Part of what made the recently-departed Prince so immensely popular was not just how great his music was, but also just how downright strange he was. Prince was so comfortable in his own peculiarities that he reveled in them and was able to create a larger-than-life persona for himself, offsetting his rather small stature. Stories like the ones told by Dave Chappelle and Kevin Smith have helped to define who Prince was to the public at large in part because he was such an enigmatic figure that we’d eat up anything we could get about him.
If anything, what Prince presented to the world was a unified front and if you wanted to define just who or what Prince was, look no further than his weird 90’s CD-ROM game, Prince Interactive. What lined bargain bins of Comp USA’s across the country in the 90’s (I had a copy from one of those for 99 cents, my mom bought it for me) is now a much-sought after collector’s item and Mashable got their hands on a copy. They even got the thing to work, which is a miracle for older games like that without patches galore.
Prince Interactive came out in 1994, during the height of Prince’s utter disdain with Warner Bros. and a string of releases that he wasn’t exactly proud of. Prince was looking to make his new band/entourage of the New Power Generation (NPG) a thing, just like the Revolution were a thing in the 80’s. A part of building that popularity and familiarity with the NPG was Prince Interactive. The game played and looked a lot like the super popular Myst did, but it took place in a digital Paisley Park and was coated in gold and purple.
What was truly interesting about the game was that it really didn’t have much of a point to it outside of it being about Prince. Rewards for continuing on in the game ranged from short clips of concert footage to interviews with people like George Clinton, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder where they just talked about how great Prince was. There were only nine rooms total in the game and the whole goal of the game was assembling Prince’s enigmatic symbol to unlock a final room. The thing is, the point of the game was really just talking about how great Prince was and further building up the image that he was just so different.
The game was uniquely Prince and really summed up the person, the myth and the legend. Sure, it wasn’t much of a game and couldn’t really compare to David Bowie’s appearance in Omikron, but what could? Omikron was also an actual game, while Prince Interactive was just a really weird CD-ROM press kit that people paid money for.