By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief
As you’re no doubt aware, His Royal Badness, Prince, passed away at the far-too-young age of 57. Seeing as how multimedia spectacle has always been a major part of his career, it might seem like an obvious fit that Prince would’ve gotten involved in video games at some point. Sure, he was a bit down on Guitar Hero and refused to license his music for use in the series, but it wasn’t because he was anti-video games; he simply felt that kids should learn to play music rather than play music video games. Not the most evil sentiment in the world if you ask me.
Sure enough, Prince did release a video game, Prince Interactive, in 1994. Rather than go some silly Revolution X or Crüe Ball-type route, Prince decided to follow the lead of fellow visionaries like Peter Gabriel and Devo and make his game more of a multimedia experience than a traditional video game. The main segment of the game was a Myst-like adventure where the player had to explore a virtual–and, um, artistically re-imagined–version of Prince’s Paisley Park studios, solving puzzles, interacting with things, and watching video clips. If the player succeeded at all of the puzzles, he’d be able to blast off in a spaceship shaped like Prince’s famous symbol and watch an exclusive video for the song “Endorphinmachine.” In fact, the game contained several exclusive songs recorded just for Prince Interactive, in addition to a very generous helping of overall content that included four full-length music videos, 52 song clips, and 31 video clips. Also, an impressive roster of famous friends show up in archival footage talking about The Purple One, including George Clinton, Little Richard, Miles Davis, and Eric Clapton.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single bit of video footage online for this game, and being a CD-ROM game from 1994, it isn’t the easiest to play today. Not to mention that I’m sure that whomever happens to have a copy of it that they are willing to part with will suddenly decide it is worth a whole lot more now that it stars a deceased musical icon; resellers are good for that sort of thing. The best I can do to pay tribute to both this strange little footnote in Prince’s oeuvre–as well as to the legend himself–is to share some of the screenshots I was able to dig up for Prince Interactive. And those of you who are lucky enough to have a copy lying around, well you’re probably a pretty big Prince fan anyway so I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to try and play it today in his honor. Rest in peace to the best musician that Minnesota ever produced (yeah, I said it).