What to Play While You Play

July 20th, 2010

Video games have provided us with some memorable music which has helped shape the atmosphere for our gameplay experience.  In fact, the music has become so popular that many composers for games go on tour and perform these songs in front of live audiences.  Take Nobuo Uematsu for instance, who has made the music for the Final Fantasy series memorable (“One-Winged Angel” from FFVII is a highly requested song by the fans who go to these concerts).  But what happens when we take the music to our favorite games out of the equation, and replace it with something else?  We end up with an entirely different experience that alters the feel of the game.

So grab your controller, mute the TV, and crank up the stereo, because we’re gonna take a look at some of the best video game and music combos that’ll change the gameplay experience.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

For a far out and trippy experience, load up the latest adventure of Nintendo’s famed hero for Wii along with The Beatles’ eighth studio album. With all that flying around space you’ll be doing, while listening to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, you’ll feel like you’re on LSD with mushrooms.

Dragon Age: Origins and any Disney soundtrack

Disney has always been about creating a magical experience, and what’s more magical than the world of wizards and elves in Dragon AgeAladdin‘s “A Whole New World” is a great song to play while exploring Ferelden, and during cutscenes involving the faceless Darkspawn army, why not crank up “Be Prepared” from The Lion King?  And when your team is working together to slay a dragon or fight hordes of orcs, Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story is ideal.

Sonic the Hedgehog and Judas Priest

The problem with the Sonic series is the games fail to capture the protagonist’s cool outlook and tough exterior (he has spikes on his back).  Plus, Sonic has been conned into doing really crappy games.  But that ceases to be if you play some epic metal music instead of the happy-go-lucky soundtrack of the game.  Might I suggest Judas Priest’s Painkiller album?  Speeding through loop-de-loops and clobbering Eggman has never felt more awesome when blaring “All Guns Blazing”.

Call of Duty and Radiohead

The Call of Duty franchise has done a great job re-creating the war experience for gamers who missed out on the actual thing.  But most seem to forget that war is a terrible atrocity, and a stain on human history.  Many young men lost their lives to defend their country, and there was nothing fun about it.  To recapture the tragedy, load up Radiohead, whose songs like “Pyramid Song” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” will make you weep as you gun down Nazis.

Pokemon and Danny Elfman

What if Tim Burton had created Pokemon?  I wonder if the monsters would look better or worse?  Well, the closest you could get to it is by listening to the various music Danny Elfman has composed for Burton’s movies while trying to catch-’em-all.  The journey to becoming Pokemon Master has never felt so eerie.

Any Album and Rock Band

This will result in an extremely confusing and overwhelming experience.  The gameplay will seem difficult, and somewhat pointless, since the colored tabs won’t match up to the music’s rhythm.  Y’know what, maybe avoid this combination.  The only benefit to doing this is if you’re trying to complete songs that you just can’t stand listening too.