Game Review: Rockstar (1989, Wizard Games)

Do you want to be a rockstar despite having no musical talent?

Then get over to the Internet Archive and play Rockstar, which is about as close to being a music superstar as most of us will ever get a chance to be!

In Rockstar, you’re a musician.  You start out as a poor, aspiring star.  You’ve got health, creativity, and happiness but you also don’t have any money.  How can you get money?  You can tour the local pubs.  And once you get the money, maybe you can record a single or even an album.  If that album sells well, you might get a record contract.  With a record contract comes so much money that you never have to worry about it again and that’s a good thing because, if you go bankrupt, you have to get a real job and the game ends.

Unfortunately, once you’ve signed that record deal, you’re pretty much a slave to the record company.  They’re going to want you to tour and record and make videos on a regular basis.  Tour too much and it will have a bad effect on your health.  Record too often and your creativity will dry up.  Work too hard and your happiness will go downhill and there will be a good chance that the game will suddenly tell you that you’ve committed suicide.

Fortunately, there’s a way to recharge your happiness and your creativity!  You can take drugs!  The game gives you the option to decide which drugs you want to take.  You can drink.  You can smoke marijuana.  You can drop acid.  You can do cocaine and heroin.  You can get hooked on speed.  Of course, you can be a rock star without doing drugs but it takes a lot longer and it’s not halfway as fun.  The secret is to find the perfect balance of drugs and to go to rehab whenever you’ve become too addicted.  (Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually end up dying of an overdose.)  Unfortunately, going to rehab pretty much zaps away all of your happiness.  Assuming that you survive the rehab experience, you’re only option to cheer yourself up is to start doing drugs again.  Do too many drugs and you’ll overdose.  You might survive the overdose but you’ll have to recover in the hospital, which again sucks away your happiness.  Once you get out of the hospital, you better call your connection and quick.

There’s only two ways that Rockstar can end.  You can either voluntarily retire, which brings your career and your fame to an end.  Or you can eventually die, which brings your life to an end but which also ensures that you’ll be remembered forever.  It probably sounds like a depressing game but it’s not.  Whenever the game told me that my latest single was the number one song in America, Europe, and the UK, it made all of the drug overdoses and mental breakdowns worth it.  You don’t play a game like Rockstar to win.  You play it to see how long you can survive.  The longest I’ve kept one of my rock stars alive was for ten years.  Eventually, he drank himself to death while on holiday but it was still a hell of a ride.

Rockstar can be played at the Internet Archive.

2 responses to “Game Review: Rockstar (1989, Wizard Games)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 6/15/20 — 6/21/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Sounds sort of like this mobile game I played a few years ago. In that one you play as a series of kings, and you have to balance a bunch of factors but sooner or later something will end up killing you and moving you on to play as the successor.

    Rockstar sounds like an interesting spin on that idea. I like this kind of gameplay partly because it just expects you to try to hang on as long as possible, no big deal if you only make it a few years.


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