The Beatles rock-and-roll invasion that conquered the music scene in the 1960s has been reborn in a hotly-anticipated assault on the world of videogames.
The Fab Four have been recreated in virtual forms in "The Beatles: Rock Band," a game that lets players join the British rockers as they springboard from gigs in England to global stardom.
True to its music roots, "The Beatles: Rock Band" (TB:RB) is on tour prior to the game's release on September 9.
People packed Rockit Room bar in San Francisco late Wednesday to strap on plastic replicas of guitars played by John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney or keep the beat on a version of Ringo Starr's drum set.
Mock instruments were wired to an Xbox 360 videogame console. Animated Beatles band members performed on a giant screen above a pool table.
"Everyone has been waiting for The Beatles to come to Rock Band, so that in itself is awesome," Serafina Kernberger said after a nearly flawless performance on faux guitar.
"My mom was a hippie, so I grew up with The Beatles."
Colored buttons streamed along on-screen guitar necks, with players hitting matching parts on mock instruments to stay in tune with the band.
Software rated vocals sung on microphones, giving kudos for harmonies.
Jason Sitomer grinned as he nailed final notes of Eight Days A Week.
"That was amazing," said Sitomer, who at age 23 maintained that Beatles' music resonates with his generation.
"Beatles songs are nostalgic, so everyone knows the words."
MTV Games had TB:RB developed by US studio Harmonix, the maker of a blockbuster "Rock Band" videogame franchise.
The game's creators promise players "an unprecedented, experimental progression through and celebration of the music and artistry of The Beatles."
"The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music," Sir Paul McCartney said in a release when plans for a game were announced.
Apple Corps has historically shunned releasing Beatles' music in digital formats because of concerns about piracy.
Story mode in the game lets players become band members and start the group's career in its early days playing The Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Players go on to perform virtual versions of The Beatles television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States in 1964 and a sold-out show in Shea Stadium in New York City a year later.
The videogame story includes a major Tokyo concert, studio sessions and a final 1969 performance on the roof of the headquarters of Apple Corps, the band's recording label.
"I like that they revamped the whole game to make it an immersive Beatles experience," Cheryll Del Rosario said after a chance at TB:RB.
"I imagine once you go through story mode, you feel as close to a Beatle as possible."
The concept for the videogame was honed with input from McCartney and Starr as well as from Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of Lennon and Harrison.
"How wonderful that The Beatles legacy will find its natural progression into the 21st Century through the computerized world we live in," Starr said in a release.
TB:RB will be playing at an Outside Lands music festival this weekend in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a legendary hippie haven in the 1960s.
"People just pick it up and play it; it's just a smiley, happy good time," Alex Navarro of Harmonix said as he orchestrated turns at TB:RB in the Rockit Room.
"Even if you aren't the biggest Beatles fan, some of these songs are ridiculous fun to play. There is a timeless quality to it."
Forty-five songs are included with the videogame, and more of the bands' tunes will be sold as digital downloads from the Internet.
The videogame will be available for play on the three major consoles: Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii.
Digitally re-mastered versions of The Beatles' entire record catalogue will be released the day the videogame launches.
"The Beatles: Rock Band" videogame playlist
MTV Games and Harmonix have revealed all but one of the 45 songs that will be featured in "The Beatles: Rock Band" videogame they are releasing on September 9.
Three Beatles albums will also be sold as digital downloads at a Rock Band online music store: Abbey Road will be released in October, followed by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in November and Rubber Soul in December.
Beatles songs in the videogame represent the group's live and studio work from 1963 to 1969. Video of the animated Fab Four performing in gameplay is available online at thebeatlesrockband.com.
The songs to be featured in the game are:
"I Saw Her Standing There"
"Do You Want To Know A Secret"
"Twist And Shout"
"I Wanna Be Your Man"
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
"A Hard Day's Night"
"Can't Buy Me Love"
"I Feel Fine"
"Eight Days A Week"
"Ticket To Ride"
"Drive My Car"
"I'm Looking Through You"
"If I Needed Someone"
"And Your Bird Can Sing"
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
"With a Little Help from My Friends"
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
"Good Morning Good Morning"
"I Am The Walrus"
"Back In The U.S.S.R."
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
"Don't Let Me Down"
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
"Here Comes The Sun"
"Dig A Pony"
"I Me Mine"
"I've Got A Feeling"
"Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows"
(c) 2009 AFP
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