The Top 7… weirdest music games ever

Is everyone loving The Beatles: Rock Band? In this new age of lifelike mo-cap, crisp digital audio and video games being more mainstream than ever, we’re finally seeing the most famous rock gods and musical heroes take to the polygonal stage in games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero.  However, slapping a celebrity musician’s face on the box of your shiny new game isn’t actually that novel; in fact, since Journey Escape on the Atari 2600, every notable band from Aerosmith and Queen to Kris Kross and INXS has graced the world of videogames in a vain attempt to shift copies. Heck, there was even another Beatles game, long before Harmonix entered the scene.

Above: Just the tip of the musical iceberg 

We’ve already given you the worst music-themed games of all time, but here are the weirdest psychedelic first-person puzzlers, text adventures and full-motion video games we could dig up.

7. Beatle Quest

1985 (Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum)

For the first, and last, game from Number 9 Software, programmer Gary Marsh dreamt up a way to combine his two most passionate hobbies: legendary British rock/pop band The Beatles, and obscure Commodore 64 text adventures.

The love child from this sordid relationship? A piece of interactive fiction comprised almost entirely of Beatles lyrics. “You can see a young girl, about seventeen (you know what I mean). The way she looks is way beyond compare.” We’re not making this up; the game’s descriptions are pieced together from the Liverpudlians’ entire back catalogue.

To make matters worse, Number 9 wasn’t concerned with confusing the crap out of you by replacing “you can’t do that” style messages with a cryptic “Goo Goo G’Joob?,” and a plea for help gives the eternally unhelpful reply, “You'll get by with a little help from your friends.”

6. Give My Regards to Broad Street

1985 (Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum)

The Fab Four dropped a few members for the Paul McCartney-masterminded film Give My Regards to Broad Street. In the movie, Paul chases a seedy crook that’s pinched his next album’s master recordings, only to find that the thief’s accidentally locked himself in a shed. It flopped.

In the game, however, you drive a car around a very green version of London (it’s changed a lot since the ‘80s, we guess), trying to figure out which tube stations your band members will emerge from, so you can rerecord the album’s first single, No More Lonely Nights. It probably flopped.

In its defence, it did reproduce a pretty snazzy version of Wings’ ‘Band on the Run’ via the Commodore’s sound chip, and getting your car clamped for parking too long should totally be a feature in Grand Theft Auto V.


Top 7

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  • scythedd7 - January 24, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    what? No Gitaroo Man on the PS2? I'm pretty sure that's the weirdest (and one of the most awesome) music based games I've ever played. Battling people with music by shooting lightning out of a guitar and then literary dodging and blocking the other players music is pretty weird.
  • FALLINGINFIRE - October 13, 2009 8:31 p.m.

    I LOVE ETERNAL SONATA ReCAPTCHA: wassails worsching
  • twishart - October 8, 2009 9:33 p.m.

    I was hoping to see Journey Escape here - only because I've got such weird memories of that game. One of those things that, at four years old, you were kind of freaked out at but still couldn't look away from. "Don't Stop Believin'" is one of my favorite songs of all time, and I figure it's because it was permanently etched into my memory through this game. Also it's fucking awesome.
  • DanAmrich - October 8, 2009 7:42 p.m.

    I love that the Journey arcade game somehow got a pass. Everything here is certifiably weirder.
  • Spybreak8 - October 8, 2009 12:08 a.m.

    wow, lol.
  • toastedmilk - October 6, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    "To make matters worse, Number 9 wasn’t concerned with confusing the crap out of you by replacing “you can’t do that” style messages with a cryptic “Goo Goo G’Joob?,”" rather ironic considering "you can't do that" is actually the name of a beatles song from a hard day's night.
  • TheGiaour - October 6, 2009 7:43 a.m.

    Love that last swipe at people who point out the most irrelevant points in an article. Nice work.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - October 6, 2009 4:04 a.m.

    Not even a passing mention of Revolution X? I cry.
  • CH3BURASHKA - October 6, 2009 3:42 a.m.

    Cool article about auditory stimulating video simulations! Of all the ones I've read, this one is the most comprehensive.
  • RatPuncher - October 5, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    A game based on Beatles lyrics sounds awesome on paper. "It's like Yellow Submarine - but interactive!"
  • lovinmyps3 - October 5, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    I thought Brett would be the one writing this, but I guess this is "music games" and not "video game music". Haha
  • Auron - October 5, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    Eternal Sonata was a beautiful game, sound-wise and graphic-wise with a deep storyline and even though it did have long cutscenes I believe that Tri-Crescendo did a wonderful job on this game.
  • waynski1457 - October 5, 2009 9:42 p.m.

    2 things: Eternal Sonata was great, and now I really want to drive a car that's been clamped in GTA, Simpsons style.
  • skyguy343 - October 5, 2009 9:22 p.m.

    still waiting for guitar hero: queen done a la rock band: beatles
  • Cyberninja - October 5, 2009 8:48 p.m.

    i dont think any on the last page are all that weird
  • crumbdunky - October 5, 2009 7:14 p.m.

    The Regan/Grby spitting mini game is just a reference to the "2 tribes" video surely and therefore possibly the only thing in the game NOT worthy of GR's ridicule, no? A mate once tried to convince me to play the Devo game and I lasted two minutes before wanting to break it inot tiny pieces! Annoying doesn't cover it yet my friend still thinks it's a lost classic of modern popular culture. He does REALLY like him some Devo though. Eternal Sonata, on the other hand, I remember purely for amazing my issus earlier this year. She'd never even seen a normal jrpg in her life so I can imagine exactly how odd it must have seemed to her on top of all the imagned death bed idiocy. She loves it now, though, and judges every jrpg that comes into the house by using it as a yardstick! She doesn't rate any others btw.
  • Romination - October 5, 2009 4:28 p.m.

    christ almighty, a frankie goes to hollywood game...what...
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - October 5, 2009 1:05 p.m.

    What about the music games of the future?
  • Unoriginal - October 5, 2009 12:37 p.m.

    Apart from Nr. 1 Ive not heard of any of theese. Wonder how much they sold? A musical text adventure. They were missing the point.
  • rxb - October 5, 2009 12:28 p.m.

    I really like Eternal Sonata. It was a fun little RPG. The musical system made it different and interesting.