Michael Jackson-related games
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There are at least eight video games that Michael Jackson has composed music for or are directly related to him. Sega was the developer for at least five of them: the arcade and Mega Drive / Genesis versions of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Mega Drive / Genesis, and Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5: Part 2 for the Dreamcast. The other three were produced by other companies: Moonwalker by U.S. Gold, Michael Jackson: The Experience by Ubisoft, and Planet Michael by SEE Virtual Worlds.
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (マイケル・ジャクソンズ・ムーンウォーカー Maikeru Jakusonzu Mūn'u~ōkā) is a franchise for several video games based on the film of the same name created by U.S. Gold and Sega in 1989 and 1990 that incorporate the personage of and were co-developed by Jackson himself. The arcade version, home video games and home computer versions all differ in terms of gameplay, but the story and concept remain constant. The story, which is taken from the Moonwalker film, follows Michael, using various music and dance related abilities, on a quest to save kidnapped children from the hands of the evil "Mr. Big". The games incorporated synthesized versions of the musician's hits, such as "Beat It" and "Smooth Criminal". The games have now achieved cult status and are remembered for being a memorable point in Jackson's change to a different stage persona from "Thriller", to "Bad".
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Although uncredited, Michael Jackson was involved in some way in the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Conflicting accounts exist as to why he left the project, including the scandals that arose around him at the time, or that he was unhappy with the sound quality of the Genesis. There are also differences of opinion over whether any of his work remains in the released game.
Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5: Part 2
Jackson makes a cameo appearance as Space Michael in Space Channel 5, near the end of the game. Space Michael (スペースマイケル, Supēsu Maikeru) is member of Space Channel 5, based on Jackson and voiced by him. First appearing as a cameo in Part 1, he has a more involved role in Part 2. After being rescued by Ulala from the Rhythm Rogues, Michael uses his singing skills against a singing robot and joins her to fight against Purge.
Jackson had a more prominent role in Space Channel 5: Part 2 where he became the new head of Space Channel 5. Whilst Ulala is distracted by a fake scoop, the headquarters are attacked and Space Michael is kidnapped by Purge and the Rhythm Rogues and has to be rescued by Ulala in a level featuring several of Michael's trademark dance moves. He then joins Ulala in facing up against Purge. In both versions of the game, Michael speaks in English, which is subtitled into Japanese in the Japanese version.
The May 2007 issue of EGM contains a quote from series creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi concerning what it was like to work with Jackson:
- "We were in the middle of production of Space Channel 5, in 1998 or 1999. I got a call from the U.S. from my partner - the executive producer of Space Channel 5 - and he said, 'Oh, Michael wants to act in Space Channel 5.' I said, 'Who's Michael?' 'Who is Michael Jackson?' he said, 'The Michael Jackson - the real Michael Jackson'
- My partner had shown him the 60-to-70 percent complete version, when it was almost at the end of the game. We had one month to finalize. But Michael wanted to do something, so we suggested that if he was OK with it, we could program the people in the game to do the Michael Jackson dance when taken over by aliens. he said 'yeah.' We initially had five aliens who danced. One of them became Michael Jackson."
Michael Jackson: The Experience
Michael Jackson: The Experience is a music video game based on Jackson's music and songs. It was developed and published by Ubisoft and Triumph International (subsidiary by The Michael Jackson Company LLC), and was released on November 23, 2010 for the Wii, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation Portable. Later it was released on other platforms: Xbox 360's Kinect, PlayStation 3's PlayStation Move, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, iOS. The game features many of Michael Jackson's hits, such as "Bad", "Beat It", "Smooth Criminal" and "Billie Jean".
All pre-ordered games featured a limited edition replica of Jackson's famous glove.
Planet Michael was a planned MMORPG based on Jackson's music. It was being developed by SEE MJ Virtual Worlds (The Michael Jackson Company LLC and SEE Entertainment) and was originally scheduled for release in 2011, but was eventually canceled. Planet Michael was to be based within the Entropia Universe.
- Horowitz, Ken (2009-05-19). "Sega Legends: Michael Jackson & Sonic 3". Sega-16. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- Michael Donahue, "Forced Guests: Cameos that make us sceam 'Yessss!'" in Electronic Gaming Monthly 226 (March 2008): 34.
- "Game will let you sing, dance like Michael Jackson". CNN.
- "Pop & Hiss". Los Angeles Times.