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April 30, 2012 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Are there examples of video games inspired by popular music?

I'd really like to know if anyone has written games inspired by particular songs or, even better, each song in an album. We've certainly discussed video game music before, but I can't find what I'm thinking of. Say, each tune on Soundgarden's Screaming Life/Fopp made into a level in an adventure game. Are any bands doing this to promote an album/single, or any game-makers doing this to promote their work?
posted by klausman to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's this one.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:11 PM on April 30, 2012

Journey Escape?
posted by capnsue at 4:11 PM on April 30, 2012

It's not as comtemporary as you might be looking for, but there's Moonwalker.
posted by cribcage at 4:13 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does Biophilia count?
posted by en forme de poire at 4:21 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

not contemporary, but he was popular - eternal sonata is based upon chopin
posted by nadawi at 4:25 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are quite a few Flash games created to promote an album - The Veronicas Game or Lily Allen's Escape the Fear for example.
posted by Paragon at 4:35 PM on April 30, 2012

For some value, somewhere of "inspired," Revolution X and Aerosmith. And a game I haven't thought of in many years, Quest for Fame, also associated with Aerosmith.

Do the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games count?
posted by cmoj at 4:44 PM on April 30, 2012

The Polyphonic Spree Quest for the Rest, though this was more of a collaboration/marketing thing between the band and the game makers.

Also perhaps check out Brutal Legend - it's a high-budget game about the metal genre. (Jack Black and Ozzy Osbourne in a world of cover-art from metal albums made real)

any game-makers doing this to promote their work?

Generally it would be difficult to do this because fans (or anyone else) can't do it legally, there has to be licensing, which means lawyers, which means production companies. Production companies means the bottom dollar is what matters, which means that the amount of sales guaranteed by a music track probably aren't of interest.
Generally (as you know) it works the other way around - music is licensed for a title, so it helps the title, but the title doesn't rely on the music, other than cases like DDR / Guitar Hero, etc.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:03 PM on April 30, 2012

The Journey arcade game (not the 2600 version) was slightly groundbreaking in its use of digitized faces for the band members.

It was rumoured that this technology was originally planned for use in an arcade game where the player would take a picture of their own face, which would appear in the game. It was scrapped after players started taking pictures of, uh, other stuff.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:03 PM on April 30, 2012

And what about pinball machines?
posted by cmoj at 5:12 PM on April 30, 2012

I think Rez would fall into that category, though the music might not be super-familiar to the average person on the street. The idea was a blend of gameplay and music.
posted by tau_ceti at 5:34 PM on April 30, 2012

Bad Day on the Midway by the Residents sort of counts.
posted by item at 5:38 PM on April 30, 2012

Peter Gabriel's "Eve" incorporates his music
posted by davebush at 5:43 PM on April 30, 2012

Oh yeah. Clinic had this early little flash game for The Second Line.
posted by item at 5:45 PM on April 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's Apollo 18+20
posted by juv3nal at 9:36 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone. I assumed that bands release Flash games close to albums (Paragon, the Veronicas Game is HARD), but I guess I was thinking more about a game built on themes or lyrics in a song. The Clinic tune comes close since the game is the same as the music video (no real lyrics to call on from what I can tell...great song though). I haven't listened to/experienced the Bjork thing, but it looks very cool. I guess pinball would count if the point of the game was to play through the story in a song. Maybe that's what I'm trying to find specifically: a game that plays out the story in a song, or uses themes/lyrics to create landscape, plot, minibosses, whatever.

Does Biophilia do something like this?
posted by klausman at 9:55 PM on April 30, 2012

There was Queen: The eYe, but that was remixes for the game, rather than original material...
posted by gregjones at 10:52 PM on April 30, 2012

Here's a list of eleven games based on / inspired by music or musicians. Several mentioned upthread, but a few new ones, too.

Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
50 Cent: Blood On The Sand
Revolution X
Ed Hunter
The eYe
Crue Ball
Thompson Twins Adventure
Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:11 AM on May 1, 2012

Osada maybe not quite what you were looking for. It was however, the first thing that came to my mind.
posted by CoinOp at 3:37 AM on May 1, 2012

The 'emogame' series of flash games isn't based on songs in gameplay, but you play characters in various bands (not all emo bands, definitely some pop-punk in there last I saw, despite the name.) There is some punning on lyrics in weapons and so on, if I recall correctly (I'm in a place I can't check the original game and I remember it from 2004-5 or so...)
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2012

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