Rock Band: Novel Route into the Beatles

The music world is excited over the launch of remastered Beatles catalog and the group's Rock Band game. The new game offers a novel route into the Beatles, literally. As reviews like the one Randy Lewis wrote for this paper have noted, The Beatles: Rock Band allows for a "visceral" experience of songs that most of us have taken for granted for most of our lives.

It's being sold as a lure for a younger generation of fans, a bridge uniting families, and -- not that anybody's getting too worked up about it or anything -- a "cultural watershed" that "may be the most important video game yet made."

The Beatles: Rock Band is innovative, though it's also simply another step in the development of a gaming subgenre that's already united families thrashing away on their plastic instruments to Van Halen and Nirvana. The box sets, however, are not at all undiscovered territory, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It was also reported, although the basic gameplay of "The Beatles: Rock Band" is similar to past "Rock Band" games, there's one notable addition: three-part harmony. The developers of the game have added the ability for three players to sing at once and even harmonize with one another to get extra points. MTV News spoke to Josh Randall, creative director behind "The Beatles: Rock Band," to find out just how this innovative feature came to be.

Randall said the idea started out simply. "I think we were just trying to find features that would be very Beatles-y. Typically, on Friday nights here, we go down to the pub and afterwards come back up and play 'Rock Band.' What I noticed, we would get 10 or 20 people playing, but of course only three or four people can interact with the game. But a bunch of other people in the room would be singing along. So I was thinking, 'I wish there was a way we could plug in some extra microphones, so the other people could sing along.' Especially Beatles tunes, since everyone already knows the lyrics, it just makes sense.

It was around that time that the developers had been listening to a ton of Beatles music and noticed that the signature sound for their music was a really powerful three-part vocal harmony. From there, they made it a priority to get the feature in the game.

"It's really cool the way it turned out," Randall said. "In the game, if you wanna just sing the main line, you can. But if you want, you can try and sing the vocal harmony. And if you try and sing vocal harmony, you won't lose points if you screw it up. It'll only add to your points. And if you need to practice to get a better understanding about how harmonies work and sound, we have a whole practice mode where you can listen to any portion of a song," reports quoted Pearl Jam's Mike McCready as saying, "I play 'Rock Band' with my friends' kids, and they completely beat me senseless with it," he admitted. "I feel like I'm holding them back. I try to play the drums, and I just can't play the drums. I think I need to work on my skills."

But when Backspacer becomes available as a playable full-album download, McCready said players will be able to develop their skills on a few of his favorite tracks. "I would say try the solo on 'Amongst the Waves.' And just rock out to 'Gonna See My Friend.' That'll be fun to jump around to and play. Stomp as much as you possibly can. That's rock!", reports

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