The last five years have made for an interesting time for rock ’n’ roll in gaming. Essentially, we witnessed bands and their representatives finding more ways to link up with game developers and distributors for promotional purposes.
First, we saw a sudden but notable explosion of rock-themed slot machines at casino sites. This happened right around the time the Guns N’ Roses revival was kicking off, but it ultimately became a trend roping in a number of classic rock bands and individual artists. Meanwhile, around the same time, we began to see rock music seep into the emerging VR gaming category as well. Rock Band VR was a fairly early release in modern virtual reality —which Wired incidentally referred to as the “perfect medium for indulging the rock-god fantasy.” This game and others like it (like Riff) gave people their most realistic means yet of simulating rock performances with actual, famous music.
These examples have actually made for some excellent publicity for rock, and thinking about them we can’t help but wonder what more could be done. So how else might we hope to see rock fuse with modern gaming?
Console Game Themes
It’s not uncommon to see mainstream console video games with underlying musical themes. The most prominent example of late was probably Cyberpunk 2077 — a wildly hyped and ultimately ill-fated game that nonetheless had a remarkable soundtrack. It focused primarily on electronic music, to the point that the soundtrack more or less defined the game’s atmosphere. The same thing can be done with rock however, and many gamers actually got a reminder of how satisfying this can be when the early release from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise were remastered and re-released. These games’ soundtracks consist largely of infectious punk and pop rock, and the games are better for it. We could (and should) see more games applying rock this way, potentially even to benefit some modern groups and artists through exposure.
App Arcade Games
The idea of building console games around rock soundtracks apply to original app arcade games as well. In fact, it would be easier for mobile developers to work on games like these for niche audiences — and potentially even set up games that feature known artists or bands. In this regard we can’t help but think back to Brütal Legend — a game revolving around heavy metal and specifically (if indirectly) dealing with Jack Black’s band. It was a fun game, it was a blast musically, and one could imagine all kinds of similar experiences being designed for mobile gaming.
Online Bingo Rooms
Online bingo is following in the footsteps of online slot machines, in that developers are designing the newest games with eye-catching visuals and exciting themes. It stands to reason then that just as we saw classic rock themes become prevalent in the slot category, there could be a coming infusion of rock in internet bingo rooms. Plus, that history aside, there are some bingo rooms built around music already. On Gala Bingo, “Bingo Beats” and “Bingo Beats Chakra” are among the most prominently featured titles, appealing to gamers almost entirely through music. Similar games featuring popular rock music aren’t a stretch at all especially considering the aforementioned platform has so many Norse themed titles that could be directly related to heavy rock songs.
Finally, there’s also the simple possibility of turning well-known and well-liked rock pinball machines into digital experiences. It’s not something that’s never been done, but it’s still somewhat surprising that there isn’t a whole suite of mobile pinball apps imitating these real-world machines.
All of these possibilities represent opportunities for rock groups, fans, and game developers alike. We don’t know if we’ll see them come to fruition, but if and when we do, California Rock News will keep you up to date.