Music and video games have gone hand in hand for a while, long before the days of Rockband and Guitar Hero. We’ve seen a lot of music stars have titles of their own or cameo in games since the Atari days. Some of these you might know well, some you may have never knew existed.
The Blues Brothers Game
Guys, this really happened. Out for the Atari, PC and other platforms, it felt a lot like the Chip N Dale game we all know and love. Same side-scrolling action, same ability to pick up a variety of objects and throw them at enemies. The music in the game is actual music in the movie, which is a delight to hear in 8-bit form. The game is actually pretty fun, if a weird sort of choice of a movie-to-game crossover.
Remember Revolution X? If you’re thinking of Dance Dance Revolution X, then you are thinking of the wrong game. Revolution X is an arcade rail shooter that features the band Aerosmith. Yes, you read that right. It’s comparable in gameplay to the Terminator 2 arcade cabinet. You have to rescue Aerosmith, who has been captured by some dystopian group in the year 1996. I wish I were kidding, but this really existed.
What’s even better is that there was an easter egg that when you caused a particularly large explosion, you’d hear the classic “Toasty!” phrase from Mortal Kombat II (probably in reference to the fact that model/actress Kerri Hoskins plays the villain as well as Sonya in the MK series).
Rock Star Ate My Hamster
The title is weird enough, but so was the game. Created by Code Masters, it was a strategy management game where you have to select a band and earn 4 gold discs within a year’s time. The entire game is menu driven, with various selections moving you further into the game.
What was great about this game was the hilarious versions of major rock stars; Bill Collins, for Phil Collins, Wacko Jacko for Michael Jackson, Michael George for George Michaels, and so forth. They had a huge list of 80s stars, legends and rockers; Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Ozzy Osbourne, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner and Alice Cooper just to name a very small percentage. If anything, the game is great for comedy, but not much else.
I was obsessed with this game as a kid as everyone should have been. After all, you got to play as Michael Jackson and literally moonwalk when you wanted to, throwing your hat and defeating bad guys. It featured a soundtrack of all his songs, though which levels they lined up with varied, depending on the format the game was released on.
It’s considered a cult classic now, really depicting the change over of MJ’s career from his Thriller era to Bad era. Certain arcade cabinets could support up to 3 players, who all played Michael in 3 different suits. Nothing better than beating up bad guys to the tune of Smooth Criminal with your friends.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
Was this game one of the most ridiculous releases for the Playstation, or one of the most awesome? I guess that depends on who you ask. All nine members of the Wu-Tang clan appear in this game, along with a bunch of other fictional fighters and bosses. There IS a story, if not much of one, finishing moves and even a special edition controller that Sony made. Although the controller was so difficult to play with, it turned into a collector’s piece for most owners than anything else.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
50 Cent actually appears in a sequel to his original video game in Blood on the Sand. Seriously, a sequel! It’s crazy to think this guy has two video games under his belt, but even crazier when you actually experience them. On foot combat and vehicle missions are both found in the game, set in an urban warzone in an area 50 Cent is brought to play a concert. He gets paid in a diamond encrusted skull (really), which is promptly stolen by a terrorist. And there’s your plot.
Giant Bomb called the story “so awful, it’s amazing” and it was trashed by several reviewers and sites. Still, it was better received than his first game, so points for that, I guess.
And the rest…
Beyond games just about music artists, there are artists who have made cameos in games that had NOTHING to do with music artists. Take for example Phil Collins in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, where the player literally goes to a Phil Collins concert. Gene Simmons appeared as an unlockable character in Tony Hawk Underground. One of the most fun cameos in a game was when Snoop Dogg appeared in True Crime: Streets of L.A. He’s an unlockable, playable character than even has his own sayings and quotes.