The Beatles as The Beatles
My girlfriend says it's sad that Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney are here at E3 presenting The Beatles: Rock Band. They've gone from being stars to being star presenters of a game in which they're featured. Note the name: "The Beatles" come before "Rock Band," an acknowledgment that they are the bigger franchise. What I've heard about the game is that the Beatles essence isn't only in the music and the avatars; it's also in the myriad period locales that blossom in the background as you play each song. Extending the Beatles from music and image to environment would be the logical conclusion of music and karaoke games.
Idol worship now takes the form of embodiment -- aided by technology, you're able to inhabit and reanimate the bodies of
[This blog interrupted to observe the fat guy with a crew cut rolling languorously through the expo floor on a Segway.]
your heroes, fictional or real. The Beatles always had an almost sacred image and mythology; now, these are all food for play-acting, through three-part harmonies with your friends if you have the mics.
So it isn't just that the aging Beatles are "featured" in this game. They've become sublimated into the game, into data designed to elicit a Beatles-themed physical and perhaps emotional feedback from the masses. You'll play and sing the right notes at the right times, directed painstakingly by the color cues. Everyone playing this game will become a sort of echo of one of the Beatles, as they were known in public. It's such a videogame way of creating memory -- forcefully, through spectacle and technology.