The Grateful Dead are a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing they aren't is an immersive, online experience capable of sucking away your money and free time without forcing you to leave your computer chair. Yet.
Curious Sense, the same company responsible for REO Speedwagon's "hidden object" game, Find Your Own Way Home (you thought I was kidding, didn't you?), will be creating a massively multiplayer online role-playing game called The Epic Tour that will allow thousands of tech-savvy hippies to vicariously relieve the famous Dead shows that their older, less-tech-savvy relatives rant about every Christmas. ("Mom, I don't want to talk to Uncle Moonbeam! He keeps talking about long strange trips and orange sunshine, whatever that is!)
Curious Sense CEO Adam Blumenthal:
"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. 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 game is expected to go live next April, working under the "freemium" model used by games like Farmville: it's free to join, but add-ons and perks can cost anywhere from $10 (smoke a joint with Jerry before the show!) to $400 (kill Donna Godchaux).
Look, I'm a pretty casual Dead fan. I think they wrote some great songs, earned some insufferable fans, and are responsible, spiritually, at least, for some of the worst bands currently working today. But does the Deadhead culture really need something else that will encourage them to piss money away while doing absolutely nothing? Was there really the danger of any one of them slipping into productivity?
Or this is more symptomatic of the Baby Boomers' endless attempts to keep foisting their memories on the rest of us? No, I wasn't alive in the '60s, and no, I don't particularly care. I have internet porn and and iPod and basic personal-hygiene skills, and those are all working out quite nicely, thanks. I don't need to relive your experiences through a video game; I hear enough about them through endless montage sequences set to "All Along the Watchtower" on the History Channel.
Then there's this video, which is narrated by noted ginger/NBA star/Deadhead Bill Walton. It's everything you'd expect from a Grateful Dead-related video game: grinning narrator who sounds like he's smoked half of Humboldt, eye-bleedingly ugly visuals, and those fucking bears.