Rock and roll and video games were both rising in popularity in the 1980s. So, it’s no surprise that the two worlds collided and gave us some of the most memorable soundtracks in gaming history. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between 80s rock and roll and video games and look at some of the iconic games that featured this genre of music.
The Rise of 80s Rock and Roll
The 80s saw the emergence of a new era of rock and roll music. Bands like Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, and AC/DC became the biggest names in the industry, and their music dominated the charts. Their music was loud, bold, and full of energy, and it resonated with people all over the world. Many of these bands were heavily influenced by the rock bands of the 70s, such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but they took the genre to new heights with their larger-than-life personas and anthemic songs.
The Evolution of Video Games
The 80s were also a time of rapid evolution for video games. The first arcade games had been released in the 70s, but it wasn’t until the 80s that they really took off. Video game consoles like the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) gave people the ability to play games in their own homes, and the industry exploded. Developers were constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible with video game technology, and they were always looking for ways to make their games more engaging and immersive.
The Marriage of 80s Rock and Roll and Video Games
It was only a matter of time before these two cultural phenomena collided. Video games quickly became a new platform for 80s rock and roll music. Game developers realized that they could create an even more immersive experience by incorporating iconic songs into their games’ soundtracks. This led to some of the most memorable and influential video game soundtracks of all time.
Games that Defined the 80s Rock and Roll Soundtrack
1. ‘Guitar Hero’ – ‘Guitar Hero’ was released in 2005 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. The game tasked players with using a plastic guitar-shaped device to play along with popular songs, many of which were 80s rock anthems. The game’s soundtrack included songs like ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses, ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against the Machine, and ‘Even Flow’ by Pearl Jam.
2. ‘Rock Band’ – ‘Rock Band’ was essentially the same concept as ‘Guitar Hero’, but with a full band setup. Players could choose to play the drums, bass, guitar, or sing and play along with their favorite songs. The game’s soundtrack was also heavily influenced by 80s rock and roll, featuring songs like ‘Living on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi, ‘Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey, and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor.
3. ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’ – One of the most influential video games of all time, ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’ was released in 2002 and is set in a fictional version of Miami in 1986. The game’s soundtrack is made up of over 100 songs from the 80s, including hits like ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson, ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by The Buggles, and ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ by A Flock of Seagulls.
The Legacy of 80s Rock and Roll in Video Games
The influence of 80s rock and roll on video game soundtracks can still be felt today. Games like ‘Rocksmith’ and ‘Rocksmith 2014’ allow players to plug in their own guitars and learn to play along with their favorite songs. Even newer games like ‘Madden NFL’ or ‘FIFA’ feature a tracklist of popular songs that includes plenty of 80s rock tunes.
The 80s were a time of experimentation, boldness, and creativity in both rock and roll and video games. The union of the two created something even greater than the sum of its parts. The soundtrack of a video game can be just as important as its gameplay mechanics, and 80s rock and roll has proved to be the perfect complement to the exhilarating action that video games provide. It’s a match made in nostalgia heaven that will continue to inspire game developers, musicians, and gamers for years to come.