What’s that? Another music/video game list?

Yes, another music in video games list. I have noticed a fair share of such lists around the internet, but have also noticed a few gems being left out. So, coupling them together with a few other favorites I decided to put my own list together.

When I began playing video games as a child, the accompanying music was far removed from the full-scale musical scores we hear today.  At the time, Alex Kidd’s arrangement of cyclic beeps was quite entertaining, but it wasn’t until I got my grubby little mitts on the SNES version of Killer Instinct did I realise the potential of music within games. The game came with a CD containing the sound track, which became one of my most prized possesions. I think the reason I treasured it so, was because (to me anyway) it represented what was possible when music collaborated effectively with the video game medium.

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So it is here, I gather together five of my favourite examples of music working together with video games.

Enjoy.

16 Volt  – And I Go  [Primal]

When game director Chris Sorrell was deciding on music to stand alongside the video game Primal, he looked to his own collection of music. The result? Self-styled electronic punk band 16Volt contributing existing tracks and writing new ones to add to the video games soundtrack.

“And I Go”, my own personal favourite of the tracks in question, is one of the combat themes, which adds an extra sense of raw power to the fight scenes.

Lyrically speaking, the song “And I Go” proves to be particularly fitting. The line “I’m in love with the Devil, and she’s in love with me” seems a pertinent reflection on Jen, the demonic female protagonist.

Theory of a Deadman – Santa Monica [Fahrenheit]

It’s rare that the soundtrack of a video game grabs my attention as much as the game itself, but that’s precisely what happened when Tyler Connolly’s vocals kicked in over Lucas Kane’s adventures around New York City.  Upon first hearing “Santa Monica” I actually mistook the band for Nickleback. I was later interested to find out it was Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger who signed the band to his label 604 records.

The game itself seems to have fallen into the shadow of the more popular Heavy Rain and more recently Beyond: Two Souls, games also created by Quantic Dream. Which is a shame because Fahrenheit is a truly amazing experience. So go check out the game, check out the band, thank me later.

Kadeshflow – Not Going Anywhere [Tomb Raider]

Kadeshflow’s Tomb Raider rap stands out in this list as the only piece of music not officially associated with the game. This is not however, a comment on the track’s quality.  The rapper’s verbal dexterity is impressive, he weaves together lyrics while cleverly dropping references to Eidos, Core and Crystal Dynamics. Kadeshflow tells the tale of Lara Croft before she became the iconic protagonist of video gaming culture she is today, rapping about the “struggle, the strain and the trouble” that transformed the girl into a heroine. “Not Going Anywhere” offers a refreshing view of the young woman, unapologetic in her flaws and shortcomings, but is utterly focused on “Not Going Anywhere”, but up, but up.

Massive Attack – Teardrop [Assassin’s Creed]

Assassin’s Creed=iconic game. “Teardrop”=iconic song. Perfect mix, right? While it might sound like a strange decision to use “Teardrop’s” melodic tune as the backdrop for scenes of violence, the result creates an effective juxtaposition which works incredibly well.

The haunting vocals of singer Elizabeth Fraser, perfectly echo Altaïr’s graceful movements as he carves a bloody trail through the Templar army. Not stopping at simply being a great advert, the commercial does what all great commercials do, show just enough to draw you in and leave you wanting more.

Nico Vega  – Beast of America [Bioshock Infinite]

When I first saw the commercial for Bioshock: Infinite, I did what I assume many others did. I found an internet enabled device as fast as I could and Googled the lyrics. The advert itself showcases spectacular cut scenes from the game while displaying banners boasting about the game’s greatness:”Winner of 85 Awards” “A Stunning Creation.” With such an immense game, songs of equal magnitude would be required to stand alongside it. “Beast of America” is one such song.  If you haven’t already done so, check out one of Nico Vega’s blistering live performances of “Beast”. You’ll clearly see the singers dynamic, on stage presence that made her a perfect choice to vocally present Irrational Games’ masterpiece.

I could talk at length on this subject, especially regarding independent artists creating their own unofficial compositions. Kadeshflow is just one of many artists who derive their inspiration from video games.

Some I may leave for a future post, until then I’d encourage all gamers to go check them out for themselves.


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Author
Image of Ryan "August" Christensen
Ryan "August" Christensen
Freelance ghostwriter, Passionate gamer, music enthusiast and all round geek. [email protected]