The relationship between music and video games has always been close. And despite video games overtaking music in global revenues, it’s clear that music has so much more to offer gamers than a looped soundtrack.
This is because the rhythmic nature of music has been used to great effect by many games developers when synchronised with a player’s movements. What started in 1996 with Parappa the Rappa providing us with the first rhythm game quickly snowballed to the point where the wildly successful Guitar Hero series allowed all of us to appease our inner air-guitarist.
What made Guitar Hero such a big hit was the fact that its primitive guitar controller allowed fans to ‘play’ along with classic rock bands like ZZ Top and Motörhead despite having no idea how to play the instrument.
Such successes quickly gave rise to bands like Aerosmith and Metallica releasing their own licensed versions of Guitar Hero, and whilst The Beatles: Rock Band may have been the pinnacle of music video games crossovers, there have been many other stars who have tried to jump on the gaming bandwagon.
Last year we saw the Nicki Minaj: Empire mobile game giving us all a lesson in foul-mouthed rapping from the hip-hop star, and the Michael Jackson: King of Pop slot game on CasinoEuro gave an unexpected lease of life to one of music’s biggest icons.
What’s impressive is the sheer diversity of the music video gaming scene. Whether it’s the primitive likes of Beat Mania giving us chance to flex our DJ muscles, or SingStar revealing the disappointing truth about our singing skills, it all shows how intertwined music and gaming has become.
But many of the best music video games titles are when they do away with the actual stars. A great recent example was the weird horror rhythm game, Thumper, that used music as a powerful way to increase the adrenaline. And the Piano Tiles mobile game has shown how successfully the rhythm game concept could become when applied to a smartphone’s touchscreen.
And with the news that the hugely influential Rez rhythm game has received a virtual reboot with Rez Infinite for the PlayStation 4, it shows how fascinating the future of our music video games could become.