While doing research for Pigtails and Army Boots yesterday, I came across this game
Brutal Legend. A game that stars Jack Black as a roadie who is an expert on heavy metal music. he has a collapse and somehow ends up in a world where all the heavy metal album covers come to life. As if that didn't sound good enough- Lita Ford, Lemmy from Motorhead and Rob Halford also appear in the game! Mike and I have been talking about getting an XBox, and I think this might have just swung it!
Anyway, it got me thinking about the role of music in gaming. It's much more than it ever used to be, when it once wa sonly really music/dj software on p.c's mainly, it's now branched into a serious moneyspinner for companies like Activision.
I think it all began with the "Dancemat" phenomenon. It started off in the arcades, you could go on a machine and dance in time by following the arrows on the screen. It got so popular that they made console games of it, so everyone could enjoy dancemats in their living rooms.
Then of course, we have the karaoke games such as "Singstar" and "Lips". A step forward from a karaoke machine, (for a start it's the proper track that plays normally and not some plinky plonky cover!) you can plug in your microphone and the screen will tell you if you're hitting those notes! (at least on singstar, I've never played Lips)
Finally, probably the biggest success of music in gaming is the Guitar Hero/Rock Band franchises. Games where you could at least pretend to be able to play an instrument and be a rock god/dess. Some musical people claim that it's a bad thing, and puts people off wanting to play a real guitar, but personally I disagree. For one, any intelligent person knows that they way you play these fake instuments is not in anyway alike to how you would play the real thing. For another, I think it more likely encourages people to want to learn to play the real thing. And also for someone that is more into games than music, this might be a gateway to becoming a fan of rock music! Unsigned bands have been featured in these type of games meaning a massive exposure which can only be a positive thing!
Gaming and music have not always sat in harmony side by side, but now I think they are merging more and more, especially with this new game Brutal Legend featuring metal music in such a big way.
Personally I love Singstar and Guitar Hero, I'm not a huge gamer but I play on these, and find them great for socialising as well!
So music and gaming? A big thumbs up from me!