Popular music and gaming have never been easy bedfellows. Hit songs are usually about love, hate or partying, but seldom about gaining the Insanity achievement in Mass Effect 3. Indeed, it took many hours scouring the back of YouTube to find ten songs worthy of this list. ‘Worthy’ may be an exaggeration.
10. Pac-Man Fever by Buckner & Garcia
Released in 1981 and selling over 2.5 million records to date this is the original gaming song. This novelty hit reached number 9 in the American Billboard charts. Sadly their follow up ‘Do The Donkey Kong’ failed to chart. Fame is a fickle thing. Gary Garcia sadly passed away in 2011 but Jerry Buckner is alive and well and recently wrote the song ‘Wreck It, Wreck-It Ralph’ for the film er… Wreck-It Ralph. Watch out for the screaming audience member making Pac-Man hand gestures.
9. My Console by Eiffel 65
Late nineties Eurodance alert! Eiffel 65 are an Italian three-piece known for their mega(s)hit ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’. On the accompanying album can be found ‘My Console’ an ode to the PlayStation and games such as Metal gear Solid, Resident Evil and bizarrely The X-Files. Warning- some songs cannot be unheard.
8. Human Video Game by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Before stardom and wacky alien cults Will Smith was rapping about playing Tron and other arcade classics back in 1988. It was a simpler time. Listen out for the Donkey Kong beatboxing. Perhaps it cost too much to clear the sample back then.
7. Proto Culture by Del The Funky Homosapien
More rap this time from Gorillaz collaborator and cousin of Ice Cube; the brilliantly named Del The Funky Homosapien. Name checks include Capcom, the Power Glove, Tenchu and Panzer Dragoon II Zwei. It even samples Morrigan’s stage from Dark Stalkers. This man has clearly played a lot of games.
6. Nintendo Thumb by Heath McNease
Heath McNease is one of the few singers here to have an entire album devoted to gaming. In 2011 he released Straight Outta Console: The Nintendo Thumb Mixtape to critical indifference. Tracks include ‘Konami Kode’, ‘Bomberman’ and ‘Make That Paperboy’. This song is about the numb feeling experienced after excessive playing on the NES. An ode to Repetitive Strain Injury.
5. Birdo by Horse The Band
First there was Chiptune. Then Bitpop. Subsequently Horse The Band invented “Nintendocore”. Imagine a mixture of heavy metal and 8-bit game music. Go on, imagine it. This song is a lament to the cross-dressing Super Mario Bros 2 enemy. At least I think it is; they’re very shouty and it’s quite hard to understand.
4. Sovngarde Song by Miracle Of Sound
One of the few serious songs on this list Gavin Dunne’s tribute to Skyrim has racked up over a million hits on YouTube so far. It does sound like Iron Maiden singing after a Game Of Thrones marathon though or some dwarfs out on a piss-up. Miracle Of Sound have quite a few game related songs so check ‘em out.
3. 2D Died by 8 Bit Weapon
This is Chiptune which is basically music produced with the sound chips of vintage computers, video game consoles, and arcade machines. This particular tune is about 3D gaming replacing classic 2D fare. If you can get through all 8 minutes you have more patience than me.
2. Complete History Of The Soviet Union, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris by Pig With The Face Of A Boy
How about Tetris as a metaphor for workers living under the yoke of Soviet rule? But let’s not get too bogged down with politics, yeah? Certainly the best video from this list it really kicks in after 0.53. Enjoy.
1. Sega RIP by DJ Yoda featuring Scroobius Pip
A song about Sega’s slow, sad decline into irrelevance. Particular bile is reserved for poor Ecco the Dolphin described as a “jumped up porpoise” and invited to “stick it up your blow-hole”. Bonus points for referencing 90’s TV show Gamemaster and host Dominic Diamond.
Bonus Track for inflicting Eiffel 65 upon you –