Motörhead are currently on tour (including a stop at the House of Blues in Anaheim), they also play a role in upcoming action/adventure game Brütal Legend, out next week on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (we got a chance to play it at Comic-Con this year, it's a fun, straight-forward beat 'em up with some cool visuals).
That game, with Jack Black voicing the main character and additional vocal appearances from Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and Motörhead singer Lemmy will probably be a hit. These video games, also featuring famous rock stars? Not so lucky. In this age of Guitar Hero and Rock Band--and The Beatles Rock Band establishing itself as the hot item of the holiday 2009 season--it's easy to forget that video games and music have been intersecting for a while now, most of the time with rather questionable (read: shitty) results.
Rise of the Robots, Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis/3DO/pretty much everything invented in 1994
Is it OK if we get a little personal here? As a kid, I got this game on the SNES. As a present. That's important to note. I tried to be polite, but it sucked bad. Even this trailer/infomercial seems sneakily skeptical of the game's merits: "a futuristic motif proven in focus groups!" The connection to music comes from its "score," purportedly penned by legendary Queen guitarist Brian May. As it turns out, though, only a short snippet of an intro actually ended up in the final product (thanks, Wikipedia!). That didn't stop the game's manufactures from pasting May's name all over the packaging--because, y'know, there's nothing your average preteen boy in 1994 would get more excited about than some Brian May instrumentals in the background of a game where robots fight.
Revolution X, arcade/Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis/Sega Saturn/Playstation
There were no cooler band in the year 1994 than Aerosmith. Wait, that's not true. Still, there's no other band that you would more closely associate with a scrappy youth movement violent rebelling against a twisted dystopian future that's outlawed music, TV and video games (like the town from Footloose on crack) than Aerosmith. OK, alright. The fact that this game involved Aerosmith at all remains inexplicable to this day, given that it was pretty much just your typical sci fi-tinged railshooter, but with Aerosmith thrown in as the folks you need to save. Y'know, since they're the archetypal examples of truth, art and beauty in modern society. Aerosmith songs were thrown haphazardly into the background; essentially a tacit admission by producers that the game's connection to the band was tenuous at best.
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Def Jam: Fight for NY, Playstation 2, Nintendo Game Cube, Xbox
If you've ever wanted to see Omar Epps beat the crap out of Redman, well, you're weird. But you're also in luck! This 2004 fighting game featured a bunch of rappers--and, for whatever reason, Omar Epps, Carmen Electra and Danny Trejo--and the ability to finally pit them against each other, like a Battle of the Network Stars for hip hop. (And an actual battle.) Ludacris vs. Slick Rick? Sure! Warren G vs. Busta Rhymes? OK! This was actually the sequel to Def Jam Vendetta, which had less rappers, and was followed by Def Jam: Icon, which added Big Boi, Lil Jon (yeah!) and T.I. to the mix. But Henry Rollins was in this one. Yeah. Next step: fighting game characters vs. rappers. Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat vs. Xzibit. Guile from Street Fighter II vs. Flavor Flav. Let's make this happen.
'N Sync: Get to the Show!, Game Boy Color
Never played this 2001 game (honest!), but it seems to take the frosted-tipped cake for sheer unoriginality. According to this description, one of the mini-games is "Burger Craze," in which "hamburger ingredients continually fall from the top of the screen." Um, isn't that BurgerTime? And exactly what the fuck does that have to do with 'N Sync, anyway? (Well, Joey Fatone probably enjoyed a burger or two in his time.) This game also seems so bad that the Internet has nearly erased it from history, with the above link being one of the few things still extant about the title. (It doesn't have a Wikipedia entry, which pretty much means it doesn't exist.) I recently spotted it at Games 4 Less in Santa Ana; someone should snag that, the rest of the copies might have been dumped in a landfill a la the Atari E.T. game.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
The cheerful insanity of this game makes it so, so worth it. In the first 50 Cent video game, 2005's 50 Cent: Bulletproof, you played as 50 and navigated your way through tough street terrain looking for revenge on hitmen who tried to off you; Eminem, Dr. Dre and the G-Unit all made cameos. Pretty much what you'd expect a 50 Cent video game to be like. This one went wildly off the rails, where 50 Cent and the G-Unit are recast as action heroes, kicking ass in the middle east after they get paid for a gig with a diamond-encrusted skull that's later stolen. You use rocket launchers and drive Humvees and all that. This game was actually fairly well-reviewed (good thing, because it sounds awesome), and just came out this year, even if it sounds like an idea from the Laverne & Shirley in the Army-era '70s.