In which I introduce my family to the joys of rhythm gaming, and learn something in the process.

The Beatles: Rock Band (TB: RB) is notable in the history of gaming for a few reasons. It’s the first time the Fab Four’s music has been featured in a videogame, for instance. And it’s the first music game to allow for three-part harmonies, to my knowledge. For me, though, the game is historic for a unique reason. The Beatles: Rock Band will always be the first game that both my mother and my mother-in-law expressed genuine interest in playing without any prodding from me.

Understand, when family members from my parents’ generation or higher talk with me about videogames, it’s usually with a polite but shallow curiosity. They’re interested in games as far as they’re interested in what I do for a living, but aside from the rare casual game like Peggle or FreeCell, they’re not clamoring to play any of the latest releases. So I was quite surprised when I got not one, but two requests to bring The Beatles: Rock Band along with me when I travelled home for the Jewish holidays a few weeks ago — to my parents’ in Maryland for Rosh Hashanah and to my in-laws’ in Philadelphia for Yom Kippur 10 days later.

Always eager to share my passion, I packed up the roughly seven million individual pieces required to play a full game of TB:RB and hauled them all across the Northeast. In between many large holiday meals, some horrible college football games and countless reminiscences with family and friends, we managed to squeeze in a few hours of good Beatles-based rocking across both sides of the family. Below are just a few of the things that I learned about my family, videogames, the Beatles and Rock Band itself during those all-too-short play sessions.

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