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Nadworny: The Beatles revisited

10/06/09 7:55AM By Rich Nadworny
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(HOST) These days, there's not much of a generation gap at commentator Rich Nadworny's house - thanks to the Beatles and the latest hot new video game.

(NADWORNY) Last month was a big one for music. EMI released a complete set of remastered Beatles Albums. But more important was the introduction of what the New York Times called the most important video game yet made: Beatles Rock Band.

Now, much as I love to play, I kind of missed out on video games. And though my kids have clamored for one, my wife and I have resisted. Until now, that is.

It all started last fall at a friend's house. He took out his Rock Band video game and, literally, a fight broke out between the kids and the grown ups about who would play. While the kids won that one and got most of the playing time, the seeds were sown. Rock Band is kind of karaoke on steroids: Not only do you sing, but you also can play drums, bass and guitar, trying to strum or beat when the game tells you to. The better you follow the notes and rhythm, the higher you score. At my friend's party, I got to do Roger Daltry singing "You Won't Get Fooled Again" while my wife did her best Pete Townsend imitation. Everyone, kids and grownups, had a blast.

So when I heard, earlier this year, that the Beatles Rock Band was on its way; there was no holding me back. I pre-ordered the game months in advance, broke down, and bought a Wii in time for its arrival.

In the mean time, I had to get my kids ready. I loaded up the iPods with Beatles music and put Beatles CDs in the car. We spent the whole summer listening and started Beatlemania at home.

Now that the game is here, we've spent the last few evenings singing and playing Beatles songs before bed. We take turns playing different members of the Fab Four. And we're having a ton of fun.

It reminds me, actually, of when I was a kid. My friend Ken Jaffe had all of the Beatles records at his house and we used to play Beatles when we were 6 or 7. Since he had the records, Ken was always John. I had straight brown hair, so I'd be Paul, which meant I had to play left handed. Marshall, who always got the short end of the stick, was Ringo. We'd pretend, lip-sync, and shake our hair to the music.

Now I'm doing the same thing with my kids, only we get points for how well we do. In the game, we're also trying to sing Beatles harmonies that are a lot harder than you'd think. While we're still not pros, what could be better than belting out all of this music together?

And that's the best part: everyone in the family can't wait to play this together.

The New York Times agrees. They say that no video game has ever brought more parents together with their teenage and adult children than Beatles Rock Band. And while my kids aren't that old yet, it sure is great to hear them walk around humming songs I love.

(TAG) You can find more commentaries by Rich Nadworny on line at VPR-dot-net.
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