The only thing that goes better with smoking weed than playing video games is listening to the Grateful Dead. However, other than blasting Dick's Picks: Volume Whatever while beating Chrono Trigger for the seventh time, the closest anyone's come to combing the two was naming their World of Warcraft Night Elf mage "Pigpen."
But fear not, long strange trippers: San Francisco's hippie jam band ambassadors are getting their very own massively multiplayer online role playing game. Entitled The Epic Tour, the game stays true to the real world Grateful Dead experience. In it, players (or rather their dancing bear avatars) pick their favorite historical Dead shows and then have the opportunity to virtually relive them and/or have their faces stolen.
Yep, just like in real life, the Grateful Dead video game involves following the band around the universe while you and your friends turn into twirling cartoon animals made of pure light.
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The Epic Tour was created by Curious Sense, the same people behind REO Speedwagon's "hidden object" game, Find Your Own Way Home (really).
"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," Curious Sense CEO Adam Blumenthal told Rolling Stone. "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 under the "freemium" business model popularized by online games like Farmville and Club Penguin--an initially free membership, but with added perks costing anywhere between $10 and $400.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The game project is in its earliest stages, with developers currently mapping out which elements of the Dead universe to incorporate. Blumenthal says some songs are particularly conducive to gaming because of their narratives ("Terrapin Station"), imagery ("Dark Star") or characters ("Cosmic Charlie"). Such elements will be molded around templates common to casual games, such as hidden-object hunts and so-called "tower defense" games. "Think of the song 'Samson and Delilah,'" Blumenthal says. "Maybe we can make that into an Angry Birds kind of game?"
I think the phrase he was looking for was "Franklin's Tower Defense."
If all of that sounds too complicated, there's always Grateful Dead-olopy.
Check out this video, narrated by NBA Hall of Famer (and noted deadhead), Bill Walton, detailing some of the games trippy features: