Best Music Inspired Video Games

By Mitch Rice

Video games love taking beloved pop culture classics and turning them into playable narratives. Sometimes, it’s a thoughtless cash grab that produces the worst games we’ve ever seen, including the infamous ET video game. Other times, it produces cult classics that create a perfect blend of treasured bands, iconic music, and powerful narratives.

What follows is a list of video games inspired by music.

Jimi Hendrix Slot

Slot Games are probably not the first things that spring to mind when you think about video games. But they deserve a mention, nonetheless.

The online gambling industry is booming and developers are sinking huge sums into licenses and technologies to create great games. Unlike their video game counterparts, online slots based on popular licenses are nearly always the cream of the crop. They’re not cash grabs because they can’t afford to be.

Developers of online slots spend a lot of money on those licenses and have a lot of expectations upon them, and so they do their best to make them special.

The Jimi Hendrix slot is a prime example of this. It features a psychedelic aesthetic, with peace symbols, music symbols, and plenty of flower power. The game opens with the iconic riff from the start of Voodoo Child and music also plays throughout the slot.

Ed Hunter, Iron Maiden

Ed Hunter was an Iron Maiden greatest hits album released in 1999. The legendary heavy metal band also created an Ed Hunter game to go along with the release, depicting their ghoulish mascot as he advances through levels themed around former Iron Maiden album covers.

It was a simple rail shooter in the style of Doom, and while it’s a little dated now, it was great fun for Maiden fans at the time of its release.

Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend was a 2009 console and PC release that was critically praised but didn’t sell as well as expected. The action-adventure game followed a heavy metal roadie who was transported to a fantasy world inspired by heavy metal album covers.

It included voice acting from several heavy metal legends, including Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) and Rob Halford (Judas Priest), as well as over 100 classic heavy metal songs.

KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child

KISS were one of the biggest American rock bands of the 1970s, releasing classics like Rock And Roll All Nite, Detroit Rock City, and I Was Made For Lovin’ You. In the decades since, we’ve seen those painted faces on a few pinball machines and video games. KISS pinball machines are actually higher sought-after and collectible, and while the same can’t be said for the KISS video game, it’s still worth a play.

KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child was released in 2000, initially as a PC game and then for Dreamcast. Like Ed Hunter, it was heavily influenced by Doom and received average marks from critics and players.

Video Games Inspired by Music

The aforementioned titles are just a small selection of stand-out video games and online slots based on music. There have been many other titles released, including a Queen action-adventure game known as The eYe, and the dungeon-crawler/RPG Hail to the King, which was based on the origin of Avenged Sevenfold’s Deathbat mascot.

It’s a merger that has happened many times (most commonly, it seems, in the rock and metal genres) and one that we’ll likely see more of in the future