The 5 Most Absurd Video Games Starring Rock Stars
Being a famous musician comes with a lot of perks. Throngs of adoring fans enamored with your every move. More sex and drugs than one person should ever have access to. And, apparently, the means to get completely idiotic video games commissioned in your name.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Yes, in the mid-80s Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who you may not even remember as the band who scored a massive hit with the song "Relax," had a video game that was playable on the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum home computer.
And yes, you're right: the game is all kinds of gay. Not "gay" in the "teenager insult" sense. No, this game is gay in the sense that a dude who likes other dudes is, literally, gay. That appears to be the entire point. You have to admit, it's a theme rarely explored in games of the era.
The objective of the game is to reach the Pleasuredome. As an aside, let me ask: Do you want to go to the Pleasuredome? Regardless of sexual orientation, I'm seriously asking, do you want to go to the Pleasuredome? I bet you don't. Why? Because "Pleasuredome" is the kind of name that you know is just some sort of set up. It's too good to be true.
Imagine hitting the town with your friends and one of them says, "Hey, we should head to the Pleasuredome." And you're all, "What is that?" And your friend replies, "Duh, it's a dome." And everyone laughs because it seems like a stupid question. But it's not a stupid question, is it? What kind of pleasure will you find at this dome? Who will be providing the pleasure?
Where's the dome?
All valid questions. Like the old saying goes, "One man's pleasure is another man's butt plug/ball gag combo inserted by a midget in a spiked leather mask while ferocious house music pulsates in the background."
Anyway, not just anyone can get to the Pleasuredome in this game. No, you have to build up your attributes. Specifically, your sex, love, war and religion attributes. How do you build them up? By getting pleasure units from Frankie, you naughty minx!
Once each attribute is built to 99 percent strength, you're considered a real person and thus worthy of entering the Pleasuredome. Why not build the attributes up to 100 percent, you ask? Yeah, so do I.
And in case you're wondering, yes, those four symbols in the corner of that picture do represent the four attributes and yes, of course, one of them is jizz. Does that make you uneasy?
Well Frankie says, "Relax!" If anything is going to make you uneasy, let it be the fact that along the way to the Pleasuredome, you have to complete several mini-games, one of which is called Sea of Holes.
Revolution X was a light gun arcade game produced by Midway in 1994. It was later ported to several home consoles including SNES. The objective of the game was a dubious one to say the least: Save the members of mid-90s era Aerosmith from the clutches of a corrupt alliance of government forces referred to as the New Order Nation (or NON).
This premise strikes me as ridiculous for a few reasons. First of all, unless this kidnapping is in some way going to prevent them from recording the Rocks album back in the 1970s, I really couldn't care less. What's the worst that would have happened if Aerosmith got snatched from us in 1994? Celine Dion records "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" instead? Who cares?
Also, the reason the NON has targeted Aerosmith is because they've declared war on the youth culture. So they kidnap fucking Aerosmith? In 1994? Wouldn't they have been better served by ordering Courtney Love to kill Kurt Cobain?
Wayne's World counts as "youth culture" right?
But wait, it gets better! In order to complete the game, you have to rescue all five members of the band, who are hidden throughout various parts of the game. How do you rescue them? Why, you shoot them when they sprout wings, naturally! Wait, a game that requires me to shoot the members of Aerosmith in order to defeat it? I take back everything I said. Sign me up.
Imagine encountering this at your local arcade back in 1983 and, upon seeing the futuristic artwork on the side of the cabinet and that ambiguous yet enthralling title you find yourself thinking, Yes, must play. Now imagine putting your quarter in and finding out the game is literally about Journey, the band.
Not a cosmic journey to battle space aliens. Not a mythical journey to slay dragons. Just a journey to help see to it that the band Journey lives to spend another day rocking "Wheel in the Sky" on stage.
To make matters worse, they're, like, in there. In the game. So instead of it just being some vanity label where the "band" is actually represented by whatever multi-colored pixel blocks were supposed to be people back in 1983, you get this:
What are your thoughts on how you spent your 25 cents now? Because you've just spent it helping Steve Perry navigate his way through what appears to be an army of just barely attacking hand exercisers. Do they intend to annihilate the assuredly robust moose knuckle he's likely rocking in those pixilated jeans? If so, I'm on their side, I hope the bad guys win.
On a related and ridiculously awesome side note, the space age technology that allowed the game developers to use actual black and white photos of the band within the game was originally intended to be used to take pictures of game players whenever they achieved a high score. But that idea was abandoned after players flashed the camera during testing. Journey fans, such a rowdy bunch.
Will you climb aboard his starship?
And speaking of Journey fans, if you want to see way more pictures of one of these Journey games in pristine condition, this fan has one. Would it surprise you to know he also has a Camaro? Would it surprise you even more to know that he has a webpage dedicated to that Camaro and that if you go there, a midi version of "The Final Countdown" by Europe plays in the background? Yep, none of that surprised me either.
Power Factory featuring C + C Music Factory
If anyone you know through some odd set of circumstances ever finds themselves forever enshrined in the halls of history as a video game character and for some reason tries to lord that fact over you, reply thusly: "Yeah, fucking C + C Music Factory was in a video game too." That should end their gloating right there on the spot.
So we've established that this thing even being allowed to exist is a blight against the achievements of man, but what about the game? Did it at least redeem its questionable right to be by kicking hella ass? Of course not.
Basically, the bottom of the screen ran three video feeds. One of them was an actual C + C Music Factory video. So there's strike one. The other two feeds are of random stock footage that is sent to a master recorder using the A, B or C buttons. So if you hear the word "butter" somewhere in the song and a stick of butter is on the screen at the same time, you press the appropriate button to edit a picture of a stick of butter into the video that you are in charge of editing together.
Shit, did they say "crying baby" or "guy in Navy?" (Source)
And your reward for this epic achievement in the field of hand-eye coordination? You get to watch the video. Or try again if you fucked up. Either way, you're listening to a whole lot of C + C Music Factory, so really, nobody wins.
No one but the devil.
The Thompson Twins Adventure
If you're wondering how or why British one hit wonders The Thompson Twins wound up with their own video game, keep wondering. Some mysteries are just not meant to be solved. But if you're looking at that picture of the Thompson Twins Adventure Game and wondering how in the hell a vinyl LP can be a video game, shockingly, the answer is quite simple. And quite retarded.
Think about it: This must have been one of the first shitty video games ever bought en masse by confused-but-well-meaning aunts.
Apparently, players had to record the vinyl LP onto a cassette tape which, when played on their hilarious 1980s era computers, produced a breathtaking adventure game with thrills and action the likes of which haven't been seen since The Oregon Trail. With the cutting edge graphics to match!
Holy shit, it really is The Thompson Twins!
If that screenshot looks exciting, just wait until you play The Thompson Twins Adventure yourself, which you can totally still do right here. The game is one of those old school text adventures where you just kind of have to know what to type in order to make the game work. I'd love to tell you about all of the different levels and adventures to be found within this white knuckle cliffhanger of a game, but all of the fun I needed was found in the first seconds of playing when I learned you could do this...
Which immediately results in this...