'The Beatles: Rock Band' Does A Funny Thing...

The Beatles: Rock Band

I have this weird thing with rhythm games. I love music and I have a blast playing them, but it's a rare day that I pick up my fake plastic instrument and play by myself. And microphones? Fuhgeddaboutit. Solo or in a group, I don't sing. It's just how things work.

A funny thing happened last week though. Frushtick sent me home with a copy of "The Beatles: Rock Band," a game I've been looking forward to tearing through as a long-time Beatles fan. I popped it in after work, fired it up and played through a couple of songs on guitar. When I got to the Ed Sullivan Theater, the game's second stage space, I quickly highlighted "A Hard Day's Night" as my next selection. That's when the funny thing happened-- I spied my "Rock Band" microphone, collecting dust in the corner, and suddenly felt inclined to use it.

So I plugged that sucker in and sang my ass off. There's something about singing along to The Beatles that's comforting for me. I can't really pin a reason to it -- probably has something to do with being heavily exposed to their music as a child -- but whatever it is, "The Beatles: Rock Band" achieved the impossible: it made this generally quiet, reserved guy pick up a microphone and sing. A lot.

That night, I proceeded to tear through the Ed Sullivan Theater, Budokan, Shea Stadium and two out of three Abbey Road Studios Dreamscapes, plus a little bit of the third. I don't think my vocal chords would have gotten such a workout if there'd been company, but the game nonetheless inspired me to play in a way that I hadn't previously.

As rhythm games find their groove and settle into a process of iteration over innovation, it's the music that will set them apart from one another. That's why "The Beatles: Rock Band" is such a winner in my eyes. People don't like The Beatles; they love them. There's something uniquely fulfilling for me about escaping into their creative process. When you're talking about such a vocals-driven band, there's no better way to do that than to pick up the mic and just sing.