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Pixelated Mixtapes #1: We Don't Listen To Ravenholm


[This is the first entry in what may or may not become a series of articles related to games and music. Next to gaming, music is my favorite form of entertainment evar. So, if you enjoy this, let me know. In fact, feel free to suggest directions to take this in, because I have several in mind.]

How a game makes you feel is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of gaming. If Two Worlds elicits frustration and the need to bust faces, then the game has probably done something wrong. If your trousers feel happy and you find a song in your heart after playing a round of Team Fortress 2 (which is my experience), then clearly that game has done something very right. Now, typically, in most corners of the world, being afraid is not a very desirable thing. And yet, even still, film-goers and gamers alike often go to films and play games for the sole purpose of having the excrement forcibly driven from their bodies by fear. This, I do not understand. Fear can be healthy, but when I'm trying to be entertained, it's simply not welcome. As such, I do not like horror movies or games.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of games evoking emotion and thought in the player, but sometimes I just don't want to dine on the particular morsels that a game is attempting to serve me. One such instance occurred recently in the otherwise-fabulous Half-Life 2. In the fifth chapter of the game, "We Don't Go To Ravenholm," the game takes a surprising and successful digression into the horror genre, offering up a level of dark, post-apocalyptic city streets filled with brain-crunching zombies, in both the slow-and-stupid and fast-and-terrifying varieties. True to zombie-genre form, ammo is scarce and the music is sparce and tense. The level is sheer Creepy and everything about it manages to ratchet up the tension tenfold. It's an impressive display of the game's genre-bending versatility, but the level is a chore and an unwelcome digression for pussies like me.

So, what to do when such a level inevitably comes up? Skip it? If possible, maybe. But, if it's not possible to skip it, how does one relieve the tension and make the level more tolerable? That's where this blog post comes in. I threw together a quick playlist in iTunes, solely dedicated to turning Ravenholm into a happy, enchanted city filled with unicorns and sky-blue teddy bears. Okay, maybe it's not that happy, but it's as close as my iTunes library could get. Here's the listing of the tracks included specifically to make one's next trip through bloodthirsty, soul-crushing Ravenholm a bright, cheery one. (There's a download link at the bottom.)

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
The Beautiful South - Dream A Little Dream
Blue Oyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
Blur - Coffee & TV
eels - Last Stop: This Town
Feist - 1, 2, 3, 4
The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??
Haddaway - What Is Love?
Harvey Danger - Oh! You Pretty Things
Iggy Pop - Lust For Life
Man or Astroman? - MST3K Love Theme
MST3K - A Clown In The Sky
MST3K - Bouncy Upbeat Song
MST3K - Master Ninja Theme Song
MST3K - Tribute To Pants
Nada Surf - Blankest Year
Paul Anka - Mr. Brightside
Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People
Radiohead - No Surprises
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
Spin Doctors - Two Princes
Stan Bush - The Touch
Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life
The Police - Rehumanize Yourself
They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse In Your Soul
They Might Be Giants - Lucky Ball & Chain
They Might Be Giants - Particle Man
Traveling Wilburys - Handle With Care
Weezer - Photograph
Weird Al Yankovic - Dare To Be Stupid
Wilco - War On War
William Shatner - Mr. Tambourine Man


It's a hefty number of songs, so readers on 56k connections should... really get something better than 56k. Some tunes were chosen for reasons other than their lightness-of-heart, but hopefully that will be obvious. Let me know how this jives with you all, and feel free to offer up some other improvised game soundtrack suggestions. The next time Gordon Freeman is heaving a sawblade through the midsection of a headcrab zombie with his gravity gun, don't you think he should be humming "Fat Bottomed Girls"? Thank you, and goodnight.

(These songs won't stay up forever, and please remember that they're only for sampling purposes. If you like these songs, give those super-nice, awesome record labels your money and purchase them all nice and legal-like.)

[UPDATE: I removed the torrent link, since no one seemed to be using it.]
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About Sharplessone of us since 12:40 PM on 03.09.2007

Name: Matt
Occupation: Habitual Line-Stepper
Location: New Jersey, USA
Date of Birth: June 13, 1983
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Relationship Status: D.O.A.
Blood Type: Too Rich To Die

My Stuff
Tumblr (bullshit)
Twitter (twitters)
Last.fm (musics)

Game Systems Owned
Xbox 360
Playstation 2 (sold)
Playstation (gave away)
Gameboy Advance (dim screen)
Nintendo 64 (broken)
Super Nintendo
Sega Game Gear
Sega Genesis

Best Vidya Games Ever
01 Team Fortress 2
02 Earthworm Jim 2
03 Left 4 Dead
04 Half-Life 2
05 Portal
06 Earthworm Jim
07 Rock Band 2

Best Vidya Games Characters
01 Solid Snake
02 Anyone from Team Fortress 2
03 The G-Man
04 Gordon Freeman
05 Samus Aran
06 Francis (Left 4 Dead)
07 Francis York Morgan

Steam ID:Sharptoid


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