One-half of the site recently set off on a magical mystery tour to try and uncover The Beatles' influence on gaming for the monthly magazine Wireframe. The feature spotlighted a bevy of Beatles fan games and official titles, like Beat the Beatles and The Beatles: Rock Band, but also briefly touched upon something that we felt was perhaps worth discussing in a little bit more detail.
Hidden away in a boxout was a reference to a licensed Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum game called Give My Regards To Broad Street, from Argus Press Software - a publisher owned by the same company behind magazines like Commodore Disk User, Computer Gamer, and Your Commodore.
The game was based on the flop of the same name, which Paul McCartney wrote and starred in back in 1984, and tasked players with driving around London to recover a set of missing master tapes. Unlike most licensees, though, who would simply sit back and let the developers do all the work, McCartney took it as an opportunity to get more familiar with the world of video games, meeting regularly with the development team to discuss the game's music and design.
As Argus Press Software managing director Harris tells Wireframe:
"[Music] was the bit that fascinated Paul and at first that was very much the focus for him - he didn’t want something that played one of his tracks poorly. It had to be the best it could. We had a number of meetings with him and his team at the offices in Soho Square as the development ran its course. He was very supportive and easy to work with, whilst keeping us on our toes on the design side."
The result is honestly not the worst thing we've ever played, but it's definitely not something we'll find ourselves in a hurry to ever play again either. One of the reasons for this is that it is exceptionally difficult to find out where you need to go.
The game came packaged with a color map of London, and you also have an onboard satnav at your disposal, but still, you'll find yourself driving around in circles, trying and failing to get to the right location in time. Driving the vehicle also isn't necessarily the easiest, with it being super easy to miss a turn in a panic and end up bumping repeatedly against the curb.
Despite these flaws, however, we must admit it's truly impressive to see a Beatle go this hard on trying to make a video game a full twenty-four years before The Beatles: Rock Band. McCartney clearly put his all into making the game a success, even going so far as to package it with extras like production stills and offering fans a chance to meet him if they could answer some questions about the game.
Harris tells us:
"We ran a launch competition for kids in some of Argus’s magazines and Paul himself suggested we had a party for the winners which he would attend and hand out prizes. which he did. He spent a lot of time with the kids. He also gave us a number of signed copies of the album for the winners and the dev team. In short, he helped us a lot to make a success of the game and [chart high] upon release."
Give My Regards To Broad Street probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Paul McCartney today, but it is certainly indicative of a creative curiosity that has spanned his entire career. Much like the other Beatles, he's always been interested in experimenting, and video games and video game music just happened to be another way to express this.
Did you play Give My Regards To Broad Street back when it came out? Better yet, were you one of the people who won the competition to meet Paul? Let us know!