It's a Battle of the 'Rock Band' Games!

The Beatles Rock Band, the music-based video game that lets four people sing or play plastic instruments along with the Fab Four, has been perhaps the most acclaimed game of the year. And many of its rave reviews have declared it the one game that will finally bridge the video game generation gap, bringing parents and children together to play. But sliding onto the market with much less fanfare is another game in the Rock Band line that I believe is even more deserving of such a title: LEGO Rock Band.

Let me be clear: The Beatles Rock Band is a fabulous game. But in terms of bridging generation gaps? Well, that may certainly be the case when it comes to teens and Baby Boomer parents. For Gen X moms and dads, though, with elementary school kids, LEGO is the way to go. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Ease of play: The Beatles offers an easy mode with a “no fail” option, so that you can finish a song, no matter how poorly you’re playing. LEGO tops that with a super easy mode—you don’t even have to hit the right buttons!

Characters: While the virtual reproductions of John, Paul, George, and Ringo are pretty stunning, do you think those guys are going to appeal to a second-grader more than a pirate, a skeleton, a racecar driver and a knight? Plus, you can swap around Lego parts to customize band members in any way you want; the Beatles are untouchable.

Settings: Fans of SpongeBob don’t care about The Ed Sullivan Show. But offer them the chance to perform in a haunted castle or on a dinosaur-infested island and you’ve got yourself an enthusiastic crowd. (For the record, both games let you play on the roof of a tall building.)

Songs: Okay, you can’t top the Beatles’ music, but kitschy stuff like “Ghostbusters” and “Kung Fu Fighting” are a hell of a lot of fun, too.

My family played LEGO Rock Band for hours this past weekend, with a crowd that ranged in age from seven to 40. We’d tried The Beatles Rock Band first, but the young kids only lasted through two songs before they were frustrated by both the music and the difficulty. The adults were happy either way.

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