Imagine your favorite video games but without the background music. Games often hinge on music to establish the tone of the story and to guide you on how you should feel about a particular moment. One genre, in particular, has had a special place in video games. Rock music is often associated with high adrenaline and excitement, making it perfect for gaming.
Indeed, many games through the years have heavily featured a variety of rock music. In fact, games such as 2016’s Doom featured music that riffed off rock staples like Metallica, Judas Priest, and Slayer. While it’s impressive that rock has carved a space for itself in the gaming industry, its influence on the medium doesn’t end there. Rock music has transitioned from the background to the center stage, and even to the point where it’s the game itself. If you want to learn more about this, read on to know how rock music has become its own gaming genre!
Music and Games
You can’t talk about rock as a genre without discussing the impact that arcade rhythm games had on gaming in general. Games such as Dance Dance Revolution paved the way for a new kind of gaming experience, one where dexterity mattered more than ever. From there, the games would change. While Dance Dance Revolution focused on the feet and dancing, games such as Beatmania turned its attention to percussion. The games allowed users to play along with music, matching the beats with gamepads that they would strike with drum sticks.
When gaming transitioned to the home, music became even more important. PaRappa the Rapper is a great example of a console game that heavily featured various genres of music in 1997. And when games transitioned online at around the same time – you guessed it – music played a crucial role. There’s no better example of this than the famous multiplayer rhythm game, Audition Online, which was released in 2004. Even flash and quick games have followed suit. There are a variety of rock music titles featured on Cheeky Bingo, including Elvis The King Lives, which uses famous songs from the King of Rock n’ Roll, and Monsters of Rock Megaways, which like Guitar Hero puts players in the shoes of a rock star, that appeal to both music and gaming fans. More rhythm games eventually entered the scene, like the multiplayer online game O2Jam, which featured rhythm game elements played on a keyboard instead of a gamepad. However, if we’re to point to the exact moment that rock music became a video game genre look no further than Guitar Hero.
Guitar Hero was released in 2005 and changed both the gaming industry and the music industry as a whole. Similar to rhythm games, players also played along with accompanying music. However, it had two main differences.
The first difference was the controller. Instead of hitting a drum pad, the game came with a guitar controller that players could use to strum along similar to how a real guitar would work. The second difference? The games featured popular rock songs from the biggest musicians in the world. And while this was good for the game, it also led to a surge in the revival of rock music. In fact, The Guardian details that many bands made much more money from being on Guitar Hero than any of their previous albums. Since Guitar Hero many games tried to replicate its success. Popular music game Rock Band even took it a step further by incorporating both drums and vocals to the equation.
While this rock music seems to have considerably dipped in popularity in recent years, there’s no denying the impact it had on gaming and pop culture in general. Who knows, in the next few years a new game could come along to give the genre a boost.