I don’t know how valid this kind of side-by-side comparison is, but it’s interesting that George Harrison’s slightly odd-looking mannerisms – he’s coming across a bit like Leonard Nimoy crossed with a hunchback, and around 1:17 he seems to grow a spasmodic hinge in the middle of his body – are transplanted fairly faithfully onto Georgebot, who’s stuck between Johnbot and Paulbot and gyrating stiffly in much the same way. (A slight edit here, as I had to put up a new video after the first one was deleted by YouTube for crimes against the brand. I’ll just add that the Nimoy-hunchback comparison is no longer clearly visible, but Paul is looking very sprightly and bouncy now in the human version – a quality Paulbot lacks.)

Fans of authenticity will be happy to hear that the Kevin O’Neill-esque arrow-crazy set in the game is a rough translation of the Beatles’ first Ed Sullivan appearance – the Youtube vid at the top there is from a week later. I’m assuming all Ed Sullivan appearances have been compressed into one, in the same way as all Cavern Club shows were. Anyhow, what’s changed? Well, the bots are now dressed in full suits, and the programmed-in nervousness seems to have vanished, although Ringobot still looks like a concussion victim. There’s a sense that they’ve been sanded down, somehow – even more than the sanding down of the personalities from the live, fleshy, non-robotic version – and I don’t know whether that makes the song seem slightly dulled and blandified, or vice versa.

This song’s pretty much defeated me, I’ve got to admit. It’s so ubiquitous – you can’t hear it without thinking ‘oh yeah, early Beatles’ and then all cognitive thought on the matter comes to a dead halt.  It’s not a tough song, gamewise – the guitar part I aced first time out and I managed to get 100% on the bass part (hard mode, not expert) while keeping all my attention on reading the Beatlebots’ programmed body language rather than the notes whizzing past my eyes. As a level, it’s entry-level – as a song, it slips in and out of the head as easily as it slips past the fingers.

Tom’s covered it and found something else there, but he could look at it in the context of its fellow number ones, while I’m looking at it in the context of a game filled with songs all by the same band – and in that context, I got nothin’. I had fun with the last two by finding the hidden sexy meaning, but there’s no hidden sexy meaning here – holding hands is holding hands, and while the boys do want to hold the high holy living fuck out of your hand – they want to hold your HAAAAAEEIIEEEAAAAAAEEIIEEEAAAAAAAND!!!!1!!??!!! – I can’t make that about something other than holding hands, no matter how hard I try. Maybe it’s moving from that grotty cellar club to this nice clean studio, but the filth is gone.

But I did find the ghost of seduction going on – the seduction of consumers by a product. I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand, say four of the nicest youngsters Ed Sullivan has ever had on his stage. I’ll say that something – I want to hold your hand. Because there’s holding hands and holding hands, isn’t there? There’s Paul McCartney, holding… her… hand… so… TIGHT(!)… (cue filthy twanging) — and then there’s the smiling shop assistant holding your hand through a difficult new purchase. Holding your hand as you take your first steps into the world of the Beatles, as a band and a brand. You’ll like it here. We’ll start you off nice and mild, and by the time you’re swirling in a psychedelic frenzy with the girl with kaleidoscope eyes and the egg man and the walrus, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Happily, when I looked this song up on wikipedia (DON’T JUDGE ME) I found that this suspicion was relatively on the money – Epstein apparently told John and Paul to write something that would appeal to listeners across the pond and this is what they came up with, a distillation of their appeal into one powerful yet easily-digested punch. And this seems to have been the big unlocking of Beatlemania as a transatlantic phenomenon, so it undoubtedly worked. So is this going to set the tone for the entire Ed Sullivan section of the game, or now that we the players have made our charming introduction to the American music scene, are we going to start pissing on the carpet and wrecking the joint?

NEXT: We find out.