The Grateful Dead have their own golf balls, wine, neckties, USB drives, blankets and wind chimes – and now they have their very own video game, too. Today, the band launched “Phase One” of The Epic Tour at GratefulDeadGame.com, allowing early users to design their own Dancing Bear avatar and cast votes for their favorite Dead shows of all time. The top 10 user-voted shows will form the “itinerary” for The Epic Tour, in which gamers will work interactively to try to see every show on the tour – an endeavor that, for many Deadheads, will cause real-world flashbacks.
The Epic Tour is also designed to be a social game in which users battle good and evil forces (“Light” versus “Dark”) in a communal experience aimed toward finding some kind of higher ground, so to speak. But mostly, players are just trying to get to the next show, represented here as planets in the Grateful Dead time-space continuum. The full virtual tour will launch in April 2012, with the 10 epic shows and planets announced on January 31st, 2012. A variety of game packages are currently available, ranging from the common-lot “Burrito” level ($10) to the VIP “Diamond” level ($400). Memberships include a variety of both real and virtual items, including “Stealies” (the virtual currency of The Epic Tour), posters and even laminates. The game was produced by Curious Sense Inc. in partnership with Grateful Dead Productions and Rhino Entertainment. Check out a trailer for the game featuring a voiceover by celebrity Deadhead Bill Walton who – as an NBA champion – is no stranger to games himself.