10 times a celebrity contributed music to a video game

The gaming medium has gradually become more mainstream. Originally considered a niche interest for computer geeks or children, audiences have grown and the medium has become even more lucrative. That kind of profitability and exposure attracts high-profile numbers. While it would have been unthinkable for a famous musician to contribute tracks to a video game during the 8-bit era, it is not unheard of today.

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As the audience for the medium has changed, so has the technology. During the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, games had no room for Redbook audio, making it impractical to hire well-known talent to compose music. But with the introduction of CDs, games could have music with live instruments and vocals. Here are some examples of games that have had music delivered by professional talent.

10 Rise Of The Robots has some music by Brian May

Rise of the Robots Cropped

Rise of the Robots is a completely incompetent 2D fighter whose only claim to fame was to be the only SNES car to boast of “Music by Brian May“on the packaging. This is true in the same sense as Home alone featuring a scene with Jimmy Stewart.

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The game’s title screen is accompanied by a short excerpt from a heavily compressed version of Brian May’s “The Dark”. Then there are completely original compositions from Richard Joseph. Apparently, the former Queen guitarist had indeed composed a complete soundtrack for the game, but it was blocked by his record company.

9 Method Man and Capcom Go Into A World Gone Sour

Method Man World Gone Sour Cropped

From Shaolin’s slums, the Wu-Tang Clan strikes again. Capcom, Method Man and Sour Patch Kids are probably a collaboration that could only happen in the video game world. World Gone Sour is a 2D platformer reminiscent of titles such as Small large planet.

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Despite being a game apparently made for children, the tone is very subversive and filled with comic self-irony, thanks to some snarky tale by Creed Bratton from The office fame. Why Capcom puts so much naughtiness and attitude into a game dedicated solely to advertising a recognizable candy brand is a mystery.

8 Lost Odyssey contains two songs by Sheena Easton

Lost Odyssey box art with main characters.

Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Lost Odyssey was basically an SNES JRPG with HD graphics and Hollywood production values. While the gameplay mechanics were as basic as it got, the creator was off Final Fantasy had not lost touch as he made emotionally resonant narratives with well-rounded characters. Microsoft basically gave Sakaguchi a blank check with this game, hiring renowned translator Jay Rubin and giving a colleague Final Fantasy alum Nobuo Uematsu a live orchestra to work with. In addition to Uematsu’s sublime tracks, the game featured two vocal songs provided by acclaimed Scottish singer Sheena Easton.

7 The Rapture contributes a Diss track in Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV Niko Bellic

A satire on American culture, Grand Theft Auto IV‘s radio stations feature numerous songs from many genres and artists. However, one song was made especially for the game: a song from the American rock group The Rapture entitled “No Sex For Ben”. The song is basically a diss song at the expense of Fat Truckers DJ Ben Rymer. Players can find the number on the indie rock station Radio Broker. Fortunately, it’s one of the few songs that was not a victim of Rockstar’s Steam update, which removed several tracks from the game due to licensing issues.

6 Snoop Dogg gets ready for the next match in Tekken

Snoop Dogg Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Cropped

Tekken Tag Tournament and its successor were non-canonical items that allowed players to challenge each other with teams of two fighters. As the game was free of the series’ major cannon, even characters suspected of being dead were allowed to enter the King of the Iron Fist tournament. As for the game’s soundtrack, producer Katsuhiro Harada stated that despite the various sounds from previous games, they had never tackled rap before. So it was that Snoop DO Double G even contributed “Knocc ‘Em Down” and even appeared on a stage in Take tournament 2.

5 David Bowie played in and composed music for Nomad Soul

David Bowie on the left, Boz from Omikron: The Nomad Soul on the right

The nomadic soul was a graphic adventure developed by Quantum Dream and released for the PC and Sega Dreamcast in 1999. The title also incorporated gameplay mechanics from other genres such as 2D warriors and first-person shooters. Director David Cage had a list of artists he wanted to recruit for this game, and publisher Eidos Interactive managed to get in touch with one of them. Songwriter David Bowie contributed ten tracks to the game and even borrowed his voice and resemblance to a character named Boz. His wife Iman even lent her voice to a character.

4 Megadeth makes a cover of Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem saves the day

It was 12 years ago that the cigar-loving movie that quoted the hero saved the Earth from aliens in Duke Nukem 3D. When Duke Nukem forever was released in 2011, it was heavily panned for its technical flaws, excessive reliance on pop culture references, and its abrupt shift in tone during the chapter on alien hive.

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Heavy Metal band Megadeth performed with a cover of the theme for Duke Nukem 3D, “Grabbe.” The song was originally composed by Lee Jackson, who had worked on previous 3D Realm games such as The emergence of the triad.

3 Michael Jackson’s Brad Buxer contributed songs to Sonic 3

michael jackson sonic 3

While Masato Nakamura had contributed wonderful compositions in the first two Sonic titles, Sega initially decided to go with an internal talent for the third entry. However, Michael Jackson was a fan of the series and approached the company with the prospect of contributing numbers to the third game. There are conflicting reports of what happened next. STI producer Roger Hector claims the scandals led to Sega firing Jackson from Japan. Conversely, Brad Buxor claims that Jackson was not happy with the Genesis sound chip and refused to be associated with a product that devalued his music.

2 Nine Inch Nails give the dark mood of Quake

Quake Nine Inch Nails Logo cropped

Trent Reznor was a big fan of Doom, and Id Software often listened to Nine Inch Nails during game development. It seemed like a collaboration that was meant when both parties agreed to work together on Id’s third groundbreaking FPS, Trembling. Regarding the soundtrack, Trent Reznor stated, “it’s not music; it’s textures and moods and swirling machine noise and stuff like that. “In addition to including numbers of Nine Inch Nails, their logo appeared on the nail gun’s ammunition boxes. Nine Inch Nails surrounding numbers were contributing to the dark Lovecraftian sense of Trembling, why the subsequent ports suffered during their absence.

1 Paul McCartney pleads for hope for the future in destiny

Paul McCartney Destiny

When long glory composer Martin O’Donnell was contacted with the prospect of collaborating with The Beatles songwriter and vocalist Paul McCartney, he thought it was a joke. However, after hearing some tracks from Halo Reach, McCartney expressed interest in contributing a number to Bungee’s sequel Fate. He had never made a song for a video game before and enjoyed the opportunity to make something that he thought his grandchildren would enjoy. He compared the experience to composing Live and let die for James Bond films of the same name.

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