Coming Soon: A Grateful Dead Video Game

02/10/2011

Rolling Stone reported on this last month: a video game about the Grateful Dead, “featuring the act’s music and signature imagery and lore.”



Featuring all band members’ names and likenesses, as well as audio recordings, artwork, photography and video culled from the psychedelic pioneers’ fabled Vault, the outing will be playable from multiple platforms and devices. Accessible via the band’s official website (www.dead.net), Facebook and online game portals, it will feature a range of games and activities that draw upon popular characters, settings and motifs from the Grateful Dead canon. A custom website will also be designed specifically for the game itself and its community… A scaled-down mobile version featuring similar content will also allow players to access specific features of the game from smartphone handsets.

Well, sounds interesting, but what will the game be?

Examples might include “playing scavenger hunt bingo with mobile phone cameras” where players try to find a Grateful Dead sticker on a Volkswagen camper. Still early in design, many of the game’s core facets remain undefined, but he says the title will reflect themes prevalent in Grateful Dead lore, including Americana, the old west, gambling, Biblical tales, nature, space and journeys. Rather than one single play style, the title is intended to bring many together under a single banner of red, white and blue skulls and dancing bears.

The article goes on to say that “Players will explore a Grateful Dead-themed world comprised of many types of games, earning points for game play and points for other ways of participating in the Grateful Dead experience,” and that “This will be a social game, a game model we think we can innovate, given the very social nature of Grateful Dead fans and the rich online community that has existed online around the Dead since the mid-1980s with The Well. Visually it will be eclectic, like the Dead is.”

The conclusion is interesting: “We want a Deadhead Uncle to be able to buy a Grateful Dead Games gift card at Target to give to his nephew who will redeem the credits and special privileges in the game.”

Except in the song, Me and My Uncle, a staple of the band’s repertoire,

I loved my uncle, God rest his soul,
[...]
And I left his dead ass there by the side of the road.