Future civilizations will look back and marvel at the phenomenon we call "The Beatles"—but not so much for the music as for the number of ways their tunes have been repackaged and resold to an ever-hungry audience.
With The Beatles: Rock Band, out earlier this week, Harmonix Music Systems has teamed up with MTV Games and Electronic Arts to reinvent the concept of a Fab Four home game. This facet of Beatlemania began only months after their famous American breakthrough in 1964, when Milton Bradley licensed the likenesses of the Mop-Tops for the Flip Your Wig board game. Flip Your Wig was a simple luck-based challenge, no more complicated or rational than Candyland—or the words to "Love Me Do." It was only after the group broke up that Beatles-themed amusements became worth your dollar, as the richness of the competition caught up with the complexity of their music. Here are a few of the classics in the Beatles board game oeuvre that you may have forgotten about.
John Lennon's Lost Weekend!
The good news? You're John's best friend. The bad news? After five years of marriage, Yoko Ono has kicked him out, and John is a wreck. With Lost Weekend!, John's well-being is in your hands as you earn points to help him reconcile with his wife. Sober him up before his next recording session and earn bonus points toward your own multimillion-dollar recording contract. But it won't be easy, as there are bound to be plenty of distractions along the way—Troubadour dust-ups, Elton John collaborations, yet another round of brandy Alexanders. Whatever gets John through the night.
Where in the World Is Nils Lofgren?
You drafted your latest All-Starr Band and are ready to tour the world. You've got Todd Rundgren on guitar, Peter Frampton on guitar, Billy Squier on guitar, Men at Work's Colin Hay on guitar, Richard Marx on guitar and...uh-oh! It looks like your sixth guitarist, former Crazy Horse member Nils Lofgren, is missing. Where in the World Is Nils Lofgren? is a multimedia CD-ROM adventure and geography quiz—M.O.R. edutainment at its best.
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Deluxe reissues and video games not enough? You want to own the actual rights to the Beatles' music? Earn money to buy back their life's work from a gang of investors headed by Michael Jackson. Dominate the board by snatching up high-priced properties "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude." License low-rent properties like "Lovely Rita" to indie films. Collect cards like "Yoko Ono plants an ounce of pot in your luggage—go to jail" or "This card may be kept until your artistic credibility needs another bailout." Learn the perils of owning the crown jewel of music publishing.
A game of strategy and flared jeans, the object of Muse! is to steal George Harrison's wife, Patti, from the homely Scouser. How do you play? Choose the right combination of these tools and win anguished guitar anthems secretly written in her honor, conniving musical collaborations with George, and drugs. The winner will have simultaneously broken into the Harrisons' home while positioning himself or herself to claim that inspirational tang for his or her own.