DualShockers - The Beatles: Rock Band Event Preview

By Yaris Gutierrez

August 26, 2009

It was a hard day’s night, but we still came, we saw, we rocked. DualShockers attended the NYC The Beatles: Rock Band premier event yesterday at The Village Pour House where we got our drinks on with a couple of folks in the industry including MTV Games VP Tony Calandra, MTV’s VP of communications Jeff Castaneda, Destructoid’s Samit Sarkar, the Harmonix trained developers RockGamer Studios team (Christopher Julio, Isabel Davila, and Miguel Molinari) and a few folks from the Harmonix outfit including Alex Navarro (who’s, for no reason, a god on the drums) and Caleb Epps, the composer and sound designer responsible for The Beatles: Rock Band. Aside from enjoying ourselves with this concoction of amazing people and the perpetual companionship of my dark friend Jack Daniels, Joel, Al and myself got our hands dirty whilst rocking to the breathtaking sounds of Beatles music with every single person mentioned above.  And, my god, were we impressed.

Jeff Casteneda From MTV

Being veterans of the older Rock Band games, we went to the event with limited expectations.  We arrived at the bar, flirted a bit with the hot bartender who seemed to be downing a couple of drinks on her own, and watched as the RockGamer Studios team assembled Ion’s oh-so-expensive-yet-sexy Drum Rocker.  Slowly but surely, the place slowly began to fill with both Beatles and Rock Band fans alike. Everyone chatted, folks hugged and talked to their drinks (some even kissing glasses… hopefully to try to bring down a swelling of some sort), and names were taken down in order to have folks get their drunk asses up on whatever instrument they chose to play and rock away with.  Unfortunately for those of us who were expecting a good laugh, the “No Fail Mode” feature was turned on in order to prevent any embarrassing moments for the people who took up arms with whichever instrument they decided to play with.

One thing you’ll notice from the very beginning in The Beatles: Rock Band is the amazing visuals that accompany the game.  The crispy abundance of distinct colors and hypnotizing oddities that permeated the screens was sheer ecstasy for the eyes.  More like an orgy for your eyes, we would say. Compared to its predecessors, The Beatles: Rock Band offered what seemed to be a much more refreshing experience for players – it felt like a natural high; and if you’re a stoner, you’re pretty much set for a mind boggling retro experience that will have you fingering your TVs.

Harmonix's Caleb Epps with DualShockers Yaris Gutierrez (l) and Al Zamora (r)

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Of course, aside from the bewitching graphics that chaperoned The Beatles: Rock Band, the most entrancing experience came from the music itself. Hearing the old sounds of legends like The Beatles gave me – and I’m pretty sure a lot of others – butterflies. Listening to the enchanted crowd at the bar sing and shout all at the same time to the melodies that protruded from the game was heartfelt and breathtaking as their voices filled the dense room. Songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and ” Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” were sung and played.  And speaking of singing, the harmonizing feature between three distinct players was, overall, a great innovative addition to the Rock Band game.  Players each have to sing on a different pitch in order to mimic the harmonizing effect the Beatles once had.  The great thing about it, though, is that if your fellow singmate sucks beyond belief in hitting notes, you will be able to carry him/her.  Of course, bonuses are given if all three of you can break it down like some Motown doo-wop’ers; but if your friend next to you has the voice of Fran Drescher, you pretty much have the chance to make sure everything goes somewhat smoothly by contributing your godly vocals and keeping your band alive.

On our go of the game, Destructoid’s Samit Sarkar and our very own Al Zamora took the mics to their faces to supply the vocals as Joel went nuts on the drums, and I pulled out my leet guitar/bass skills.  We played, we enjoyed, we rocked.  Hearing folks sing along with us brought smiles to our faces.  It could have been the booze making us feel all tingly inside, but I’m sure that hearing the positive reaction from the crowd somewhat contributed to our jubilant feeling. All that was missing was the throwing of female underwear, but I’m sure no one was that tanked to attempt such daring feats.

Miguel Molinari from Rock Gamer Studios (rockgamer.com) with DualShockers Al Zamora (l) and Yaris Gutierrez

People who’ve played the previous Rock Bands are probably under the impression that this one is probably the same thing with the addition of two mics.  We too thought the very same thing until we actually got the chance to see and play the game.  For some reason, the game itself – even though it is from the same franchise – feels totally new in some respects.  Familiar in some ways because we have grown accustomed to the instruments, but how it feels, sounds and the impact you are left with is totally on a different spectrum. Although its fun as hell to rock out to Metallica and smash guitars and punch walls, the mellow, yet succumbing, experience that The Beatles: Rock Band imprints is prodigious.  Those of you skeptical of even considering this game because it is based on a bunch of old English men with thick hair should not base your opinions solely on the black and white pictures you see, or the fact that our parents/grandparents once praised these dudes.  Their music, though older than the majority of gamers, is amazing in every way.  Having MTV Games and Harmonix bring out a great piece of the past to share with the youth of today is something we are surely grateful for. It gives of insights and the ability to enjoy, both in listening to the music and gaming, the traditional music that once gripped the juveniles of that past time. The experience itself was astounding on its own; whatever doubts I once had about this game are now long gone.  Best believe that I will be one of those folks in line picking this gem up.

DualShockers Getting Loose Before the Event (from left to right) Al Zamora, Yaris Gutierrez, and Joel Taveras

We talked to some of the folks from MTV, Destructoid, RockGamer Studios, and Harmonix, played a shitload of Rock Band with them, shared drinks and cracked jokes all throughout the evening.  It was nothing short of a great affair sharing, for the first time, the entertaining and awe-inspiring game that is The Beatles: Rock Band.  And what better way to enjoy the game than with a shitload of awesome people all in one room, sharing the same passions that we adore – gaming.

Check out the pics from the event:

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Yaris Gutierrez

Born and raised in New York City, Yaris is one of three co-founders at DualShockers. Gaming since the inception of Nintendo in the 80's, he has grown to avidly appreciate games of every genre, maturing his preference specifically now to third-person action games, first-person shooters and JRPGs. He's a software engineer, father and husband during the day, and mildly attempts to hold onto his "hardcore gamer" title during the evenings. An attempt that he tends to fail miserably at.

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