Saturday 17 March 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 137 (Top Five): AAA Games

Having just conned the banker into giving me £28,000 for a £500 box on the ‘Deal or No Deal’ DVD game (haha! It almost made up for those awful poems he kept spouting!) I took to thinking of a future whereby Alan’s Album Archives could create its own patent-pending trademark copyright protected games on a similar scale. Here’s our five entries, see what you think!:

1) The Beatles: From The Uppermost To The Poppermost!

A bit like Beatles: Rock Band, this game would see players either working individually or as a team to fight their way through the ‘fame’ building, beginning in the Cavern (ie the basement) and working their way up to the rooftop. Along the way they have to trade in money earnt from gigs for instruments and songs and unlock special ‘hit record’ status symbols. Along the way you have to ‘earn’ enough ‘reputation’ points to win over first Brian Epstein, then the British public, then Ed Sullivan, then the American public, then the world, armed with only two guitars bass and drums. Along the way you have to play ‘boss’ battles for supremacy; firstly with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes  (prize: you get to keep Ringo), The Rolling Stones (prize: you get to play Shea Stadium) and Herman’s Hermits (believe it or not the only other group who rivalled the Beatles for popularity, albeit very briefly) (prize: you get to stop touring and buy a mellotron). Each ‘breakthough’ equates to moving up a layer in The Beatles Game until you eventually get to retire when you make the ‘roof’, walking out of the game into a mansion via the Abbey Road crossing (note: solo Beatles games could follow, complete with Frog Song choruses and All Things Must Pass gnomes). Whaddayathink? It’s arguably easier to play than the ‘Beatles: Flip Your Wig’ game from 1964 anyways...

2) Grateful Dead: Five Fingers

The title refers to the fact that the Dead always used to equate their playing style to being ‘five fingers of one hand’, moving independently but together. The Dead were of course famous for their improvising, taking songs to a different place every night, and the parts that amaze me aren’t the wow-how-did-he-do-that? Guitar solos or the sudden switch from one rhythm into another but how the band all manage to stop all at the same time (all alternately come back into a chorus at the same time). Personally I thought the Dead songs were the highlights of the ‘Rock Band’ game (‘China Cat Sunflower’ ‘Casey Jones’ etc) as I felt more ‘connected’ somehow to the part each instrument played in the process – this game would be like that one, but more so. If you win then you get to play the famous Winterland Arena – lose and you’re stuck trying to control the crowd at Altamont. And, as a bonus, in between gigs you get to go home to the house the Dead shared in Haight-Ashbury, choosing to hang out in Garcia’s room full of guitars or Pigpen’s den complete with organ... Alternately you could make this whole game for Crazy Horse, who play to a similarly less-than-strict set of rules whilst playing.

3) The Monkees

First up you choose a different Monkee, each with their own unique characteristics (Mike has organisational qualities, Peter has cuteness, Davy gets you love points and Micky can distract baddies with his incessant talking). You then get assigned a room in the Monkees’ pad and learn a sequence of songs. Get them right and you get to play a gig, complete with back-story about a teenager falling in love/suddenly coming into possession of some stolen spy plans/trying to cure Peter of the hiccups so you don’t blow your big moment/doing the laundry etc (Blimey that was a weird episode, even for The Monkees...) Get them wrong and the landlord comes around calling for the rent – it’s your job to distract him (by dressing up, by pretending to be dead, by having a horse in the living room –anyway you like), but if you fail it’s game over. Of course you always need a baddy and in this case it’s Wizard Glick, out to brainwash everyone – unless The Monkees can out-brainwash everyone with their music first! The object of the game is to become as big as The Beatles and if you succeed you get to ‘control’ your Monkee during the band’s famous ‘romp’ sequences. The end of the game, of course, features the player trying to put the pieces of the ‘Head’ film together into a comprehensible order, with the game ending if you succeed (and the Monkees either wave goodbye or drown to the sound of ‘Porpoise Song’). Very fab!

4) Rolling Stones Circus

You’ve heard of Halo, You’ve heard of Call of Duty, You’ve heard of fable, but this is the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus. You get to pick clown, acrobat, fire-eater or member of Jethro Tull. Along the way you get to perform tricks and if you’re good enough ringmaster Mick Jagger will put you on his show. But will you be squeaking along with Yoko Ono and the Dirty Mac or grooving with the Stones and The Who? Please the crowd and you’ll become a member of the Stones’ entourage, able to tour the world with the greatest rock and roll band in the world. Lose and you’ll be fed to the lions kept backstage and see the whole circus idea shelved for 29 years (which it was). You’ll start with ‘No Expectations’ but remember...’You Can’t Always Get What You Want!’

5) Moon The Loon

In this game you play Who drummer Keith Moon, whose just inherited a million pounds for his part in the ‘Tommy’ LP and wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible! How you do it is up to you, but thanks to a series of challenges you too can think like Keith and drive cadillacs into swimming pools (causing as much damage as you possibly can), smashing up hotel rooms (with cherry bombs) and buying pyramid-shaped houses. There’s lots of music involved too of course , with a special ‘bonus’ game called ‘keeping up with Keith’. If you can manage to go a whole song without collapsing then you’ve won a prize! (We’re thinking drum kits to unlock – the ‘Pictures of Lily’ one, the ‘patent-pending exploding drummer’ one, etc). There used to be only one Keith Moon-type drummer in the world. Now there’s as many of you as people will buy the game!

And that’s all for another week, gaming and music fans! Meantime, get you’re trigger fingers busy by voting for us at the Shorty Award nominations before the closing date!

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