My Favourite Game
The UK musician on his videogame-obsessed mum, the glories of Los Santos, and the trouble with Liverpool FC
Musician Ghostpoet on tapeloading screeches and GTAV
Obaro Ejimiwe, AKA Ghostpoet, has had a lot on his plate lately, what with putting out three albums in four years, touring all over the world, and lending his talents to other projects, such as Body Of Songs and Africa Express. In between it all, though, he’s still made time to pick his way through Los Santos. Growing up, what was your favourite gaming platform? Actually, my introduction to computer games came through my mum – she was obsessed with them. She would buy all the consoles, so we had a Spectrum, a NES, a Mega Drive and a Master System. We also had that one with the controllers that you turned like a dial – the old table tennis thing. It’s funny, because nowadays I’ve actually got this app on my phone that recreates those ZX Spectrum sounds that it’d make when a game was loading. I just love that sound. It’s like a mixture of a fax machine and some message from outer space. With all of those machines to hand, you must have been a popular kid in the playground at school. Not really! My mum only really bought platform games, so we had Mario, and we had Sonic, and… What was that one on the Spectrum? Bubble Bobble! Yeah, we’d play that… They were good games, but I did get a bit bored of them. I wanted a bit more of a challenge. Did any of those early soundtracks inspire you towards a music career? Well, I’ve never been really bothered by the chiptune scene. Some of those old soundtracks were amazing, though – Street Fighter and Streets Of Rage, and the old Mario and Sonic games. They could be great. Once upon a time, the game industry was dominated by Mario versus Sonic – which of those games did you prefer back then? Sonic was speedier, with all the loops and stuff – it was rollercoaster fast. But Mario had something more to it. It wasn’t just about speed. But I liked both. You mentioned the ZX Spectrum app on your phone – do you usually use mobile devices to play games nowadays, or do you have traditional consoles at home too? I usually play games during downtime, when I’m not working on a record or gigging a lot. Right now I’m between things, so I’ve got the new Football Manager. It can be quite life consuming! I’ve spent a lot of time over the years trying to get Liverpool to win games – it’s not as easy as just buying up the best players. I play FIFA on the PS3, too, and I’m really into that EA boxing game series, Fight Night. When are they going to bring a new one of those out? They’re due one now. I’ve played around with Call Of Duty, but I just don’t have the speed you need in your reactions to play that – everyone is way better than me, and I get frustrated, and then I can’t be arsed with it. I’ve got the latest Grand Theft Auto, too. I clocked that. Is that what people call that, still? “Beat” is more popular. Beat? Nah, I still use “clocked”. “Beat” sounds weird. But, yeah, I’ve finished
Grand Theft Auto. I liked LA Noire, too – I like games like that, where you have to use your brain a bit, when I do get the chance to properly sit down with them. Finished I Ain’t featured on the soundtrack to Sleeping Dogs. Do you see games as a valuable outlet for musicians these days? It’s a good thing that music is getting into games like that. My dream would be to get a song on FIFA, because I love that game. Games can sell in ridiculous numbers, and they represent great opportunities to have your music heard by millions of people. I’m always pleased when I hear music by people I know in videogames. And what’s your favourite game of all? Probably the new GTA, you know. I love the radio aspect to it, combined with the graphics, and the whole world of the game. But I love the franchise. I’ve been big into it for a while, and I love the storylines – it’s like a Hollywood film that you can play. It’s great to just drive around the city, hearing everything that is going on, and seeing all these different things. It’s just so huge. There are aspects of it I’m not so into, but you have to admire that level of craftsmanship.
“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get Liverpool to win games – it’s not as easy as just buying the best players”