My colleague Matt Payne recently directed me to Mi-Sex’s 1979 single “Computer Games.”Mi-Sex were a new wave act from New Zealand/Australia (depending on point in time). “Computer Games” was one of their major hits.
The song is surprisingly solid, particularly when we consider the general landscape of popular songs about computer games, which include such gems as “Pac-Man Fever.” Most songs on the topic are definitely part of the proud tradition of novelty songs, either hoping to cache in by taking on a hot cultural fad — like a particular hit video game — or by utilizing some of the audio technologies associated with the medium. “Computer Games” definitely relies on synthesizers, but it does so to a degree in keeping with other new wave tunes. For example, Gary Numan’s “Cars” came out the same year as “Computer Games.”
“Computer Games” is also a bit afield from related novelty songs in that its lyrics reveal significant anxieties about computerization, labor, and play.
There’s safety in numbers, they say
‘Cause the figures never lie
No perfect persons ever noticed one computer die
I’m programmed to a schedule
What will the answer be
Is it suicide run till the work gets done
‘Cause the matrix grid don’t say