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

*This is a post carried-over from the blog archives on, 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][gnrfile]. 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][appe] from This, and the following two suggestions, come from [this blog post][post1].

[post1]: “Megaman and 80s music”
[gnrfile]: “GNR .vs. Mega Man”
[appe]: “Appetite for Destruction on amazon mp3”

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

[Here is the audio file for comparison][jour]. 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][jouralbum] from Amazon.

[jour]: “ElecMan .vs. Faithfully”
[jouralbum]: “Journey’s Greatest Hits on Amazon mp3”

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

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

[chicago]: “Flash Man .vs. Chicago”
[chihits]: “Chicago’s Greatest Hits on Amazon mp3”

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

[Here is the audio file for comparison][roboast]. 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][ct] 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][ccost], which is one of the most lush and beautiful game sound tracks ever.

[roboast]: “Robo’s Theme .vs. Rick Astley”
[ct]: “Chrono Trigger of Nintendo DS on”
[ccost]: “Chrono Cross soundtrack”

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

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

[tmntbeat]: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles .vs. The Beatles”

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

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

[doom]: “DOOM .vs. Metal”

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

[Here is the audio file for comparison][wildarms]. 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][gbu].

[wildarms]: “Wild ARMs .vs. Ennio Morricone”
[gbu]: “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”

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

[Here is the audio file for comparison][louie]. 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][louiewik], with the version done by The Kingsmen making them the subject of an FBI investigation.

[louie]: “California Games .vs. Louie, Louie”
[louiewik]: “Louie, Louie on Wikipedia”

2 replies on “This Isn’t Pop: When Video Game Music Inspired By Popular Music Is A Little Too Inspired”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.