Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Beatles bloody Rock Band

Rhythm games are one of the best things the next-gen console has given us. I can't imagine finding much fun plonking or plucking along to a series of beeps from a Spectrum or hammering a SNES joypad to circuit-board facsimiles of familiar songs. But once I caught sight (and heard tell) of Pa Rappa the Rappa I let loose on the PSone, knowing I'd encountered a new & resoundingly silly way of play.

Essentially a musical game of Simon Says, the initial rhythm games were the simple stuff of listen, then repeat by whacking buttons in time to a tune. Because of this admittedly basic structure the best of the games left the creators free to go frenzied with the visuals, piling on as much insanity as that generation of super-consoles could take.

Bonifide classics included the aforementioned Pa Rappa, it's sequel Um Jammer Lammy and Vib Ribbon from the same brilliantly misshapen mind. The long-legged, Jackson-loving Space Channel Five games were good, plus Bust A Groove & Dance Dance Revolution added jigging about on some arrows to the mix.

Things took a turn to more on hand playing with Guitarfreaks - an arcade series which gave the player their own plastic plucker to pummel & pose with, spawning console spin-offs and a stick-driven off shoot, DrumMania.

With the latest line of ultra-consoles and their mania for plastic-molded add-ons came the titles which took the rhythm game to the masses - Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The extra-techy bits and bobs inside the consoles allowed the designs to pop in karaoke singalongs too. Now there was all manner of ways to embarras or entertain the poor souls stuck in the room with you.

Since every air-guitarist had the ability to hammer and
holler along with their favourite bands, it wasn't long until someone handed over a whole game over to just one band act. This bright idea is about to get it's biggest blockbuster yet as the ultimate musical behemoths - The Beatles - bring out a bangalong trip through their back catalog.

Considering my affection for
rhythm games it was awhile before I shelled out for a Wii Guitar Hero and plastic peripheral to strum (or at least press), but I've taken quite a fancy to the idea. A Beatles game looks like a capital concept, although I must admit it's a shame the game itself looks pretty bloomin' dull in comparison to the dashing designs of this UK produced promo, via Passion Pictures and some of the peeps behind the Gorillaz.


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