Second song in, and the band play ‘Boys’, as sung by Ringo Starr. I’ll try and keep it brief this time.

Visually, not much has changed, although you notice the presence of the camera more as it zooms in on Ringobot’s mangled CGI gob, which presumably would otherwise have been mostly obscured by the drum kit and the other band members. I did notice this time around how good a job they’ve done of reproducing that ‘live gig in a cellar’ feel – you do get a vague pang of nostalgia/excitement at virtually ‘being there’ at a live gig that you’ve been told is historically valuable, even though these are robot mannequins, it’s a 2D screen in your living room, it’s all information swirling in a computer and this gig probably never actually happened and is just a fantasised mismash designed to represent several moments in the band’s timeline at once. Aside from that, it’s just like you’re at the gig – though the player’s still on the outside of the band looking in, not the inside rocking out.

Ringobot looks nervous, as though he’s terrified of being torn apart by the love-crazed mob. Is that just dredged up from the uncanny valley, or did he really have that expression when playing live?

As for the song – it’s not one I’d ever heard before, and after a couple of listens it’s a pleasant surprise. Here’s the original by the Shirelles:

The song itself sounds an awful lot like ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ by Barrett Strong, but I imagine that was the style at the time. What it sounds like now is a callback to the fifties – I’m guessing these two cover versions at the start serve the purpose of being the ‘Before’ in the ‘Before And After’ story. If you’re going to do a game whose narrative is the rise and fall FURTHER RISE YOU UNMUTUALIST of a band that Changed Music, you need to show what Music was like before it was Changed. Since the premise of the game is All Beatles All The Time, that means slipping in a couple of covers numbers early on – I think everything from here on in is written by the band.

That might be a risky strategy – this song was a lot of fun to play (and I use ‘play’ in the game sense here, musically skilled readers), with a nice raw, raucous quality to it – I’d recommend the bass level, as mashing the buttons with your fingers in time to the bassline really highlights the energy. I actually felt more like I was playing Rock Band ’63 (which would be a very nifty expansion) than something geared to any one group, although that’s probably because none of the bots look that much like their counterparts yet – they’re all so very young. Anyway, if this is the starting point, it’ll be interesting to see how I feel about playing these songs when the more well-known Beatles Sound emerges.

Hmm. Should I be giving these marks out of five? Or ten? Or not giving marks at all?

SPECIAL PIRATE VERSION OF THIS COLUMN FOR TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY: Aaarrr, I did find me a strange black box possessed by wizards that caused four scurvy young cabin-boys to caper on a magic porthole, singin’ a strange sea shanty accompanied by ‘orrible screams, aharrrrr Blind Pew, I were as a-feared as if I were in the presence of a Sea Goblin and split the devil-work apart with one swing of me trusty cutlass, yaarrr, wheron it spat lightning and hell’s own flames, surely it was possessed by the curse of a dread pirate who died o’ scurvy on a haunted ship, aharr.

NEXT: Georgebot gets his bone on.