Game over: 27 years of rock star videogame badness
27th May 2010 | 09:50
Here at MusicRadar, we like music. And here at MusicRadar, we also like videogames. New Klaxons track? Love it. Red Dead Redemption? Loving that too.
So now we've established we're not haters, it's time to get the knives out and look at the world of videogames based on rock bands.
That's not games with licensed soundtracks but actual games based around an actual band. It's usually an adventure. It's sometimes a shooter. It's even been a pinball sim (twice actually). But what it also is 99 times out a hundred is a bit bloody rubbish.
Sound harsh? Well check the image at the top of this page and tell me you think they're brilliant. Exactly.
So kick back and have a look at these blasts from the past. Apart from avoiding the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games of the current generation (we'd be here all day), we're going to say it's pretty complete - unless, of course, you know better. Let us know in the comments below or via Facebook and Twitter (mark you entries #askmusicradar as usual please).
Enough waffle - time to go on a Journey…
In 1983, Journey celebrated the release of Frontiers with a tie-in arcade game. The cabinet featured a cassette player which played a looped version of Separate Ways. Not Journey's finest moment this, to be honest...
Wu-Tang: Taste The Pain
Not only do The Wu release an iffy PlayStation beat'em-up called Taste The Pain (Shaolin Style in the US) in 1999, they release a rubbish controller. Fact: your author once had one of these. Fact (ii) They're worth a quite a bundle of eBay. Sob...
Frankie - The Computer Game
Debuting in 1985 for the ZX Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad, this baby had you solving a murder on the streets of Liverpool whilst searching for the Pleasuredome. Now, it was rough back in the Eighties but this is ridiculous...
Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
This slice of awful is a first-person shooter based on the Todd McFarlene comic - think Quake in slap. Sadly, the game is about a Kiss tribute band. Really. And to think, we could've featured PlayStation <cough> classic Kiss Pinball…
This 1994 arcade lightgun affair had you rescuing a kidnapped Aerosmith in an inevitably distopian future. Reasonably popular in the arcades, it stiffed on console and the projected Public Enemy sequel died a death. Best bit? Steven Tyler screaming "Remember, music is the weapon!"
A 1984 CD-ROM (remember them?) which combines a game (think dull ambient adventure Myst set in Paisley Park) combined with lots of the multimedia freebies you used to ignore on CD singles. Came with an exclusive song and a tattoo, bizarrely. Us neither...
The Blues Brothers
A 1984 game for any console that would have it, The Blues Brothers was risible. Here's what Wikipedia has to say: "The characters have the ability to pick up objects (generally boxes) and either put them down to stand on them, or throw them at enemies." That spinning sound you hear etc…
The Shaky Game
Time for a spot of Shaky! The Shaky Game was released in 1983 on the b-side of This Ole House and comes with a message from Mr Barratt himself explaining the rules. Given it's a maze game, we're not quite sure exactly what needed explaining…
A 1998 PlayStation dance game featuring superdeformed versions of our favourite grrl group where you must teach your spicy avatar dance moves and how to pinch Prince Charles's arse (really). Given it was released a week after Geri quit, not exactly Girl Power's finest moment…
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Based on the film, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (1989) had you/Jacko rescuing kidnapped children from an evil Mr Big. Hmm. Released on various consoles in various states of good/badness, the game might not be all that but the synth versions of Billie Jean and Beat It are well worth tracking down on YouTube
A 3-CD (two of which feature Maiden tunes) release back in '99, Ed Hunter is a 'on rails' PC shooter that takes our hero, via locations inspired by Maiden album covers, from prison to hell via a mental institution. Not exactly Ico, is it?
Thompson Twins Adventure Game
Given away as a flexi-disc with games mag C&VG in 1984, once recorded onto cassette and loaded (!), this Spectrum adventure saw you guiding the trio around beaches, avoiding drowning, exploring caves and Not Much Else
And here's the reason we didn't bother with Kiss Pinball - the mighty Crüe Ball, a 1992 EA pinball sim that was originally intended as an MTV license but when the price got too high, acquired its Crüeness at the last minute. Nice to know these things are planned
Released via the cassette version of The Stranglers album Aural Sculpture (1984), Aural Quest was a text adventure written by keyboard player, Dave Greenfield. Rather than play as JJ or Hugh, you played as the tour manager. Ouch
Queen: The eYe
More distopian futureness with this 1998 action adventure, hidden amongst a 5CD Queen boxset which also included now-collectible instrumental versions of Queen hits. Weak gameplay, dated graphics, a storyline quite similar to we Will Rock You… It's not sounding good, is it?
Give My Regards To Broad Street
A 1985 tie-in with the movie of the same name, this <cough> proto GTA has you driving around a surprisingly accurate map of London looking for musical notes with which to create No More Lonely Nights. Yes, we know
Make My Video
The Make My Video series debuted in 1992 as a series of Sega CD titles based around making a video promo. Whether it was the Kris Kross, INXS or Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch versions, all should've ended up on the cutting room floor
Rap Jam: Volume One
We'll gloss over Def Jam: Fight For New York (which is actually pretty good) and shine the spotlight of shame on this 1995 basketball sim for the SNES. Flavor Flav vs Queen Latifah plus the graphics of the devil? No wonder we never saw Volume Two
N*Sync: Get To The Show
The Game Boy Color gets a AAA killer release with… Nope, can't type it. This 2001 piece of nonsense featured Trousersnake and his N*Sync chums getting - yes - to the show. And playing hackysack. Us neither
50 Cent: Bulletproof
Fiddy goes for the next-gen coin with this ultra-violent shooter where you star as a revenge-fuelled rapper out to off the hitmen who tried to kill you. Life imitating art? Only if guest star Dr Dre is really an arms dealer and Eminem is a corrupt police officer. Anything can happen (like a sequel - which did last year)
A 1985 text adventure for the C64 and ZX Spectrum where the game descriptions are entirely comprised of Beatles lyrics. One for hardcore fans only - who else would tolerate the 'You'll get by with a little help from your friends' response given when asking the game for Help…
Now free on Oldfield's website, this virtual reality title has you flying around a fantasy world in a quest for seven gold rings. Lucky inhabitants sometimes had the ex-progger join them for a virtual chat. Say what you like but that doesn't happen in Warcraft…
Devo Presents… Adventures Of The Smart Patrol
Save Spudland from Turkey Monkey! Laugh at the smart-arse kitsch humour! Be surprised when poorly-digitised nudie ladies start turning up! Even back in 1996, Windows adventures were better than this…
Released on the back of the ex-Freshie singer's 1983 seven-inch, when stuck on a cassette and screeched at a Speccy this game… well, disappointed. Sievey did lots more computer-y type stuff but only achieved fame when donning a papier-mache head and calling himself Frank Sidebottom. Little Frank!!
Liked this? Now read: The best 8-bit covers albums in the world… ever!
Get MusicRadar straight to your inbox: Sign up for the free weekly newsletter