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Crank Up the Tunes: Listening to Music While Gaming

Hello, dear readers! A week or so ago, I thought about writing this post but thought better of it. Why? Ehh… well, for a few reasons. First of all, it isn’t really /about/ video games, and secondly, I’ve been kinda picked on for doing this before. What am I talking about?

Listening to your own music while playing a video game.

And okay, “picked on” is a strong phrase for this. When I mentioned years ago that I liked listening to a certain artist while playing Twilight Princess, one of my friends pointed at me and yelped “Sacrilege!” And I totally get it – TP has a fantastic soundtrack. But after I’ve played a game the whole way through, I will sometimes turn on my own playlist and rock out. …At least I used to. Now I’m a bit more self-conscious about it, weirdly.


A week and a half ago, I took some days off work and decided to just get out for a while. It was raining the whole time, so I drove around and went to a few bookshops I hadn’t been to before. I threw on some music I listened to when I was a kid or teenager, and memories – mostly of playing Ocarina of Time – came flooding back. Then I started thinking about music I now hear and associate with certain games.

So here’s just a brief insight of what I listened to when playing certain video games:

Super Mario 64:

Even though I got to play the SNES as a kid, the 64 was all mine since my older brother moved out. I was lucky to receive it for Christmas (or my birthday… I can’t remember – they’re close to each other), and of course, Super Mario 64 was the first game I got to play on that console. After tearing through it the first time, I began filling up the other files with data. I turned on the radio on the giant used boombox in my room and often listened to what was on the radio at the time, which was pretty much 90s music. Hits from Matchbox Twenty, Soup Dragons, Tonic, Barenaked Ladies, Paula Cole, aaaaand definitely Savage Garden danced through my room. …In fact, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I remember “Truly, Madly, Deeply” playing when I was trying to discover the secret of the mini-lake outside the castle walls. It was weirdly peaceful!

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:

I played a lot of OoT. I mean, a LOT. It was the first Zelda game I fell in love with, and I couldn’t stop playing it. At that time, well, it was 1999/2000, and my mom thought it was a great idea to try to get me into the Backstreet Boys. At first, I was super resistant… but you guys… Iiiiiiiii started really liking them. >_< So BSB’s “Millennium” was played an awful lot (no regrets!). I kicked Morpha’s butt to “Don’t Want You Back” in the Water Temple. I annihilated Ganon while blaring “Larger Than Life.” I hung out and admired the moon at Lake Hylia with “I Need You Tonight.” And of course, I transported myself back to the Temple of Time and all-around adventured to my favorite BSB song, “The One.” ^_^

Of course, there were other songs, probably too many to name. Most of it included The Goo Goo Doll’s “Dizzy Up the Girl” and other random 90s music, go figure. But, yeah, BSB… They were top of the list for OoT. ^^;;

Mario Kart Double-Dash:

OKAY, SO, back in the day, I was known as a Mario Kart champ. Why? Because on September 11, 2004, I challenged this dude Aaron in college, who whooped everyone at Mario Kart 64, and I beat him – 10 times in a row – in front of everyone in the dorm lounge. He probably hated me that day, but we actually wound up becoming fast friends!

My secret? I practiced Mario Kart 64. Every. Single. Day. The same thing happened when Double Dash went out. I would often throw on some of my favorite driving music when playing the All-Cup Tour. So on came Genesis: Three Sides Live. I had a penchant for starting the Special Cup leg with “In The Cage/The Cinema Show/The Raven.” Mostly because there’s a line that goes, “Keep on turning – keep on turning! Keep on turning! Keep on turning me ’round, ’round, ’round…” and I really enjoyed yelling it out loud while nailing the corkscrew turns on Wario Colosseum. >=) Also, the live version of “The Fountain of Salmacis” is an incredible song to race to, along with “Dodo/Lurker.” Ugh, I love Genesis sooooooo much.

Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie:

OH, AND SPEAKING OF GENESIS, I played a lot of their music in the BK games, especially Banjo-Tooie. At the time, I was getting hardcore into the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis and got a lot of their CDs at Christmas, so I would listen to them when I was on break from college. A lot of Selling England by the Pound was played, for SURE. “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” blared as I ran through Witchyworld, and “The Battle of Epping Forest” kept me company in Mayahem Temple. Of course, I played newer Genesis – “The Way of the World” and “Driving The Last Spike” rumbled as I dashed through Hailfire Peaks and Cloud Cuckooland. Can you tell I’m a Genesis fan? Heh.

Donkey Kong 64:

Two words: Peter. Friggin’. Gabriel. I received a lot of his albums and this game at the same time during the holidays, so….. yeah. 🙂 Songs frequently played: “The Rhythm of the Heat,” “I Have The Touch,” “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “DIY,” and “San Jacinto.”

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:

I played an awful lot of TP in my little house-partment back in the day. I also played a lot of music on shuffle, so I mean, there were many times I would mute my TV and blare my music as loud as I could without waking up the denizens of the cornfield next door. The artist that kept me company the most at the time was Simon Collins. Yes, he is the son of legendary drummer Phil Collins, and he kicks butt! His album U-Catastrophe came out, so I cranked it up while pummeling baddies in TP. “All I’ve Left To Lose” was the theme when I dashed around Hyrule as Wolf Link. I recaptured those darned tears of light in Kakariko Village to “The Good Son.” I beat the living h*ck out of those Shadow Beasts with the wailing instrumental known as “The Big Bang.” Really, anytime I hear Simon Collins’s music, I instantly think of Twilight Princess… and subsequently, REALLY want to play it again.

Oh, and for whatever reason, listening to Walk The Moon’s “Tightrope” makes me want to replay TP as well. I immediately think of Wolf Link walking on those tightropes in the dilapidated Hyrule Castle, haha. ^^;

SO, YEAH, there you have it. I’m probably a weirdo. That’s okay. Do you guys play your own music when you game? If so, what do you like to play? I’d love to know! ^_^


3 thoughts on “Crank Up the Tunes: Listening to Music While Gaming

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  1. Oh man! If I had to make a list to what I listened to with what that I remember the most:

    Pokémon Red and Blue: N*SYNC- N*SYNC

    Banjo-Tooie: Pokémon- The First Movie Soundtrack

    Metroid Prime: Linkin Park- Reanimation

    Dragonball Z Budokai 2: Nickelback- The Long Road

    Skyrim: Amon Amarth- Twilight of the Thunder God

    Diablo 3: Witherfall- Nocturnes and Requiems

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are more that will come to mind! Fun post!!

    Liked by 1 person

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