Composer(s): Hiroshi Kubota, Takayuki Nakamura, Michael Jackson
Say what you will about Michael Jackson, but the undeniable truth is that the man who taught us all how to moonwalk was one of the greatest entertainers of all time, if not the greatest. This week marks the seventh anniversary of Michael’s untimely death, and as a fan, I felt it was appropriate to celebrate his legacy by taking a look back at the video game he was probably the most proud of. Let’s be honest, it’s the only chance I’ll get to talk about MJ in this much detail on a video game website. This is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. SHAMONE!
I was more of a Nintendo gamer back in the day but I did have my fair share of Sega moments, and one of them was when I first got my hands on Moonwalker for the Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in Europe. You have to consider the time period to really recognize the magnitude of this game. The 1990 console game was inspired by the 1988 movie of the same name (which is the most incredible movie ever made, and you need to watch it if you haven’t). This was the 80’s and back then MJ was, for all intents and purposes, the biggest celebrity on the planet. However, the game wasn’t that great. Sure, it was awesome having a Michael Jackson video game but it hasn’t aged well and it’s pretty repetitive. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that we get to hear some of the most recognized MJ tunes in glorious 16-bit midi format. Take for example this montage of the “dance attacks” in the game.
Getting to hear songs like Beat it and Billie jean out of a console game was pretty exciting and so was the concept of a game starring such a big celebrity. As soon as the game starts, you’re treated with a scene straight out of the Smooth Criminal music video. Michael enters a dark room, flips a coin into the jukebox and the song starts. As I mentioned before, the game does have its problems (like Thriller not being the song of choice in the zombie-infested, graveyard stage or the countless doors, cars and tombstones you have to keep opening to rescue children) but regardless of these, the game was still awesome. Mainly because, as we all know, Michael is magic and he turns into giant Mecha “missile launching” Michael if you catch that falling star. Here are the five Michael songs featured in the game.
The fact of the matter is that Michael was a huge gamer, which, if you’re on Bit Cultures, I’m sure you can relate. It was a well known fact that the king of Pop loved video games and had a long-running partnership with Sega which led to not only the creation of this game but also being involved with games like Sonic the Hedgehog which was heavily rumored for the a long time but eventually proven to be true after his passing, but that’s for different article. This game was his pride and joy, as the end credits show: “Game Concept and Design by Michael Jackson.” Semi ironically, the last song to end the article is the only original song in the game (besides the Boss theme) as in, it’s not a Michael song but a damn fine song nonetheless. With that we say goodbye to the greatest Michael Jackson game ever made and remember an icon.