Although not as important as they used to be, licensed games have been a part of video game history. Between the 80’s and 2010’s, tie-in games were greenlit to almost anything and everything. Some of these titles featured games inspired by famous bands like Journey, ranging from the mundane to the weird.
Journey was popular enough to inspire two games (one for the arcade and one for the arcade). travel escape for the Atari 2600), but their fame and games faded over time. Unfortunately, the same fate befell these other bands and their games. While some endured as weird but fun nostalgic memories, others were lost over time.
10 Journey (1983) Pit Players Against Obsessive Alien Fans
In the ’80s, Journey was one of the biggest acts, and arcades were one of the favorite pastimes for kids. Bally Midway took advantage of these different trends by combining them in the arcade game Trip, an anthology of mini-games where players helped the band Journey escape alien fans.
Aliens in particular stole Journey’s instruments, and players helped them retrieve them in time for the concert finale. In the final level, players take on the role of a roadie keeping alien fans under control while Journey rocks. As silly and novel as that sounds, Trip was voted one of the worst arcade games of all time.
9 Beatle Quest was a text adventure using the lyrics of The Beatles
The Beatles’ music (particularly the songs that came out of their psychedelic phase) lends itself well to visual storytelling, as seen in their musical cartoon Yellow Submarine. With this in mind, it may seem odd that the Beatles’ music was used for a text game for the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1985.
in the Beatle Search, Players took on the role of the keeper of the archives, collecting the history of old Earth. Some old lyrics are Beatles songs, and knowing their lyrics helped players progress. Beatle search was actually more of a trivia game for dedicated fans, but it was successful enough to garner a trilogy that was scrapped mid-development.
8th Def Jam Rapstar has ditched the street fights for sing-along fun
For most gamers, Def Jam is synonymous with a gritty fighting game, not the record label. The allure of Def Jam games saw established rappers like Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Snoop Dogg and more battle it out and this carried the franchise through four successful games. But then Def Jam shook things along rap star
rap star was not unlike a karaoke game lips; Only this time the players sang famous rap songs. rap star wasn’t bad but far from the rest Def Jam series, and fans tend to ignore it. This is also worth mentioning rap star is currently the last Def Jam game, and the franchise has been dormant ever since.
7 KISS: Rock City Let KISS help players launch their music career
Given KISS’s reputation for lending their likeness to almost everything, it might come as a surprise to know that they only have a very limited number of official video games. Their most famous games are pinball titles and a jittery one DOOM clone in Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Childbut they also have a relaxed management simulation.
in the rock city, Players control an amateur band that receives career advice from KISS, portrayed as edgy demigods. Rhythm-based mini-games set to KISS music are spliced between the slice-of-life segments. As uneventful as this mobile game may sound, rock city is actually one of KISS’s best-accepted bonding materials.
6 Greetings to Broad Street had a video game sequel
Give my regards to Broad Street was a 1984 musical drama in which three of the Beatles portrayed fictionalized versions of themselves. To put it bluntly, it was Paul McCartney’s transparent vanity project and it failed commercially and critically. But for some reason this film got a play for the Commodore 64 and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
The game was a sequel to the film, and players took control of McCartney as he embarked on another adventure for his missing master tapes. The game version of Give my regards to Broad Street was brutalized, and only its soundtrack was praised. At best, a fold-out map of London was included with the game.
5 Revolution X had Aerosmith lead a musical uprising
The weird thing Revolution X was not only that Aerosmith’s music was powerful enough to inspire revolution in a dystopian future, but that it isn’t the only game to use such a plot device. Temporarily ignoring this coincidence, this was the premise of Revolution X: an Aerosmith shooter that dominated 1994.
At the time of its publication, Revolution X was one of the most popular games, and its solid gameplay earned it widespread praise and a lasting legacy. It was so popular that it was ported to home consoles. Although the ports were bad, Revolution X persisted as a tongue-in-cheek homage to one of the biggest rock bands of the ’90s.
4 Queen: The Eye challenged a dystopian dark fantasy with the music of Queen
The second licensed band game featuring rock music influencing a revolution against an oppressive system The eye, built entirely around the music of Queen. Released for the PC on five discs, The eye was the kind of adventure game that only the most die-hard Queen fans could reasonably appreciate because it was so bad.
the eyes Graphics and gameplay were criticized for feeling dated when it was released in 1998. Unfortunately, listening to Queen’s music was the only redeeming quality anyone got from it. For what it’s worth the eyes Concepts and ideas were better utilized in the jukebox musical We will Rock You, which was better than the game.
3 Wu-Tang: Shaolin-style occupation of the Wu-Tang clan in a wuxia game
If their name doesn’t make it more obvious, the members of the Wu Tang Clan are fans of kung fu movies and other popular entertainment. The rap group’s lyrics were loaded with shouts and soundbites from Hong Kong movies, and they took their love of kung fu to the next level Shaolin style (or taste the pain in other regions).
Released for the PlayStation, Shaolin style was a fighting game in which the nine members of Wu-Tang Clan were playable characters. Depending on the mode, players fought in either co-op or free-for-all. Although it has been criticized for unresponsive controls (especially the custom W controller), Shaolin style was praised as an obvious passion project.
2 Hail To The King: Deathbat played the Avenged Sevenfold mascot
Fans of the heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold can easily recognize their mascot, the Deathbat, who was iconic enough to dedicate an entire game to him. Hail the King: Deathbat is not only an origin story of sorts for Deathbat, but also a dark fantasy retelling of the art for Avenged Sevenfold’s album Hail to the King.
in the hail the king, Players controlled Andronikos, the resurrected king of the underworld and the newest incarnation of the Deathbat. Players regained dominion over the underworld as the music of Avenged Sevenfold blared in the background. The game wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but as far as licensed games go, Hail to the king wasn’t half bad.
1 Holy Diver was an unofficial fan tribute to Dio’s 1983 album
Based on its pitch, holy diver because the Famicom seemed to be the ultimate crossover. The game took its title from Dio’s album of the same name and featured Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osborne, Zakk Wylde and Randy Rhoads in an epic fantasy war against The Black Slayer. The problem is holy diver was not actually licensed by the names involved.
holy diver is an unofficial fan homage to the aforementioned 80’s music icons, and for copyright reasons Holy Driver remained exclusive to Japan from 1989 to 2018. Holy Driver became an urban legend among western gaming archivists, and they finally got their official NES copies through Retro-Bit Publishing’s Collector’s Editions in 2018.
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