Long will David Bowie be remembered for his importance to music, however, let’s not forget his dip into video gaming waters.
The music and entertainment world was rocked earlier today, as it was learned that David Bowie has died at the age of 69. He had been battling cancer for 18 months before this unfortunate discovery, and despite the hardships that come with battling such a cruel disease he had just recently released Blackstar, his 25th, and final album, on his 69th birthday. He will be forever missed as a musical artist; however, we should take this time to remember his impact on the video gaming world.
Without some of David Bowie’s most famous musical tracks, the entire Metal Gear Solid universe would not take shape the way it has today. Most recently, the Midge Ure cover of “The Man Who Sold The World” plays at the beginning (and another very important moment) of the game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, setting the stage for a remarkable end to Hideo Kojima’s chapter at Konami. Snake’s group of mercenary militia is lovingly titled Diamond Dogs, referring to the David Bowie album and song, alike.
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They are the most recent, but not first, mentions or recognition of David Bowie by Hideo Kojima. Raiden was described as a young David Bowie in the Metal Gear Solid 2 novelization. Both Solid Snake and Zero are named David. Metal Gear Solid 3 has a character named Major Tom, with “Space Oddity” the intended original song to play over the game’s credits. There’s also the subtle references made by The Fury, who references a lyric to the Peter Schilling song “Major Tom (Coming Home),” itself a reference to the David-Bowie-created character. Finally, of course, it has been argued that every prominent character in the series has really been David Bowie in disguise all along.
There are tons of references in video games to the works or persona of David Bowie (like in World of WarCraft, Killer Is Dead and so many others), but lest we forget his direct involvement with video games. Before a time when David Cage and Quantic Dream were divisive names, David Bowie both provided original tracks and his acting performance to the PC and Dreamcast adventure game Omikron: The Nomad Soul. His more prominent character of the two was the front man for fictional group “The Dreamers,” playing concerts all over Omikron, illegally. Tracks like New Angels of Promise and others from the album “Hours…” were debuted first in the game, then repurposed for the general public.
No matter whether you know David Bowie more for his musical influence or his video gaming pop cultural references, the impact of losing such a great man will not soon be forgotten. Rest in peace, Ziggy Stardust.
Rebekah Valentine also contributed to this piece.