If you think of musicians and video games, chances are you’re going to think of some fantastic soundtracks that have graced the genre. You may also think of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, but it’s doubtful that you’ll think of those times that singers, rappers, and guitar totting bad-asses have appeared in those products that have graced your console or PC.
It’s a weird thing to see a person that is explicitly known for busting out rhymes and tunes suddenly show up on your screen as you play your way through whatever it is that you’ve parted cash for, but it happens, and it happens a lot more than you think. Like always with these lists, some of the games have been terrible, some passable, and occasionally some have managed to hit that sweet spot of brilliance, though very rarely if truth be told. So come with me as we take a look at the strangest times musicians have appeared in video games.
Strangest Musician Appearances In Video Games
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Let’s start with the oldest game on this list, shall we? For those of you that don’t remember Frankie Goes To Hollywood, they exploded on the British music scene with a little song called “Relax” which subsequently got banned by the BBC which made everyone and their auntie rush out and buy it, automatically making them the biggest band in the country. So it came as no surprise that they took a crack at dominating the gaming industry, as it was, back in 1985 with the game, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The idea behind it is that the player is in search of the Pleasuredome and through the medium of mini-games must raise their stats in Sex, War, Love, and Faith to accomplish this. There’s also a murder that has to be solved as well, kind of like in Cluedo, for which you get bonus points. It is, quite frankly, as crap as it sounds.
Curtis Jackson had taken the rap world by storm with his debut “Live Rich or Die Tryin'” so it only seemed natural that he’d attempt to do the same with video games. His 2005 release Bulletproof was, if I’m kind, not very good though it had the intriguing premise of ol’ Fiddy being dragged back into his past life and uncovering an international conspiracy. Problem was it was just so poorly done that it didn’t even cross over into the good-because-it’s-terrible line of games you sometimes get. Somehow it got a sequel in 2009 in Blood On The Sand which saw 50 and the other members of G-Unit head to an unnamed Middle East country and murder a shed load of terrorists. It’s as bonkers as it sounds and what’s even stranger is the fact that it’s pretty damn fun to play.
The Sims: Superstar expansion pack has a hell of a lot of famous people in it. You’ve got the likes of Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, and Avril Lavigne? Yup, I’m afraid so. The Canadian born singer (?), actress (??), and Chad Kroeger shagger somehow managed to get EA to pay her a truckload of cash to appear in their game but what does she do to be worthy of such a hefty payday? Bugger all, that’s what. She stands around so you can ask her for her autograph and that’s about it. So yeah, obviously worth the fat ass paycheck she got for her likeness then.
Lemmy, Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne, and Lita Ford
I could’ve cheated here and used each one of these rock legends, and Lita Ford, as separate entries. I would’ve saved myself a lot of time, but that would’ve been cheap and easy and contrary to what the toilet graffiti might say, I’m not like that. The unholy trinity of rock and metal, and Lita Ford appeared in Tim Schafer’s 2009 game Brutal Legend, but sadly, even they couldn’t save what should’ve been a brilliant adventure from being just mediocre. Still, if you ever find yourself missing Mr. Kilmister, and who doesn’t, then you can always boot up a copy and visit him.
From three rock and metal legends, we now move onto Fred Durst. Well, you can’t have it all, I suppose. The red backward baseball cap-wearing jock rock band leading William Frederick Durst hasn’t been in just one video game, oh no, but has the hat-trick as he’s appeared in three. Showing up in Smackdown: Just Bring It would only be the start of Freddie boys attempt to ruin your favorite thing ever, which he’d continue with thanks to appearances in WWF Raw and Fight Club. Still, all three games do allow you to smash him repeatedly in the face, so I suppose they have that going for them.
As there were three main titles to this fighting series, as well as a spinoff for the PSP, it’s just easier to lump them all under one banner. This is because there were so many rappers on board, happy to beat the living hell out of each other for your pixelated entertainment, that to pick out just one or two would be insane. So if you ever wanted to see Snoop throw down with Henry Rollins, or watch as Lil’ Kim laid the hurt on Carmen Elektra, the Def Jam series is for you.
Wu-Tang Shaolin Style, aka Taste The Pain in PAL regions, is an awful game. Its controls are almost impossible to use and as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on what you’re doing the difficulty level spikes like a diabetic who’s missed their insulin shot but you know what? I love it. You may think that I’m crazy for feeling this way about a game that’s, at times, almost unplayable but the Wu-Tang Clan are one of my favorite group of artists ever. In fact, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) still sounds as fresh and original today as it did when it was released 25 years ago and because of that, and that alone, I’m more than willing to overlook this games massive faults and dust off my old PS One whenever I feel the urge to kick some ass, O.D.B style.
From a bunch of guys who I’d crawl across broken glass to see to someone that I wouldn’t piss on if he was on fire. I want to apologize to any of you who are reading this and are Phil Collins fans, but this is going to be a hatchet job. For some unknown reason, Rockstar decided that GTA Vice City Stories would be vastly improved if it had this muppet in it. The idea is that someone’s trying to bump old Phil off, possibly someone who’s heard his music, and it’s your job to protect him. If you do, though why you would beat me, then you’re “rewarded” with the ability to buy a ticket for $6,000 to watch him perform an uninterrupted version of “In The Air Tonight.” Or you could shoot yourself.
If you’ve ever looked at Gene Simmons and thought to yourself, “I wonder if he could perform a grind or a kickflip in those boots?” then good news!!! Grab yourself a copy of Tony Hawks Underground and unlock his character to find out. It’s not just strange that Gene is playable, though that in itself is pretty damn weird, but also that he’s got some great stats to go along with it. It’s also a tad odd that no other member of Kiss wanted to jump on board and show off their skills, maybe Paul Stanley is so vain that he didn’t want people smashing up a digital rendering of him.
The New Order Nation has abducted Aerosmith and it’s up to you to save them. You do this by firing CD’s at enemies because it was the 1990s and of course you did. And that’s pretty much all there is to this on-rail shooter known as Revolution X. It’s not that great, but you do get a killer Aerosmith soundtrack to accompany you on your rampage as well as a sweet muzak version of “Love In An Elevator” as you, well, ride in an elevator in a later level. Funny really, the band claimed they were clean around this time in their career yet the existence of this game seems to suggest otherwise.