Oh what a long, strange trip it will continue to be. Two unlikely forces in pop culture are coming together in the oddest of ways. Social media monolith Facebook is set to be home to a game based on the life and music of '60s-era rock band, the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stone reports.
The game is being developed by Curious Sense, populated by people who are described by the band's legacy manager as "lifelong Deadheads." They're planning what sounds like a pretty varied assortment of Dead-themed activities that take the form of minigames, all of them branching out from each user's theme-customizable hub, which will be based on themes and ideas from the band's music and career.
Facebook is apparently just one of the planned points of entry for the game's players. Curious Sense is also working to integrate access to the game into the band's website, Dead.net as well as "online game portals" and unspecified mobile devices. It sounds as if the plan is to centralize all user data, in order to better link up the experience across multiple platforms.
Curious Sense CEO Adam Blumenthal has a bit to say about how it will all unfold. "Players will explore a Grateful Dead-themed world comprised of many types of games, earning points for game play and points for other ways of participating in the Grateful Dead experience," he said. "This will be a social game, a game model we think we can innovate, given the very social nature of Grateful Dead fans and the rich online community that has existed online around the Dead since the mid-1980s with The Well. Visually it will be eclectic, like the Dead is."
"Whimsy, surprises and pranks will delight," he added. "There will have to be a Miracle button," referring to the fan practice of pleading for a Miracle -- or free ticket -- to fellow tailgaters in the parking lot before each show.
It certainly seems like an odd pairing of ideas, but Blumenthal is correct in dating the online presence of Dead fans back to the 1980s. The WELL -- Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link -- is one of the earliest online communities, formed in 1985 as a Bulletin Board Service (BBS!!) before the Internet even existed. A sizable user base built up around it, including no small number of Dead fans, who gathered to discuss music & politics and trade the band's live concert recordings.
The community still exists today, albeit in a relatively archaic form by present-day standards as The WELL is essentially a message board. They don't exactly have "World of Warcraft" numbers, with only 4,000 or so members, but the Dead's reach extends far beyond the well and I have a feeling that Curious Sense's efforts will be met with a warm reception. Provided that the work is good, and faithful, of course.