Oct 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:01 AM, Oct 19, 2017

Games with Bad Raps and Rappers with Bad Games

Published in Editorial
Read 1144 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Tagged under

Many games are based on real-life events, but to my recollection, I’ve never witnessed a real-life event based on a video game. That is, until the recent rivalry between entertainer Chris Brown and rapper Soulja Boy, which resulted in negotiations for a sanctioned boxing match between the two. It took 15 years, but the Def Jam fighting games have finally crossed over into reality with what could have been the story arch for the next entry in the series.

Def Jam Vendetta, released in 2003 for the PS2 and GameCube, (more or less a rap veneered WWE game) introduced mainstream gaming to the hip-hop fighter genre. Vendetta generally received favorable reviews and resulted in the sequels Def Jam: Fight for NY, Def Jam: Icon, and the portable title Def Jam Fight for NY: The Takeover.

The Def Jam series might have been the first AAA hip-hop fighter release, but it wasn't the first attempt to mix hip-hop and the 3D fighter genre. In 1999, the PlayStation release of Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style – a title that you’d think would result in a decent fighting game, given the artists and subject matter – took a stab at mixing the disparate genres, but received less than stellar reviews.

One could argue that the original hip-hop fighting game would be the 1996 PS1 title Parappa the Rapper, which was an amalgamation of hip-hop, 3D fighting, and rhythm, but that’s a specious argument: only the first stage, where you rap-battle the onion-headed karate instructor Chop Chop Master Onion, features hip-hop.

One year before the release of Parappa the Rapper, the SNES basketball title Rap Jam: Volume 1 (a game so bad, there would be no Volume 2) attempted to cash-in on the video game industry. Rap Jam featured the likenesses of rappers from the 90s, such as Coolio, Warren G, and House of Pain (among others), which makes it feel even more dated, in retrospect. Mediocre gameplay, combined with 16-bit era limitations, resulted in a truly awful game, unable even to handle the music of its featured characters.

Marc Eckō's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, a 2006 action-adventure beat ’em up set in a dystopian future, was heavily inspired by hip-hop culture. Getting Up’s protagonist is voiced by rapper Talib Kweli, but ultimately the release didn’t qualify as a fighter. However, it is still one of the most robust attempts to combine rap and gaming. I enjoyed Getting Up and, of all the titles mentioned, it is the only one readily available on Steam.

As of today, the fight between Brown and Soulja has officially been called off, leaving hip-hop heads searching yet for the rap video game holy grail – but what an entry into the series the scuffle could have been. Video game veteran Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson was also promoting the fight (50 Cent starred in two titles of his own; 50 Cent: Bulletproof and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand). I’m imagining cameos from Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Alas, the bout of near-pugilism and drama between Chris Brown and Soulja Boy may not be the fight we need – nor deserve – but it does serve as a reminder of the history of hip-hop gaming nostalgia, for better or worse.

Related items

  • Is Early Access Worth It?

    Early access games give developers and players a unique relationship as a game goes through early-to-final development stages. As a player, you don’t have to be among the select few for the game’s alpha and beta phases; you can play immediately and experience a new perspective as the developers continue to build and improve the game based on your feedback.

  • Banner Saga 3 Art Reveal

    Stoic, an independent game development company, and Versus Evil a leading independent video game publisher, today unveiled the first key artwork for Banner Saga 3, the third and final chapter in the epic Viking RPG trilogy.

  • Aftercharge Interview with Chainsawesome Games

    The studio itself was established in 2012 by three people — two programmers and one artist — who had gained experience working in different studios before, but mostly with one studio (that is) in Quebec City, which is called Frima Studio. They decided to try it on their own and began working on a project which was later canceled because it had been too ambitious. Their first successful project was BeatBlasters III which is a game they released on PC. It’s a rhythm game with platformer and puzzle elements — a unique take on those genres. It didn’t perform very well, like most first games of a studio. They didn't invest much in marketing.

  • Devil Dagger’s Die-Hard Devotees

    Devil Daggers is created by Matt “m4ttbush” Bush, under the company Sorath. I’m greeted with screenshots that depict a hand engulfed in embers, firing countless daggers from its fingertips at hordes of lovecraftian enemies. The room is dark: there are no walls or ceilings, only a dark void. The faint illumination from the main character reveals ancient stone floors beneath. The entire color scheme seems to stick with three, maybe four colors at once — all dusty reds or luminescent yellows. They are hugging vertices that I have not seen since Quake, and they look brilliant combined.

  • Chronicles of Nyanya Interview

    Who doesn’t love cats? (Rhetorical question, folks — I’m awfully allergic to the diminutive felines, myself.) But still, even in ancient Egyptian and Asian cultures, cats have always seemed to be… around. Enter one of the last survivors of the Greenlight program: Chronicles of NyaNya, a cRPG ]by  Ilona Myszkowska, Polish comic artist and creator of the very popular chatolandia.pl. [EN: I looked it up, and no, the “c” does not stand for “cat”]

  • tinyBuild sponsors cash prizes for indie devs

    tinyBuild today announced their sponsoring in hard cash prizes of indie games at a game development event in Minsk, Belarus. The event is called DevGAMM and has the region's biggest game awards show.

  • What is my story, I wonder?

    Every gamer has her story of creation, his moment of revelation, the guidance of a universe-ordained path that lead to their own grand, epiphanous moment in which they became a gamer. Each one has their own unique testimony that lead to them pressing start for the first time. What is my story, I wonder?

  • Lifestyle Driven Play

    My drug dealer, “Dub,” runs an independent cafe in the Dallas metroplex. Keep in mind, my drug is black pu-erh tea, so he's not actually as sketchy as I've made him sound. His shop's a quiet place, and even when it's busy, he gets a lot of down time. He walks around, chats a bit with everyone, and then settles down behind the counter, where he keeps his unoptimized, but still respectable, PC. He plays turn-based strategy — usually single player, usually cheap or free.

Latest Indie Reviews

The Indie Scene, Under Review.

Latest on Twitch

Watch it live on twitch.tv/opnoobsonline.

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming