In memoriam David Bowie – Bowie’s involvement in games [RETRO]

RETRO – Sadly, the past two weeks weren’t a happy time in music as the Grim Reaper has taken away two famous musicians. First, we lost Motörhead’s frontman, and now, we lost David Bowie as well. We remember the latter by taking a brief look at two games that he had involvement…


David Bowie – born as David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, London. He got to the top of the UK charts at the end of the sixties – his first widely known song was Space Oddity. He managed to become widely popular throughout the decades, and he also had several actor roles, too. His last, twenty-fifth studio album called Blackstar was released on January 8, 2016. Just two days after the launch, Bowie died due to cancer. Let’s take a look at the two games he had a role in.

RETRO - Az utóbbi néhány hét sajnos nem telt nyugodtan a zenészek között, ugyanis a csúf kaszás két neves embert vitt el közülünk.


1986 – Jim Henson, known for Muppets, creates a movie called Labyrinth. In this film, David Bowie plays the role of Jareth, the King of Goblins. The movie had a 25 million-dollar budget, but it didn’t even manage to get half of it back, making Labyrinth a commercial failure, yet a cult success. This movie got a video game tie-in in the same year for Commodore 64/128, MSX2 and Apple IIe/c. In it, we have 13 hours to defeat Jareth.

That was Lucasfilm’s first graphical adventure game (it starts out as a text-based adventure, so be patient!) – we never thought that the developers would move on to create excellent games like Monkey Island, Sam & Max, not to mention Grim Fandango! But going back to Labyrinth, the game doesn’t follow the plot of the movie.

The gameplay didn’t force the players to type the things to do – instead, it allowed the player to choose from a select amount of acts followed by the things to do an interaction with. Interesting tidbit: the C64 version’s Jareth has a Bowie-lookalike. You can see this in the final minute of the video below.

Omikron: Nomad Soul

What a change time does! Omikron: Nomad Soul was developed by Quantic Dream – yes, believe it or not, this was the starting point for David Cage! He then created Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls and now he’s working on Detroit: Become Human. Omikron saw David Bowie’s involvement in a different way.

Bowie wasn’t just the antagonist – he had involvement in the game’s design and storyline, too. He also had two cameo appearances: first, he was Boz, a revolutionary; second, he was the nameless front singer of The Dreamers. He also worked on the soundtrack, so comparing his work to Labyrinth, he did way more in Omikron.
Genre-wise, Omikron is an adventure game with the shooter, fighting and even puzzle elements.

While it didn’t receive hugely positive reviews, Cage’s team did consider it good enough to start work on a sequel (initially called Nomad Soul: Exodus), which never became a reality in the end. Omikron was released for the PC and the Dreamcast – the PS1 and PS2 ports were cancelled due to commercial failure.

Metal Gear Solid?

Don’t take this theory seriously (in fact, going by Kotaku’s article –  – it’s more of a conspiracy theory), but it looks like some Metal Gear Solid characters were modeled after David Bowie. Weird? Not really. Is it a problem? No.

In the MGS franchise, Snake Eater had Major Zero and The Fury both had references to Bowie’s songs. In MGS V, Diamond Dogs is a reference to Bowie’s album with the same name, and we can also hear him in the intro. From the Man Who Sold the Word – remove the word „from” and you got the title of Bowie’s album from 1970.

Whatever the truth might be behind the Metal Gear Solid references, one thing is sure: it’s sad that another talent has left us too early. David Bowie deserved more time to live. His work will never be forgotten and may he sing Under Pressure together up in heaven with Freddie Mercury.


Spread the love
Avatar photo
Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

theGeek TV