The Amazing 1979 Song About Computer Games

Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

There have been plenty of songs written about video games over the years. You have your favourites, I have mine.


One that lingers in my memory, though, comes from a time before I was even born: 1979's Computer Games, by the Australasian band Mi-Sex.

What's so memorable about this song isn't the fact that it's catchy (even though it is!), but the fact it's so damn old. Songs about video games are fairly common from the mid-80s onwards because, well, that's when video games stopped being something of a fad and entrenched themselves in popular culture.

But in 1979? Arcades were only just getting started and home video game consoles were still seen as somewhere between a novelty and a children's toy. Especially so Down Under, where the band hail from. So gaming songs, horrific Pac-Man-based exceptions aside, were relatively rare.

You can see the video above. Isn't it amazing? Wireframe 3D, the band breaking into what looks like a military server complex (actually the Sydney offices of supercomputer firm Control Data Corporation), spray-on pants, it's all great. There's even, somehow, footage of a Star Wars game around 2:20 in, meaning this video was either made years later or its producers could see into the future (there were no Star Wars game until the 1980s).

Computer Games went top of the charts in Australia, and also got close to top spot in New Zealand, Canada and Argentina. It was such a hit in Australia, in fact, that it was named single of the year on Countdown, at the time the nation's most popular and influential music TV show.


Mi-Sex are seen as something of a two-hit wonder in Australia, with Computer Games and their 1980 single People the only things people remember them for. Yet they still remember them: it's not uncommon for a news or current affairs piece on video games in the 21st century to be accompanied by the new wave strains of Computer Games.

Mi-Sex are a little more well-known in their native New Zealand, however. Like Crowded House and Russell Crowe, Mi-Sex have been labelled as "Australian" due to the location their careers took off, but the band began in (and all its members hail from) New Zealand, where through covers, re-releases and even live appearances they remain a known entity, if not a household name.

If this decades-old love letter to video games from the antipodes was to your liking, you should probably watch this, the video Space Invaders, by Aussie band Player One. Even if you hate the song, it's an incredible clip. Funnily enough, this was also a big hit in 1980, Australia obviously in the grip of video game fever.


Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.


Crowded House are a good band. Never knew they were from New Zealand though.