Aerosmith, 50 Cent and other surprising musician game tie-ins

Word that Snoop Dogg will star in his own video game is odd - but by no means unique - news.


Over the past few decades a whole host of notable music stars have dabbled with video game appearances, and the majority of them have been similarly bizarre.

Over the following gallery we'll take a look at some of the stranger examples of musician-based games we've seen over the years. We're ignoring the likes of Britney's Dance Beat and Ubisoft's numerous artist-based dance games - like Michael Jackson: The Experience, The Black Eyed Peas Experience and Abba: You Can Dance - because games about dancing to a pop star's music make sense. These ones don't.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (Various, 1989-90)

The late King Of Pop was a massive fan of video games, so it's no surprise that he starred in a series of games based on his odd loads-of-music-videos-joined-together 'movie'. There were three Moonwalker games released, the most popular being the side-scrolling platformer released on the Mega Drive, Master System and Game Gear and developed by Sega AM7 (Shinobi, Alex Kidd).
Sega also released an arcade version of Moonwalker which was more of an isometric beat 'em up than a side-scroller (check it out here). The home computer version, meanwhile, was published by US Gold and featured top-down maze-style gameplay (have a look at the C64 version here, complete with Jacko chiptune goodness).
MJ would later star in other games, including Space Channel 5 Part 2 and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2, but Moonwalker will always be his most well-known mark on gaming.

Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (PlayStation, 1999)

In 1998 Paradox Development had just put the finishing touches to its gory fighting game Thrill Kill. With excessively gruesome fatalities, bondage-influenced costumes and a move list that included names like "Swallow This" and "Bitch Slap", Thrill Kill was sure to be one of the most controversial games ever. When EA bought out the game's publisher Virgin Interactive, however, it refused to release Thrill Kill because it didn't want to "publish such a senselessly violent game". It was never released (though the dev team leaked it online and it's widely available in bootleg form).

Stuck with a finished game engine but no game, Paradox finally got the chance to make use of its hard work when Activision commissioned them to make a fighting game based on New York rap squad the Wu-Tang Clan. Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (known as Taste The Pain in the UK) played just like Thrill Kill, albeit with slightly toned-down violence and rappers instead of gimps.

Without the controversy Thrill Kill could have enjoyed, Paradox's shonky game was exposed and Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style wasn't a critical success. Even the weird Wu-Tang symbol controller released with the game, though amazing to look at, was awkward to play with.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood (C64/Spectrum/CPC, 1985)

If you ask us, there aren't enough games in which you play as a shadow in Liverpool, trying to reach the Pleasuredome. Thankfully, that's the premise of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the video game based on the '80s Scouse synthpop band of the same name. Based on the band's imagery and slogans, the game sees you trying to become a full person by filling your sex, war, love and faith gauges, while also playing various mini-games and trying to solve a murder at the same time. That's Liverpool for you, though.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood was an ambitious and surreal game, mainly thanks to its mini-games, which you had to step into when they appeared in the world almost like desktop windows (this was before Microsoft's Windows, mind). One game saw you as Ronald Reagan spitting on Gorbachev and Maggie Thatcher, while another put you in charge of an anti-aircraft gun as you defended Liverpool from Nazi bombers.

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