Music and Gaming - 'Grand Theft Auto' (PS1, 1997)


 In this series we take a look at computer game soundtracks from the past that influenced a generation of people to become fans of electronic and underground music. It is no secret that for the youth of the 80s and 90s, computer games played an integral roll in influencing and forming musical tastes. From techno to hip-hop, video games exposed the youth to music that was outside of commercial radio at the time, and long before the internet. Join us on our journey in rediscovering the best of the bunch. 


LONG, long before it was abbreviated to just 'GTA', the first release in the franchise was graphically a far-cry away from where it is now. The now infamous Rockstar Games were a practically unknown games developer before they smashed into people lives with this epic title. Sure, they were still  called DMA, based in Dundee,  when 'Grand Theft Auto' was released, but they became Rockstar. Not only was the game perfect for any teen of the 90's being rebellious in nature and rife in its reference to drugs, guns and gangs, the developers reputation was cemented as bad boys of the gaming world when they were faced with lawsuit, after lawsuit after lawsuit from all areas of the concerned mainstream world, from parents to priests. These mostly failed, but was a PR gold mine for Rockstar.


Even to this day and throughout the series, there are similarities that remain from the genesis of the most successful gaming series in history. The gameplay, the violence, the sheer enjoyment are all aspects that have kept each title as spectacular as the ones that came before it. But it's the music that has always remained top notch and instrumental in adding to the ambience of each time and city you find yourself in. Young adults across the world will credit GTA and the series as introducing them to classic tracks from years gone by, and we will look at these in detail in future posts on the topic.

'Grand Theft Auto', however, wasn't embellished with the huge artist roster we are familiar with in the versions later than PS1. The soundtrack was written primarily by a relatively unknown composer and producer named Craig Connor, who is credited with the entire playlist.

For only 60 minutes of radio play this was by far the most advanced and captivating reality based soundtrack of any game that came before it. It was actual radio, that switched on when you got in the car! And was a different station in different cars! WTF! Very exciting stuff as a 10 year old playing a game rated as an 18.

Hip-hop, trance, acid, break beat and techno are all evident, along with a quirky country number that was always playing in the pick-up trucks.

Reminisce, people...