend $250 on the complete set if they've already got a ton of plastic instruments lying around, but this release already has a lot of hype around it and I have zero doubts that it's going to sell very, very well.

    And the people at Activision obviously think it's going to sell well too, as they already have MULTIPLE Guitar Hero releases planned for this year to counter-act The Beatles: Rock Band.

    Harmonix/The Beatles/MTV aren't releasing this with the intention of pulling in all the old folks who hardly play video games. The Beatles are plenty well known by the video game playing crowd, and this will have no problem of selling very well. They're not releasing this to appease the people who are obsessed with re-mastered CD's or the release of Let It Be on DVD.

    The Beatles don't lend their name/original songs to very much. We all know this. I have ZERO doubts this game is going to be plenty, plenty worth it. And any doubter who fires it up for the first time and plays "Helter Skelter" with some friends (one song which will surely be in the game) will have those doubts erased very, very quickly.

  • Matt Talvi 5 years ago

    This is just stupid. Maybe it will make Apple some money, but it has a cheap, hollow feel to it. Like the George Harrison bottle of Beatles shampoo I once got as a kid in Maine. After the shampoo was used, you had this empty plastic likeness of George, with sticky remnants of shampoo left in it.

    Can we get remastered Beatles, guys? More unreleased material, guys? Something REAL Beatles fans can sink their teeth into? This nonsense is just so superficial and idiotic and so un-Beatles like.

  • Adrien 5 years ago

    I'm looking forward to the game, as a 32 yr old Beatlemaniac with a PS3...but the recently leaked Revolution outtake seems a lot more significant.

  • Kris 5 years ago

    My 18 year old son plays Rock Band, and I'm surprised at the songs he's learned to like from it, ("Grim Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult for example!) and has downloaded to his iPOD. I already told him and his brother that the Fab's Rock Band will be on the top of my list of what to get them for Christmas!

  • david 5 years ago

    I think that is an interesting thing for young people, and will be an interesting experience no doubt about it, but as some people says before, many Beatles fans (included me) wants more rare recordings new mixes, Love complete show DVD, Let it be DVD, did u realized the big surprise we had with the Revolution leaked?, was like the feeling of the 90's with the Anthology, we need that!!.

    And please Apple/EMI no wait so long on release new things because many beatles original die hard fans are passing away without listen new things of the band...

  • Rick G - FOTR 5 years ago

    Hand UP! Seems like the folks behind the 'business' of all this have their priorities so out of order, as usual. Need I mention remasters, DVD's, the stuff we ALL young and 'old' wanna buy?? Not more salt and pepper shakers and xmas ornaments. Agree with Jon, too little too late....but I would love to see Matt's GEORGE shampoo bottle [thought they only made two versions, both to appear at the Meditationfest.....poosham, poosham, poosham, poosham]

    RG poosham, poosham, poosham.....
    spay and neuter, spay and neuter.

  • Mr Winky 5 years ago

    Sounds really interesting, I'm sorry I prob won't be able to experience it. I couldn't justify buying a console and instruments and whatever else, for one game. And no, I'm not interesting in buying a whole bunch of other games once I get a console...again, that's more money. I'm trying to get rid of stuff now, not acquire more. I do have some rich friends (well, to me they're rich) in another town, they'll prob buy this, maybe I can get a bus ride out there and play it w/them sometime.

  • John S. Damm 5 years ago

    As mentioned, so much for a sonically modern Beatles' album catalog in 2009.

    The adult Beatles' fans will love this game but I am not so sure about the majority of kids out there who are the primary users as the kids want loud, blistering guitar leads. I can't see the masses of kids out there gleefully faking, on these toy guitars, the Carl Perkin-like leads, the quirky solos, or slide guitar leads that we fans know and love from our sweet George.

    They want their lead guitar solos fast and furious. These video games have taken some kids from their hip hop or American Idol music and turned them onto "classic rock" but from the teens I have observed, it is more of the heavy metal genre.

    Thanks Apple for apparently another lost year of nothing substantive.

  • Glenn 5 years ago

    As a guitar player i hope people won't be disappointed. While John and George were great guitarists, the guitar work in most of the songs we know and love is well back in the mix, and many of the best songs i would say are more 'singer's songs than player's songs. From what i have seen with my nephew, Rock Band rocks best with hard guitar driven tunes. For virtual fun i just can't see Day Tripper or Twist and Shout, etc. standing up to Sunshine of my Love, etc.

  • Maslov 5 years ago

    I think the game is a great idea. My son and his friend are looking forward to it. HOWEVER, I am not the only one who feels that the CD remasters need to come out NOW or at the latest around the time when this game comes out. All the hoopla will help both releases. Please, the music matters so gives s the music masters!!!