Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

We shan’t spoil the best part of this text-based Paul McCartney game, but know this: It rules

There are plenty of little tiny moments of delight in The Paul McCartney Simulator, an itch.io text-based adventure game from Brooklyn comedian Ramsey Ess. But the best is one that’s such a fun, weird, perfect, and oddly relatable surprise that we’re loathe to spoil it. Perhaps you should go play it and then we can get down to business. But first, some details:

The premise of The Paul McCartney simulator is straightforward enough. You are Paul McCartney, sometimes known as Macca, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who was for some 11 years the frontperson for a band called Wings, and before that was one of four strikingly coiffed young men in an outfit called The Beatles (not a typo). You can choose to enter your life in one of three years: in 1968, as you and your fellow Beatles are attempting to record the eventual theme song to the 1989-1193 ABC television show Life Goes On; 1973, which finds you onstage with the rest of the Wings band, including your wife Linda; or 2018, in which you’re somehow doing Carpool Karaoke. You make decisions, have things added to or removed from your inventory, and occasionally jump around in time.


Playing through the whole thing doesn’t take long, unless you make the same wrong choices over and over again. The surprise we’re talking about takes place in the 2018 segment (although there are fun weird twists in the other two as well). You can start with whichever year you like, but this writer went chronologically, and it looks like you can’t get to the surprise part of the thing unless you’ve worked through 1968 and 1973 properly first. Go and do that, and we’ll put a song by that nice McCartney fellow here to block you from seeing what’s below. Scroll down when you’re ready.

Ready? Here goes:

Perfect. There are lots of wonderful little digs throughout this section, but that first glimpse is what truly won us over. Well done, Mr. Ess, and thank you for reminding us that when you’ve got a job to do, you’ve got to do it well, you’ve got to give the other fella hell. Especially if that fella is James Corden.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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