Most dedicated rock fans don’t really think about video games as an avenue through which they can enjoy their favourite bands and artists. But when you take a closer look, there’s been a surprisingly interesting history of partnerships between rock and game developers. It hasn’t always worked out, but there have been some pretty entertaining rock-based games, and you can actually still play a few of them on various platforms.
Yes, there’s a game that’s just called Motorhead, and yes, it was awesome. This game was put out by Amiga back in 1992, and it was basically a side-scrolling beat-em-up adventure featuring Lemmy as the hero and plenty of fun musical themes. One recap of the game explains that the different levels were built around musical themes, such that a Nashville level played country music, while a cathedral level played gothic tones. The intro music is suitably grounded in hard rock, however, as you prepare to guide Lemmy through a bizarre, violent adventure.
Brutal Legend took the number one slot in a list of the most metal video games ever created, and with good reason. This was an adventure game in which players controlled Eddie Riggs (Jack Black) from a third person perspective. The idea was to navigate a fantasy world based on hard rock album covers, all while using ridiculous weapons like a battle axe and a mystical guitar, and encountering characters voiced by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, and Lemmy. It was released in 2009 for PC and consoles, and actually got some pretty strong praise from critics.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater
Tony Hawk Pro Skater is more of a series than just one game, but it also made it onto the same list that Brutal Legend took the top spot on, and with good reason. More than anything else, the Pro Skater series celebrated punk rock, though tracks from the likes of Rage Against The Machine and the Dead Kennedys have also appeared in these games. There was always just something awesome about flying through the air or grinding down rails to a catchy rock tune.
Guitar Hero: World Tour
We know that the Guitar Hero series helped to bring a whole new concept of musical gaming to life, and really any game from the series will do. But the “World Tour” version released in 2008 has to have been the most rewarding for pure rock fans. The game came loaded with 86 songs from groups ranging from Nirvana and Foo Fighters to Van Halen and Metallica, to Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World. There were dozens of noteworthy artists and bands on the list, and fans got to play their way through all kinds of memorable hit tracks.
Guns N’ Roses Slots
It’s actually become somewhat common to find rock artists mixed into collections of slot reels and jackpots at modern gaming sites. The idea is to cater to as broad a range of players as possible, and it seems that developers have decided on classic rock as a nice attraction. The Guns N’ Roses game, which opens with the band’s legendary logo and features numerous famous tracks, has actually been featured on a list of the 20 most popular NetEnt casino games, taking the eighth spot (just ahead of a Jimi Hendrix game at nine!).
METALLICA: Damage Inc.
Finally, there’s a fascinating game called METALLICA: Damage Inc., which actually doesn’t exist. But it’s still a rock fan’s dream, particularly since video surfaced of what the gameplay would have looked like. It was designed as a violent, hectic “post-apocalyptic racing game” somewhat in the vein of Grand Theft Auto. Presumably it would have featured the band members as characters and their music in the background, but from the look of things the game would have been fun to play regardless. It looks like it would have been a wild ride.