To me, pop stars always seem like awful people, apart from Adele who seems fairly normal even though she probably isn't. It's inevitable, I suppose. Being screamed at night after night by people who think you're a god would do funny things to anyone's brain.
I mean, every famous or semi-famous musician I've ever met - and upon reflection, I've met about three - has been a weird mix of arrogance and crippling insecurity.
I once went to a party where the music was switched off so that some bloody woman and her boyfriend - who used to be in the band Reef - could get up and "jam". It wasn't so much an effort to entertain as it was an exercise in getting everyone to look at them.
Next time I go to a party I know they're going to be at, I'm bringing a crow with me. When I'm confident that everyone is having a good time, I'm going to smash the sound system to pieces, tell them all to stop dancing and having their conversations and enjoying themselves, because my crow wants to spend two hours showing them how good it is at flapping its wings and making bird noises.
Then I'm going to attach a length of twine to the bird's legs, and swing it hard into the faces of the Reef man and his girlfriend, and say: "THAT'S FOR RUINING MY EVENING ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO."
Anyway. Here are 11 games inspired by top pop stars - the most important people in the world.
Aimed at the band's predominantly young female audience, it placed players in the role of chauffeur and general dogsbody - attempting to fulfil every desire of the band members on the long journey to play a pop concert. Their whims would require you to manufacture hamburgers, or find a bowling alley so they could knock over some pins. And, of course, ensure that the boys get a good night's rest by silencing crying babies and noisy telephones.
Yes: essentially you would play the part of *NSYNC's slave. Which raises enormous questions about the passive servitude implicit in nature of the relationship between fans and pop stars.
*NSTYNC more like.
They also upset the Radio One DJ Mike Read with the words to their single Relax, which was subsequently banned by the BBC: "Relax don't do it/When you want to come/Come-oh oh oh...."
Although, to be honest, I never really understood from those lyrics whether I was meant to relax or not, which has led to a lifetime of confusion and sexual dysfunction.
Of course, none of this made it into Ocean's Frankie Goes to Hollywood game, which needed to be sanitised in order to be stocked by the family-friendly WH Smiths. Nevertheless, it became one of the more esoteric and ambitious games of the era.
"An animated strategy adventure played on several levels," is how some man who worked on the game once described it. It was a sort of point-and-click adventure, broken up with mini games that obliquely referenced Frankie lyrics (one was a shoot 'em up utilising charicatures of Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher)..
The player's character had to explore a mid-80s Liverpool, looking to accrue four attributes - Sex, War, Love and Faith - in order to become fully human, and gain access to the Pleasuredome. There's also a murder which needs solving. It was a weird, rather avant-garde, experience - certainly unlike anything else - and was resplendent in some typically excellent cover art from Ocean mainstay Bob Wakelin.
Having discovered that the computer was trying to stop people having fun or listening to Queen or something, the hideously polygonised Dubroc sets out into a pre-rendered world full of puzzles and ugly pre-rendered cutscenes.
The Queen connection? It boasted a soundtrack comprised of instrumental versions of Queen songs, which - given that these were predominantly made up of crunching Brian May guitar riffs - seemed to do their upmost to sap atmosphere from an otherwise almost reasonable game.
So, no Freddie Mercury, but you did get voices provided by - incongruously - Avon, Servalan and Orac from Blake's 7.
Amazingly, this searingly accurate simulation of life in one of the world's hottest rock groups was only the first of two early-80s games inspired by Journey.
The other was an arcade game (the main thrust of which put players in the role of a security guard, attempting to stop fans rushing the stage at a Journey concert - suggesting a definite message in the two Journey games about the band not wanting to interact with their fans).
Of course, Journey's greatest contributions to popular culture are the song Don't Stop Believing and the phrase "I don't know any other Journey songs".
For this game, the player performed the role of choreographer for a Spice Girls TV appearance - pre-programming their moves and choosing camera angles. It's the sort of thing that these days would held up as an example of the patriarchy's attempts to control and manipulate women.
In his 2005 trial for child sexual abuse, Michael Jackson revealed that Bubbles helped him do chores around his house. However, Jackson's housemaid countered that Bubbles created additional work for her, as she would often have to clean blobs of faeces from the walls of the Neverland ranch (though never specified whether the blobs originated from Bubbles or Jackson himself).
Anyway. Moonwalker. The console and home computer versions were somewhat different to the arcade original, and focused on Michael looking for children...
"He's a smoooooooth criminal!"
Or was anyway. Allegedly.
Iron Maiden had previously teased a game called "Melt" - which was apparently cancelled for being terrible. It begs the question of just how bad it must've been for Ed Hunter to be considered good enough to release.
At the time, bassist Steve Harris remarked of Ed Hunter: "It's like walking into a 3D version of the Somewhere in Time album cover, like going into the bar at the Ruskin Arms, only full of aliens and stuff. You go in and we'll be, like, holograms playing in the corner, or sitting at a table gambling. And then you've actually got the game itself, which is, like, this big shoot-'em-up chase through space and time to catch Eddie. It's brilliant."
No it wasn't, Steve. It was shit.
Unlocking all the content was a matter of finding the scattered pieces of that weird symbol Prince once changed his name to (having rejected "&" and ";"), though other secrets were waiting to be found along the way. This included discovering the secret hiding place where Prince kept his whips (not a joke), and a golden door upon which were the embossed figures of two scantily-clad women who begged you to touch them in order for the door to be unlocked.
Talk about door knockers etc...!!!!!!!!!!
After being captured en route to an illegal Aerosmith gig, Revolution X required players to shoot at the forces of NON - the New Order Nation - and rescue the imprisoned members of the band, while trying not to accidentally shoot any saucy ladydancers. Interestingly, the final stage took place at Wembley Stadium.
I used to work at Wembley Stadium and Arena. Here are some highlights from my soon-to-be-released tell-all memoir of that time, showing the true nature of these people:
- I snuck into the Pet Shop Boys' dressing room the night after a gig, and there was salad scattered everywhere.
- I walked past the prog band Yes in the corridor after they came off stage, and was appalled by how much make-up they were wearing.
- Neil Diamond asked for the auditorium to be cleared for his soundcheck, and he shuffled on stage in a cardigan, slippers, and glasses, looking like somebody's grandad.
And, let's face it, most of us did want to see Wu-Tang Clan getting beaten to a bloodied pulp.
I don't know about you, but my subconscious rarely imagines any creatures, but evidently Thom Yorke spends his life wandering around with images of imaginary creatures popping into his head.
"What's the matter Thom? You've got a faraway look on your face again."
"Oh. Sorry, Other Band Member. My subconscious just imagined a sort of pig creature with two trunks - a porkhonkuss."
Soundtracked by an ever-evolving version of the track Bloom, Polyfauna allowed players to alter a surreal and stylised world by tilting their phones, and drawing on the screen with their willies (fingers).
Not a patch on that other Radiohead game, Radiohead: The Creep....