Ever since Daisuke Inoue invented the Karaoke machine in 1971, the popularity of playing superstar and singing famous songs for friends has been steadily increasing. Recently, Karaoke has made its way into video games. Studies of singing in social situations suggest that games such as “The Beatles: Rock Band” can make people happier.
Heath Benefits of Social Karaoke Games
According to Julia Layton’s article, “Does Singing Make you Happy?” at HowStuffWorks, singing with proper deep breathing releases the same endorphins as aerobic exercise. This exercise also gives a lift by cycling more oxygen through the blood, which help’s a singer’s mood.
In addition, the intense concentration necessary can help to relieve stress by distracting from other concerns in the life of a “Rock Band” player.
Moreover, because “Rock Band” allows up to four players work together on the game, it encourages the support networks of social interaction.
A Brief History of Karaoke Video Games
The first video game to offer Karaoke never made it out of Japan. “Karaoke Studio”, made for the Nintendo Famicom in 1985, had a limited number of songs in 8-bit sound. With a little choice and poor sound quality, Karaoke Studio gained few fans.
It wasn’t until “Karaoke Revolution” for the PlayStation2 in 2003 that another sing-along video game came along. This game and subsequent sequels give a singer direction on their pitch and rhythm and scores the player on accuracy. Get too far off, and the player is booed off the virtual stage.
Other Karaoke games followed including “Boogie” for Wii, which included a dance aspect; “Get On Da Mic”, which features hip hop songs only; and the popular “Rock Band” titles, which also allow playing along on drums or guitars with special controllers.
Licensing Challenges of “The Beatles: Rock Band“
The Beatles, who are considered the bestselling band of all time with hundred of millions of albums, came to the “Rock Band” series after other, less popular bands such as Aerosmith and AC/DC because of the complicated process of lining up licensing rights.
In the case of The Beatles, it required the cooperation of EMI Music, which owns the recordings of the songs, as well as the individual owners of the original words and music. This involved working with Sony/ATV (partly owned by the Michael Jackson estate) for Paul McCartney and John Lennon songs; Harrisongs, Ltd. for George Harrison songs, and Ringo Starr, who owns the rights on his own work.