What’s that sound?
In “Music Games Rock,” Scott Steinberg chronicles the rise and fall of the video game music genre. You know, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, and the like.
But there are plenty of precursors featuring famous faces.
From KISS on a pinball machine to the Wu-Tang Clan fighting their way through a host of ninja, the history is long, storied, and occasionally, ridiculous.
(You can download the book here for free.)
Grab your fake drum set and join the fun.
Bally Manufacturing Corporation produced 17,000 units in 1978.
According to Allan Reizman, the engineering lab supervisor at Bally:
The talking Kiss prototype did make it out of the lab at least once and was displayed at the 1979 AMOA show in Chicago where it was viewed by all. I believe it said things like, 'Shoot the K' and 'Kiss!' when you completed a Kiss row. Somebody recently reminded me it groaned, 'Too much Rock and Roll!' when you tilted it.
The game was only done as a one-time concept.
Fun fact: The maximum displayed point score is 999,990 per player.
Here's an exhaustive tour of one:
Journey Escape shares its name with the band's album. It is for Atari and features a dramatic plot line!
You're on the road with Journey, one of the world's hottest rock groups. A spectacular performance has just ended. Now it's up to you to guide each Journey Band Member past hordes of Love-Crazed Groupies, Sneaky Photographers, and Shifty-Eyed Promoters to the safety of the Journey Escape Vehicle in time to make the next concert. Your mighty manager and loyal roadies are there to help, but the escape is up to you!
Journey, the 1983 effort from Bally Midway, is simply named for the band.
Jackson helped design the gameplay, plot, and features. From the ever reliable Wikipedia:
The story, which is taken from the Moonwalker film, follows Michael, using various music and dance related abilities, on a quest to save kidnapped children from the hands of the evil 'Mr. Big'.
As if you expected anything else.
The intro is awesome. As for the game... well, let's just say we can't picture Motley Crew playing this in the dressing room.
Eve is Peter Gabriel's second multimedia effort, a mixture of art and music within an interactive game where you try to change a surreal landscape into a paradise by clicking in the correct spots. The game's story involves Adam and Eve being separated in the Garden of Eden, and Pandora's Box has scattered objects across four game worlds which must be explored and various bits of video and music located to solve the riddle of 'the Relationship between man, women and nature.'
It was Posh and the gang's world, the rest of us were just living in it.
The game is set in the future where the world is ruled by an all-seeing machine called 'The eYe' which has eradicated everything that promotes creative expression. You play Dubroc, a secret agent of The eYe who in the course of his duties has re-discovered a database of popular rock music, and is sentenced to death in 'The Arena', a live television show broadcast through satellites to the world in which the contestant battles fighting arena champions called the Watchers... from there Dubroc, the secret agent, goes on a quest to destroy The eYe. Elements of the story do seem to bear a remarkable resemblance to that of the later Queen musical, We Will Rock You.
The Playstation 1 game allowed up to four players to fight side-by-side. And fatalities. Lots and lost of fatalities.
Fun fact: 'Due to the game's graphic depictions of blood and violence, a special code had to be entered within the game to see the full, uncensored action.'
Make up? Check. Music? Check. First-person shooter? Check.
The game, based on the Psycho Circus comic books drawn by Todd McFarlane, was released for PC and Dreamcast. Versions for PlayStation and Game Boy colour never made it to the consumer.
The PS 2 and Xbox game starred the rapper who got shot nine times in real life. He tracks down the man who tried to kill him with the help of Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Dr. Dre, Eminem, and a host of other famous musicians.
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (2007, Activision), Metallica (2009), and Van Halen (2009) took the format further.
Much-loved band + exclusive songs and access = success. Or so Activision thought. The series has since fallen on hard times, and the company benched the series indefinitely.
The Beatles: Rock Band (2009, MTV) and Green Day: Rock Band (2010, Electronic Arts) mimicked the formula as well.
The Beatles was hugely anticipated. And successful.
Really, should it end anywhere else? (Gosh, that looks hard.)
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