Monday, December 29, 2008

Beatles Monopoly Game

I got the Beatles' Monopoly for Christmas (Thanks Sonja and Mark!). And like all 'official' Beatles/Apple products, it's very well done. It's obvious that the designers put a lot of thought and time into their choices.

Albums are now the properties (the exception being the two high-end properties which are 'Abbey Road' and 'Apple' studios). Concert tickets are railways and Candlestick and Shea are the utilities. The Community Chest and Chance cards are 'Beatlemania' and 'Fab Four' spaces and for symbols, they have the drum logos from Magical Mystery Tour (the red 'love' one) and Pepper (the elaborate old fashioned one).

What's especially cool is that they include both British and American albums, and lay them out in chronological order. I knew the designers were 'super fans' when I noticed that they use the 'butcher' cover for the Yesterday...and Today space. Nice.

The tokens are a Strawberry (Fields), a (I am the) Walrus, Octopus (Garden), (Rocky) Raccoon, (Maxwell's) Silver Hammer and a (Here Comes the) Sun. Again, this is a example of how well they thought this thing out. It's no coincidence that they have included Ringo and George songs as tokens. This way, if you're a George fan, you can take the 'Sun' piece.

The houses and hotels are black and white (respectively) instead of the original green and red. Not sure what the 'Beatles' connection there is with that, but it is cool and sort of modern looking.

I played the game and chose the raccoon (just cuz it's so darn cute) and spent Boxing Day afternoon playing. Unlike some other 'specialized' monopoly games I've tried, this Beatles' version seems to be well tested and everything works well. The only flaw was being a little unclear on the directions on one of the Beatlemania cards. But it was no biggie.

I lost, but a splendid time was had by all. Can't wait to play again. And next time, I am the Walrus.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My First

February 9, 1964. There I was, all of six (and a half) years old, plopped in front of the TV in Portland, Oregon. My Mom said something like 'this is important...' and mentioned Elvis. I suppose she was comparing the Beatles' much hyped appearance to the famous Elvis/Ed Sullivan moment. I knew who Elvis was, and remember liking the GI Blues album which got played a lot in our little apartment.

My brother (he must've been about nine going on ten) and I watched and were hooked.

Thinking back on it, I realized just the other day, that was probably the first time I ever actually saw a rock group perform. And what a first! No wonder I had little interest in other singers for the next three or four years. My initial exposure to rock ended up being one of the pivotal moments in music history, showcasing what would be the greatest band of all time.

I recall being in a record store in the summer of 1966. With no new Beatle offering, I wasn't interested in anything else. Mom urged me to try something besides 'Beatles' for once. I reluctantly ended up with the 45 'Wild Thing' by the Troggs (not a bad choice for nine year old).

But all I wanted was Beatles and more Beatles. And not just the music. I read the magazines, collected the merchandise, watched their movies and goofy cartoon show.

That damn 'Ed Sullivan Show' back in February 1964 spoiled the heck out of me. Imagine the first movie you ever saw was 'Citizen Kane', or the first novel you read was 'Moby Dick'. Other bands couldn't come close to being as good.

My initial Beatles experience would eventually lead to me becoming a fan of all kinds of music. R&B, Jazz, name it. Pretty much everything (except Rap and Modern Country, ugh). But it took a while to get past that 'first love'.