Friday, June 11, 2010

So what ARE the best songs written for computer games?

Yesterday, I mentioned that portal had one of the best songs ever written for a computer game, and I got to thinking: What are the others? The original Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Tetris games all have soundtracks that have become part of twentieth century culture. If I had to choose my favorite game soundtrack, it would be the one for Lucas Arts' Grim Fandango, which combines Mexican themes with thirties jazz and blues. (The game itself is one of my all-time favorites.) However, I was thinking of songs with lyrics. So, in no particular order, here are three of my favorites.

"War" from Sam & Max Season One

There are a few other wonderful possibilities for the Sam & Max franchise. There's the C.O.P.S. and Ted. E. Bear songs (also from Season One,) The T.H.E.M. song from Season Two, and the classic "King of the Creatures" from Sam & Max Hit the Road (you have to skip ahead to 6:15.) But I personally love the idea that the outbreak of war would cause secret service men to break into a song and dance number while the president would just sit there dumbfounded.

"Skeletons in My Closet" from The 7th Guest.

In the early 90s, multimedia computers with CD-ROMs, video memory, and sound cards exploded upon the scene, bringing with them games more ambitious and creative than anything seen today. Some of these games were Myst (Riven is my personal favorite, but Myst came first,) Doom, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Day of the Tentacle, Phantasmagoria, and yes, the greatest puzzle game of them all, The 7th Guest. Winning the game meant you got to hear this gem during the end credits.

And of course, "Still Alive" from the ending credits of Portal.

There's so many reasons to love this song. It's sung by GlaDOS, the game's boss. It's message is clear - you thought you blew me up, but I'm still alive. Not only that, but it's sung in such a childish, passive-aggressive, lay-the-guilt-on-thick sweet voice: OK, I used you and manipulated you and tried to kill you, but did you really have to be so cruel and try to destroy me? The game wouldn't have been half as fun without GlaDOS egging you on. (I love the Black Mesa joke.) But the real question is, will there be cake?

Are there any that I've forgotten, or any personal favorites?



tanaudel said...

Even without knowing the game, I love the Still Alive song - but it's stuck in my head! I can still hear it!

joe larocca said...

i love all the songs