Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Top 10 Songs in Gaming

Oh boy, did I ever make a mistake with the wording behind this Top 10? I mean, let’s face the facts here, I wanted to make this Top 10 Music in Gaming, but I accidentally said Top 10 Songs in Gaming. Joel found this oh so funny, that I of all people would use an incorrect word. So instead of sneakily changing this over to Top 10 Music in Gaming, we thought we’d take the word mistake on the chin and do Top 10 Songs in Gaming.

The difference between a song and some music is that a song has words within it. Music however doesn’t have words, but is the actual arrangement of instruments to make a noise. Okay, a bit of rhythm helps, but that’s really the jist of it. So how many games are out there that actually have songs, y’know, the lyrical kinds? Joel and I set out on a voyage to see if we could make a boat befitting a god… Or maybe I just wanted Joel gone… Either way, this is our Top 10 Songs in Gaming!

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Top 10

10 – Sailors Song, Black & White

Oooh, we’ve got this notion that we’d quite like to sail the ocean. Ah, I seem to have been caught singing along to this little ditty once again. Damn it, I guess I’ll have to hand in my manliness badge (I had one..?) and I should just go jump on the boat for myself.

But in seriousness, this had to get in. Sooo many people found these guys annoying, but I honestly thought they were a breath of fresh air. Black & White was well known for its brilliant blend of humour in amongst an otherwise amazing god game. Before this, you only really had Populous, which I guess is fitting as Black & White is designed by the guy who made said franchise.

You heard this song in several parts… And then, surprisingly if you actually help them out and get their boat out there to sea, they reappear once again near the end of the game and oh boy, is it ever worth hearing their song one more time!?

Taking from a YouTube Comment in the above video:

weird how this melody has stuck in my memory for years.

9 – Charlie Mops, Bard’s Tale

Is it really a surprise that within the first few minutes of a game about a Bard is filled with bawdy songs? The first place you walk into and the merry drunks are singing a song about beer and the man who invented it, a surprisingly long song but enjoyable number sung at full volume in accordance with tradition.

It’s one of many songs in the game and indeed in the series, and though I’ve only played the one – the Android version which is awesome, amazing quality for a mobile app – it’s a song that sticks in my head like a earworm. I love it, it’s cheery and bouncy and really sets the tone for the rest of the game, a rolling parody filled with daft comedy.

8 – LocoRoco

Gather your friends, start a choir, sing your way into the secret places and fight out evil invading tentacle monsters. In LocoRoco you take the role of a planet, rolling and bouncing your last great defence around the your surface. Doesn’t matter, they’re adorable, and the songs are amazing.

The songs are in a language very similar to Simolian, a put-together mash of syllables oddly representative of any and all languages, but they’re even composed in many different genre styles; reggae, brit-rock, blues. LocoRoco is a fun little game, sure, but it’s an even better listen.

7 – Master Onion’s Rap, Parappa the Rapper

Most people at some point of owning a PlayStation likely came across the Parappa the Rapper demo. This was the song that was on that demo, which was also the first level from Parappa the Rapper. The little rapping dog has to grow up pretty quickly through the course of the game and he does everything though the medium of rap. Joel and I have a little soft spot for geeky raps, as we’ve covered before (Try our Top 10 ERBs!)

However, the unique selling point to the songs in Parappa the Rapper is the fact that you actually make an impact on the songs. You see, as you play through the game, you get involved with the raps. So in this, you have to say the words: Kick, Punch, Chop, Block, Jump, Turn and Pose. By pressing X, ⬜ , ◯ or △, you end up with Parappa saying one of the words at the right times. A very unique game that earns a soft spot with me, but it also shows that you can make songs the entire point of a game… And that’s not including things like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, where you can be the singer. Very cool for its time and definitely a classic!

6 – I Am Murloc by Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain, World of Warcraft

A lot of you reading this may be feeling a little bit cheated with this one.

“But Timlah,” I hear you start, “That’s an actual band who made a song because of a game, not made a song for a game. It was just a song that made these guys famous!” You’re absolutely 100% correct too. This was a song that was made because these rockers were serious fans of World of Warcraft, to the point that they made an entire song about being a Murloc. I mean that’s pretty damn cool unto itself, but there’s another part of this story…

See, Blizzard saw this… and they also saw the popularity of L70ETC. Blizzard let them be a live performer at Blizzcon, but to top this off, they even included in-game performers of L70ETC and the song, I Am Murloc was added into the World of Warcraft. This is proof that if you’re just that geeky enough and you have that really fun little idea, uploading a video can get you into the thing you’re most interested in.

5 – A Pirate I Was Meant To Be, The Curse of Monkey Island

The fact it takes Guybrush Threepword the word Orange to progress the game after this shanty begins is absolutely superb and comedy genius. But of course, fans of the fantastic adventure game series, Monkey Island, would hold this song dear to them in their own little way. I must have only been about 10 years old when I first heard this song… and I still sing along to it to this day.

It’s catchy and it shows the predicament our hero is in. He’s gotten himself a crew of would-be adventurers (or pirates as he’s referring to them). They are so ecstatic about being officially called pirates, they can’t help but to just break down in song and dance… And the expressions on Guybrush’s face are a sure fire sign that he’s not really digging the fact his crew are so carefree about their singing.

Guybrush, how could you spoil this amazing moment in gaming? You’re as repulsive as a monkey in a negligee!

4 – Melodies of Life, Final Fantasy IX

The Final Fantasy franchise is full of songs which are worth listening to. Of course, everyone remembers One Winged Angel, but when you look at the actual words it’s kind of… Lame. I’m sorry, but when the lyrics of the song are literally saying about how Sephiroth is full of rage, you kind of just want to say “nope!” In Latin it sounds great though. So what about Final Fantasy 8’s Eyes On Me? It’s a beautiful song after all… But now we’ve gone from rage to “I love you!” It’s touching, it’s almost as good as…

Melodies of Life. A song that really discusses the whole game that you’re about to play before you even get to play it. Not only that, it’s a recurring song (like Eyes On Me) and guess what? Nobuo Uematsu, the composer for the Final Fantasy series, has said that this is his favourite track from the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack, which is full of some fantastic music. If you’ve not heard the soundtrack, I urge you to look it up, as it’s just fantastic. It’s composed beautifully and it’s downright sweet to listen to.

Yes, you literally can understand the whole game through this one song… But had I also mentioned that it was used in a lot of other media? Performed live all over and this even appeared in a Coca Cola advert which was also advertising Final Fantasy IX, it’s been around! Move over One Winged Angel, this is the truest Final Fantasy song. Pah, full of rage.

3 – Dovahkiin, Skyrim

For the first time, the Elder Scrolls theme has lyrics, along with an epic tempo, blasting orchestral score, and OH it’s all written in draconic script! It’s become known as the Skyrim theme, but the same tune (at different tempos, keys, but the same melody) is used in Morrowind and Oblivion. It’s Skyrim that we all remember!

Interesting fact: A choir of thirty people recorded the song Dovhakiin three times to sound like a much bigger ensemble, they had to work to a common pronunciation and emphasis of an entirely invented language, although one that obeys common linguistic rules. The anthem of the Dragonborn is one of the modern masterpieces, not just in games, but in pop-culture of the decade. But not number one?

2 – Katamari Damacy

The song for rolling up large chunks of planet to redecorate the sky. It’s fast paced, uplifting and oddly heart-warming. I’ve never really picked up the ability to memorize japanese lyrics like many anime and gaming fans have, but you can’t help but join in the chorus. It’s got a real party feel that just can’t be beaten, you just have to “roll with it”! Hah! Sneaky pun near the end of the list.

1 – Want You Gone, Portal 2

We debated this. One or other of the Portal songs was going to make the list, they’re beautiful, so why Want You Gone over Still Alive, or even the Aria of the Turrets?

Portal 2 may not have quite so many distinctive and memorable memes to its’ name, but its’ cultural impact was so much more explosive. Seizing upon the fame of its’ predecessor, its’ imagery, its’ music, its’ characters spread further and faster than that of any other game. It was endemic, and in a way Want You Gone was the perfect finale to it all.

Both songs were written by Jonathan Coulton, famous comedy musician whose entire personal works are in the public domain (at least they were last I heard) and performed by GLADoS actor, opera singer, and generally lovely woman, Ellen McLain. If there’s one reason to hope that Portal gets a third instalment, it’s that these two may never compose together again.


Honourable Mention

The above songs are in game, for sure, but hey, these ones are also in game… So they count still, right? Maybe, but these certainly aren’t on the same level as the above. Never the less, we thought we’d give a nod to these, as they kind of deserve it…

Guitar Hero / Rock Band

Literally you’re picking up plastic guitars, or picking up drum sticks, hey even the microphone or a keyboard… And this is the whole game. Unlike Parappa the Rapper where you are given freedom to be creative with your songs, even hitting the notorious COOL Modes, Guitar hero and Rock Band are requiring you to be as accurate as possible. The giants of the rhythm game genre…

Oh what’s that? Great Aunt Mable is over? Great, she can be our vocalist. Mum, get on the bass guitar, dad get on the drums and everyone stand aside for me, the greatest guitar hero player ever. *Clunk, clink clunk!* Oops, I missed a few, now that song sounds dreadful…

Covers by characters, various games

Just because someone’s a character in a game doesn’t make them any less human, they like to butcher songs in the radio just like the rest of us. Cruising around Saints Row with the radio blasting, who could resist the urge to pick up the tune and do worse things to it than you ever could pedestrians.

And of course, let’s not forget this cheery little ditty. Let’s never… ever… forget.


That’s all we’ve got for this weeks Top 10. Hopefully you found our lyrical content to be just the right blend of funny, epic and awesome… Or you just really liked listening to them sailors singing about their boat. Joel and I sure as hell know we do! But it’s now time for you to join in once again and let us know what you think our next Top 10 really should be. My personal opinion is that every single one of you should click Top 10 Music in Gaming right now, so we can actually settle this one and for all. Go ahead, click it. I mean you could press the others, but where’s the fun in that? Please vote for Top 10 Music in Gaming…

As always, what did you think of our list? Did you enjoy the songs we’ve included here, or do you think we fell just a little bit flat? If you think we were off key, then please let us know where you would have placed our entrants, or if you think we should change our tune entirely, what songs would you suggest for the Top 10 Songs in Gaming? Please leave your comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter!

3 responses

  1. I think I would have gone with Still Alive. Bard’s Tale has some funny tunes. I have a soft spot for Melodies of Life as it is from the first FF game I played.

    Like

    May 24, 2015 at 9:57 am

    • It might be why I chose Melodies of Life > all other FF songs. It was also my first FF, so I think perhaps it is just a sign of being too nostalgic on my part, however I truly believe that out of all the FF songs with lyrics, it’s the strongest. It holds meaning to the game throughout and it’s not just there as a song to drive a love interest… Plus it’s better than singing about Sephiroths teenage angst.

      Like

      May 24, 2015 at 11:06 pm

  2. Great list! Like you I would choose Want You Gone over Still Alive – just. I saw Jonathan Coulton play live a couple of years back (in Bristol, did you go too?) and he played acoustic versions of both songs. Even stripped down like that and without Ellen McClain’s vocals I was so impressed by how well both songs still worked, which shows how well put together they are.

    Like

    May 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm

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