David Bowie’s impact on video games



It still doesn’t feel real that David Bowie is no longer with us. I keep replaying the moment a BBC notification popped up on my phone stating the iconic star had passed away. It’s no secret that I am obsessed with his music and everything he represents, and he really does represent a lot. Bowie was more than just an artist, he was a fashion icon, a visionary, a philosopher and an inspiration for anyone who sees them self as different.

I’m not sure anyone else has turned their death into a piece of artwork in a way that Bowie has. Just look at the last music video from his latest album, knowing now that he must have been aware of his imminent demise, it’s breathtaking.

Putting all that aside, I’m not here to talk about Bowie’s music, as much as I would love to. I’m here to talk about the man’s impact on the gaming world, mainly in the form of the 1999 game Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Omikron: The Nomad Soul oozes Bowie essence, he makes two cameo appearances, orchestrated the soundtrack (you can listen to it here) and had input on plot and setting. Of course it’s abstract and sci-fi, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Admittedly I have never played the game itself, at the time of release I was nine and probably putting my parents in debt to pay for my Pokémon card addiction, but I can still look back and appreciate the style and beauty of Bowie’s involvement in the game.

If you can excuse the dated graphics the video above is a hauntingly beautiful ingame music video, where a digital Bowie moves in his iconic way as his voice crackles with an alien quality. The style shown in that video and the game itself has the otherworldly feeling to it that David Bowie so expertly made his own.

This alien and otherwordly quality is something which also translated in his performance as the character Boz, which is about as Bowie as you can get without it being a caricature.

As great as it is looking at digital versions of the man, nothing quite beats hearing him talk about games himself. As he states in the interview I’ll link below, Bowie was the first artist to take computers on the road when touring in 1983. Not only that but he loved Tomb Raider, nothing beats hearing David Bowie say “Like every hot blooded male I was in love with Lara momentarily, then I realised it isn’t real, this is definitely the end of a millennium.” Nobody else in the world could articulate their crush on a pixelated game character quite like that.

There’s not too much I can really say that you probably haven’t already read, but I hope you enjoyed looking back at the videos I linked as much as I did, they help you remember what a truly magnificent man Bowie was and the unrivaled impact he had on modern culture.

As Simon Pegg said yesterday “If you’re sad today, just remember the world is over 4 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”

Just Dance with Charlie on Twitter @clbraith and don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.


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