From the sublime to the silly, here are a collection of tunes that would make Professor K proud
I am fond of a video game mashup or two, so I was stoked when I heard 2 Mello (the composer for 2064: Read Only Memories) was releasing a Streets of Rage mashup album this week. When it came out on Tuesday, I downloaded it right away for listening to during workouts, and it hasn’t disappointed me. He has also released a Notorious B.I.G. and Earthbound mashup album, which is consistently great.
My interest in mashups has been reawakened, so I thought I’d check out what else is out there on SoundCloud and YouTube. And boy, was I in for a treat. Spanning the thoroughly brilliant and the brilliantly daft, there’s a lot out there to listen to when you want to let the twin worlds of video games and music collide. Below are a few starter picks that put a smile on my face.
1. “Tetromino Crusher”, Undertale x Tetris, NoteBlock
I knew, as soon as I heard it, that “Metal Crusher” sounded like Soviet music, but I never put two and two together and realised that the Tetris theme would fit it perfectly. So props to NoteBlock for figuring that out and making the tunes blend together so well! I’m not the biggest fan of the synthy direction they went in with the mashup – I think I would have rather heard the original pieces smashed together – but the arrangement gets full marks.
2. “Crash Dat”, Crash Bandicoot x Soulja Boy, SteveOfWarr
Yeah…time to start with the silly ones. If you’re around my age, you will remember “Crank Dat” as the song that inevitably got put on when everyone was blind rolling drunk. Then everyone tries to Superman at the same time, in different directions. Then someone gets punched in the face. Well, you can relive two different levels of your youth without getting a honking black eye by listening to this track! Delightful.
3. “Hotline Spikes”, Hotline Miami x Death Grips, Sadboy Sheldon
The soundtrack to Hotline Miami is genuinely good “everyday” music, and I have had it on in the background while finishing off uni work. “Crystals” by M|O|O|N and “Deep Cover” by Sun Araw are my favourite tracks from the original game, but this mix of “Miami 2” and “Spikes” by Death Grips works equally well. I often walk to work with this playing on my phone, because the spacy electro backing sort of cancels out MC Ride’s aggression – which is better for first thing in the morning than “GUILLOTIIIIIIIINE“.
4. “Walking on Sherbet Land”, Mario Kart 64 x Katrina & The Waves, FizzyNote
Oooh, this one gets me giddy. Katrina & the Waves are a bit of a cheesefest, but have a special place on British radio for getting us a hallowed Eurovision win in 1997 with “Love Shine a Light” (this was before we pissed off the entirety of Europe and everyone started voting against us…mumble mumble rigged mumble mumble). The Mario Kart OSTs have the same kind of cheerful, bouncy flare as Katrina & the Waves’s most famous track, “Walking on Sunshine”, so it makes a lot of sense to combine the two songs. I dare you to be miserable listening to this. It’s like a Solero lolly for your ears.
5. “Get Gerudo”, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time x Daft Punk, Greg Wood
I think most people are quite bored of hearing “Get Lucky” used in anything and everything, but this fresh remix isn’t too overwrought and puts a nice spin on the original. And the tracks blend together like peanut butter and chocolate. Good job, Greg!
6. “Piece of My Mind”, Lisa: the Painful RPG x Dr. Dre, Overl00k
LISA: the Painful RPG, like Undertale, was created by a one-man team (Austin Jorgensen), including the music. Austin has become one of my favourite video game composers thanks to LISA, because he knew exactly how to use the soundtrack to portray a bleak hellscape, where men are doomed to fight forever over porno mags and heroin. Adding some Dr. Dre – he of “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” fame (check out the single art) – over the top is a nice touch.
7. Life Will Change (Full Cornered Version), Persona 5 x Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Tsunscreen
Yeah, this works, alright! The parallels between Persona 5 and the Ace Attorney series are pretty obvious (fighting for justice, fancy attire, dramatic musical interludes), so it’s great to see the two together. We’ve had Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton cross-over games, so a Persona Q with Phoenix Wright characters wouldn’t be half bad. I’m not the only one who wants that, right?
8. “Holla If Ya Hear Me in the Corridors of Time”, Chrono Trigger x 2Pac, DatManOverDer
2Pac is kind of a staple in the mashup world, but Chrono Trigger is not a frontrunner when it comes to the games side of things. Still, Chrono Trigger is a classic Squaresoft JRPG, so it deserves some love. I’ve yet to play it, but if this tune is anything to go by, I will be swept away by the atmosphere.
9. “3005 PM”, Animal Crossing x Childish Gambino, pomelojuice
There’s something very fitting about putting one of the dreamy AC songs together with Childish Gambino, one of the more mellow rappers on this list. While “Walking on Sherbert Land” is a bright orange fizzy drink, this mashup is a soothing cup of chamomile tea.
10. “If I Could I Would Play Mii Channel”, Mii Channel (Wii) x Blackbear, miyu
I couldn’t round off this list without a Wii hardware reference, right? But instead of going with one of the cheesier Wii Shop mashups (and Lord knows I love the “Hotline Bling” mashup), I decided to go with something a little more R&B-influenced that also pays homage to the defunct Mii Channel. I have fond memories of downloading Mii models based on various celebrities and pop culture icons, and people used to put a bucketload of time and effort into creating the most life-like and/or grotesque avatars they could muster. I’ll never forget you, Kermit Mii.
Do you have any favourite video game mashups that I haven’t mentioned? Which is your favourite track on the list? Let me know in the comments down below!