A few suggestions for the Grateful Dead video game coming this summer
Despite reports of flagging sales of Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and Theremin Hero (ostensibly), the video game industry continues its quest to re-create every conceivable experience for PC and smart phone users. Hence, the recent report that a video game based on the Grateful Dead will hit stores this summer.
According to Curious Sense, which has partnered with Grateful Dead Productions and Rhino Entertainment, "within seconds of entering the Grateful Dead Game, Dead Heads, and new fans alike, will be drawn into an experience that will adapt to the type of visitor they are. From the first click the player will enter into a universe of Grateful Dead music, sounds, and visuals. Games and activities will reside within several regions of the World, each designed according to a theme from Grateful Dead lore -- the Old West, Space, San Francisco, Giza.
"At every turn whimsy, surprises, pranks, and miracles may be presented... Dead Heads will dig the experience for the novel ways we’ll offer them to play with the music they love. Prospective fans will have a new port of entry into the Grateful Dead World."
Because we here at Pop & Hiss are connoisseurs of whimsy, surprise and miracles (but not pranks), we're offering a few suggestions to the game manufacturers (from a fan who doesn't miss Furthur shows and has purchased enough "Dick's Picks" to need bankruptcy protection.)
- Discover Who's Selling Bunk L.S.D.
Utilizing a series of Choose Your Own Adventure-like options and a careful reading of body language, you will be forced to guess which dreadlocked hippie is attempting to sell you plain sugar cubes and not the Bear's finest chemistry. Should you be able to get the right flavor of Orange Sunshine, you will be treated to an extremely trippy version of "He''s Gone."
- Predict the Set List
Based on a "Rain Man"-style memorization of past set lists done on a given tour, players will be challenged to predict the correct list the band will play. There will be different periods to choose from, including pre-Pigpen, post-Pigpen, the Donna years, "the '80s, oh the '80s," the Dylan experiment and the "Touch of Gray" era. Winners will be treated to a high-quality, ultra-rare acoustic recording of Jerry clipping his toenails, circa May 1977.
- Save the Keyboardist From an Untimely Fate
Sadly, the Dead was plagued by a series of keyboardists who fell victim to unlikely demises. But unlike actual existence, video games have no bearing on actual reality. Think of it like "Back to the Future," but rather than Chuck Berry, Marty McFly is obsessed with Uncle John's Band. Win and reenvision the Dead of today as a baleful blues outfit fronted by a sexagenarian and still-mustachioed Pigpen.
- Spot the UFO in the Giza Sky
While listening to a bootleg of the Dead's famous shows at the Pyramids, you will be asked to pick out the unidentified flying object in a sea of stars. To make matters more difficult, your eyesight will be marred by blurred vision intended to simulate an acid trip. It will be like a psychedelic "Where's Waldo." Winners will receive a free brick of limestone.
- Pick the Best Version of "Dark Star"
Through a panel of digital celebrity judges including Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and the ghost of Ken Kesey, you will be asked to select the best version of the iconic Grateful Dead jam. Players will look for smoothest transitions, most tripped-out guitar work and how messed up everyone in the band was that night. Careful listening will be rewarded with a Lossless digital version of the band's "Dark Star," circa 11/2/69.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Undated file photo of the Grateful Dead. From left: Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir. Credit: Associated Press