This Isn’t Pop: When Video Game Music Inspired By Popular Music Is A Little Too Inspired

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This is a post carried-over from the blog archives on philnelson.name, my previous site.

Video games have a long and storied history of borrowing heavily from popular music. This post will be updated with samples as I get them suggested to me, which you can do using the information above this post. In each case I have used less than 20 seconds of the songs in question, which I believe to be covered under fair use. If you want to hear the whole song, buy it. I will not provide you with any of them, so don’t ask.

Mega Man X2’s Neon Tiger Stage Music .vs. Guns n’ Roses’ “My Michelle”

Here is the audio file for comparison. First you will hear a snippet from Neon Tiger’s theme, then a small pause, then a snippet from My Michelle. You can, of course, purchase the Guns n’ Roses album Appetite for Destruction from Amazon.com. This, and the following two suggestions, come from this blog post.

Mega Man 1’s ElecMan Theme .vs. Journey’s “Faithfully”

Here is the audio file for comparison. Again, you will hear ElecMan’s music first, then a pause, then Journey. You can (and I encourage you to) purchase Journey’s Greatest Hits album from Amazon.

Mega Man 2’s Flash Man Theme .vs. Chicago’s “I’m A Man”

Here is the audio file for comparison. You can purchase Chicago’s Greatest Hits on Amazon. It’s a good investment.

Robo’s Theme (Chrono Trigger) .vs. Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”

Here is the audio file for comparison. Yes, it was only a matter of time before this descended into a Rick Roll. This one is a bit more tenuous, but it’s definitely noticeable. I would say it’s more of a case of borrowing than the previous tracks, which are a bit more blatant. I heartily suggest you purchase Chrono Trigger if you have never played it. It’s my favorite RPG of all time. The composer of the piece, Yasunori Mitsuda, also did the soundtrack for Chrono Cross, which is one of the most lush and beautiful game sound tracks ever.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) Stage 5 Overworld .vs. The Beatles’ “Come Together”

Here is the audio file for comparison. This is another fairly blatant one, though it’s got some nice touches, and is part of one of the great Konami NES soundtracks.

DOOM (1 & 2) .vs. Various Metal Bands

Here’s a youtube video comparing various songs from the smash-hit first person shooter DOOM to various songs from the likes of Metallica, Pantera, et. al.

Wild ARMs Overworld Theme .vs. Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold”

Here is the audio file for comparison. This one is maybe the most blatant thus far, especially considering the desert context. Morricone wrote the scores for many great westerns, most famously The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

California Games (NES) Title Theme .vs. Louie, Louie

Here is the audio file for comparison. I have a feeling that the basic structure of Louie, Louie is subject of a lot of game homage. Louie, Louie is a most infamous song, with the version done by The Kingsmen making them the subject of an FBI investigation.

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My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful objects for a troubled world. I'm a designer / developer / writer / director / editor / narrator at Occipital.

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