You know that feeling you get when driving down a highway at sunset, and the perfect is the song playing on the radio? All of a sudden, it feels like you’re in a music video, or the start of a 90s teen movie, where everything is sparkling and perfect. The music becomes a soundtrack and your life becomes a story.
There are also some shining moments like this in the media – the ones that roll out the right song at the right time for the perfect synergy of feelings. think about how Edgar Wright uses licensed music in his films to emphasize tense and sharp moments and add comedy, or the use of Don’t forget me (Don’t forget me) at the end of The breakfast clubor The OC’s Season 2 finale starring Imogen Heap, which has become so iconic that he has his own SNL skit.
Much like movies and television, video games have slowly but surely learned to marry music and mechanics to create something greater than the sum of its parts. It is not such a widespread practice, admittedly – the cost of music licenses in perpetuity is prohibitively expensive even for the wealthiest studios – but when they get it right, they get it right.
So here is our list of some of the best uses of licensed music in video games. Imagine the satisfaction ka-piece a Walkman play button at the start, and be sure to fast forward to the bottom of page two to have your say in our polls…
If we can’t get Fallout on this list, at least we can have Bioshock, a series that was happy to incorporate both period-appropriate and entirely anachronistic music into its scenes. While it could be argued that “Beyond the Sea” is a bit lyrical when it comes to Bioshock’s themes and setting, it doesn’t really matter in this case, as the combination of the loungey vibe 50s and the strangely melancholy tone of this song is enough to make it come out too much. It’s just perfect.
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Editor: nintendo / Developer: PlatinumGames
This super poppy remix of Fly Me To The Moon sounds as it should in a dance dance revolution game, but no! This is the soundtrack of Bayonet kick some angel butt, and it serves as a beautifully upbeat and goofy cover that makes you want to spin around Metatron right in his stupid face with your ridiculously long legs. The moon theme continued in Bayonet 2 with Moon River and Moonlight Serenade at Bayo 3but let’s be honest: it was the best.
Editor: rock star / Developer: rock star games
GTARadio isn’t like many other games on this list. Instead of rolling out a perfect song at the perfect time, the radio soundtrack records all the terrible decisions you make as you drive through the trilogy’s many locations. That means every player’s experience is different – maybe your most memorable moment was set at Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids in America’, or maybe you have fond memories of crashing. pedestrians on Heart’s “Barracuda”. Either way, plenty of bops are found here.
Editor: Square Enix Europe / Developer: Eidos Montreal
by Peter Quill the totality is his walkman. Well, that and his cool-guy refusal to follow the rules. So it makes sense that the guardians of the galaxy the game would take that theme and run with it. Composer Richard Jacques replaced the 70s songs on Quill’s mixtape with 80s bangers, and carefully and sparingly rolled them out at exactly the right times to make you feel like a powerful superhero who chooses his own soundtrack. We’ve chosen the Huddle moment here, which forces players to perform a perfect pep talk if they want the music to hit. just right.
Editor: Harmonix / Developer: Harmonix
Is it cheating to have a music game here? No. We make the rules. But the reason Merger is here, and not just any other rhythm game is because it lets the player dictate the sound of the music. A rhythm game usually asks you to play a song exactly right; Fuser puts the control in the hands of the DJ, providing you with just a catalog of songs to add to the mix and asking you to hit the beats. You are the ones that make it good, and like in the example above, you can do that really good. Fuser packs a lot of power with its tools, then leaves the execution to you.
Editor: electronic arts / Developer: Criteria sets
Don’t you just tingle when you hear the first notes strummed by Slash from Paradise City? What a song to introduce the sunburnt world of burnout paradise which has the same name (don’t tell anyone, but it’s just a fictional hodgepodge of California towns). Alongside Guns ‘N’ Roses, Burnout Paradise also drew inspiration from the soundtrack styles of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skateragain putting names like Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction on the playlists.