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“Dad, I want the Rock Radio!”

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Santi, my 4 year-old-son, likes music a lot, just like my two other kids.

As I have always liked to listen to music, I am used to have the radio on when I drive. For years my favorite radio has been Radio Futuro, whose motto is “la Radio del Rock”, which means “the Rock Radio” in Spanish. So, when Santi learned to speak, he liked to repeat the radio’s motto and if I dare to tune another radio, he would clearly ask me:

“Dad, I want the rock radio!”

Shortly afterwards, Santi discovered that while we were going by car, he could not only listen to the radio, but he could also choose the music he wanted. He started to stress my Spotify account by asking me to play “Back in Black” (AC / DC) about 10 times a day, or other tracks from a CD that I recorded many years ago with my favorite music (video games, classic rock, movies and TV series).

Nowadays, when the whole family is in the car, the kids start debating because all of them want to listen to their favorite songs. Santi asks (actually, he demands) the main themes from Mission Impossible, Star Wars and Superman, as well as “Back in Black”, “Happy” and “Staying Alive” (he knows the two last ones because they appear in the Despicable Me movies).

Thanks Spotify for existing! The playlist I prepare for my kids when we go in the car varies according to the songs they kindly ask me to include.

On the other hand, Diego (12) has a hard time deciding between the “Indiana Jones” theme and rock songs like “Basket Case” (Green Day), “You Could Be Mine” (Guns’n Roses) or “Pinball Wizard” (The Who). And little Sami (2) always asks for the “Song of the Planets” (Enrique y Ana) or the “Pam”.

“The Pam?” we all asked the first time she said that.

“Pam, pam, pa pam, pam pa pam, pam pa pam,” she began to hum.

Even though she is only two years old and she still does not know how to speak, she knows exactly how to ask for the “Imperial March” (Darth Vader’s theme) of Star Wars.

Rock in videogames

Music, and rock in particular, has been present in videogames since the beginning. Given the technical limitations, the very first games music could be described as “noises that accompanied the game with a certain rhythm”. But technology evolved and in the 80s there were many games with memorable melodies.

I clearly remember a game called Black Lamp that I played in the beloved Atari 800 XL. The ingame background music is a rock version of the classic English folk song Greensleeves, as you can hear in this video after 11 seconds.

Imagen de Blacklamp
Black Lamp, an Atari game which had a rock version of the classic English folk song Greensleeves.

There are hundreds of other examples, either rock music composed specifically for games, or popular songs that were used for these purposes. From the latter, the best example I remember is Song 2 by Blur, which gave all the power to the Fifa 98: Road To Worldcup game intro, as you can see in this video.

Imagen de Fifa 98
FIFA 98: Road To World Cup had an intro sequence with the Song 2 (Blur) rock song.

Years later, Rock and music took a new leap in the entertainment industry, when new video games appeared in which gameplay was about playing instruments or singing with a microphone. From this genre, the games that achieved the bigger impact were the Guitar Hero and Rockband series.

With more than ten versions and expansions of each of the series, their popularity was huge and they became the center of many social gatherings in which friends, co-workers or family joined to sing and play rock music.

Instrumentos de Rockband
Rockband is a series of videogames in which players can play guitar, drums, bass or sing using a microphone.

In fact, I was one of those who bought Rockband with the illusion of playing drums, because I had always dreamed of learning to play, but I was convinced that I did not have the motor skills to do it. Incredibly, the game helped me to improve my motor skills and confidence, and gave me the encouragement I needed to try to actually learn to play real drums.

Rock Concerts

Speaking about playing instruments and listening to music in its most intense version, concerts are one of the most remarkable experiences. The truth is that I have gone only to a few concerts, but I have enjoyed them tremendously. The last one I attended, indeed, was very recently.

A few months ago, one of Diego’s favorite rock bands announced a final world tour that would include a concert in Chile: Guns’n Roses. The price of the tickets was quite high, but the opportunity to give my son the experience of going to his first rock concert with one of his favorite bands was unique, so I decided to take it.

And I’m glad I did that: it was an amazing experience.

The concert itself was very good, but the most important thing for me was that I had the opportunity to share with Diego an experience that will be most likely unforgettable for him. It was one of those moments that create unforgettable memories, and that deeply strengthen the father-son relationship.

And I thank to the music, to Rock in this case, for giving me that gift.

Concierto de Guns'n Roses
The Guns’n Roses concert I went with Diego some weeks ago. It was an amazing experience, and probably both of us will never forget it.

What videogame rock themes do you like? Have you had similar experiences with your children / nephews or younger siblings?

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Juan Pablo Lastra

Juan Pablo makes videogames since he was 8 and he is a father since 2004. Today, he has three children and he has worked in more than 20 videogames. He got interested on how paternity and the videogame industry are related and he decided to write about it, founding "Papa Game Dev"

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