Overnight, Columbia Recording artist Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, marking the first year the academy has presented the title to someone primarily known as a musician. If – somehow – you’re unfamiliar with his work, here’s a quick look back at Dylan’s career through the medium of videogames.
Tangled Up In Blue was first released in 1975, and considered one of the greatest songs of all time. The song’s inclusion in 2008’s Rock Band 2 was – officially – Bob Dylan’s first appearance in a videogame, as living-room singers were given the chance to belt out the classic lyrics in a bit of digital karaoke.
Technically, Dylan’s works had appeared in a “game” more than a decade earlier, but 1995’s Highway 61 Interactive CD-ROM is more a collection of songs, videos and lyrics rather than anything featuring any real story. For a non-fan, there’s probably not much that’ll interest you, but if you love Dylan’s work, it’s far more than a novelty tie-in, even 20 years later.
Anyway! Dylan’s work has also featured in a number of other games – including Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Shaun White Snowboarding, True Crime: New York City – and gamers who fancy themselves musicians could rock out in their lounge room to Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door in Rocksmith 2014.
But one of Dylan’s best and most memorable game appearances wasn’t actually in a game. The song Masters of War appeared on the soundtrack to the admittedly-not-that-great Crackdown 2, which hit Xbox 360 in 2010.
If you don’t remember it, that’s fine – the game was criticised for being “too similar” to its predecessor, and critics generally considered it to have next-to-no replay value.
However, it seems that at least one good thing came from Crackdown 2. While the in-game inclusion of Masters of War wasn’t a particularly stand-out moment, US musician SCNTFC (Scientific American) turned the song into the Bob Dylan cyberpunk experience we’ve all been waiting for.
It’s not the easiest thing to find (oddly enough, Dylan’s lawyers aren’t fond of unlicensed remixes), but this is something you need to hear.
…if you want to know what the song sounds like today, Masters of War was performed live in Dylan’s setlist at the Desert Trip festival last week in California. Seems the 75 year old’s still got it!
(Meanwhile, if the name SCNTFC is a little familiar, the musician has moved on from remixing other people’s game soundtracks and now makes his own. You can hear SCNTFC in the recently-released (thoroughly awesome) Mr. Robot: Exfiltrati0n mobile game.)
With a career spanning six decades, and a stack of awards to his name, Bob Dylan continues to triumph. His latest album – Fallen Angels – was released in May of this year, recorded around the appropriately-named Never Ending Tour. He’s played roughly 100 dates a year since 1988 – not bad for a man who celebrated his 75th birthday earlier this year!
Congratulations, Mr Zimmerman, on your Nobel Prize. While it might officially be for Literature, there’s more than a few fans who’d argue that this one’s also, a bit, for Peace.