Great Songs Used in Video Games

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In a follow-up article to our Ten Iconic Songs from Movies we decided to take a look at some of the best offerings in the gaming world. We have purposely steered clear from the usual suspects like GTA, Saints Row, Tony Hawks and FIFA as they all tend to have a varied and overall amazing soundtrack. The idea behind this article was to highlight the occasional use of popular songs to maximum effect. So without further ado, let’s get on with the greatest show.


Twisted Metal Black – Paint it Black

Twisted Metal Black - Story Video - Paint It Black - HD


The Rolling Stones Paint it Black was an obvious choice for Incognito Entertainments 2001 Twisted Metal: Black. The thunderous beat of a drum was just the tonic for this totally twisted demolition derby. Unfortunately, the game received a number of delays due to the nature of its content but we don’t think Mick Jagger is all that bad.


Second Son – Heart Shaped Box

Infamous Second Son-Heart Shaped Box (Nirvana cover)


Second Son was set in Seattle and what better way to sign off the game by adding music by what is undoubtedly the city’s most famous band. Ok, so it’s not the original version but as with any situation, I try my damn best to refer back to Nirvana in some form. For this offering are treated to an amazing cover by Dead Sarah, an American rock band from Los Angeles… close enough.


BioShock – Beyond the Sea

Bobby Darin - Beyond the Sea (Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea)


In 2007 we were blown away by Bioshock from 2K Games, it was a tale of intrigue set in the watery city of Rapture. The game followed the disturbing story of protagonist Jack after his plane crashes in the ocean. The narrative was excellent adding to the story unfolding and had a decent soundtrack to back it up. The standout point is the use of the 1945 hit Beyond the Sea by Jack Lawrence, thankfully the developers had the sense not to use the Robbie Williams take on this classic song. Yeah, you know the fat dancer from Take That.


Portal – Still Alive

Portal - 'Still Alive'


Ok, so this is not so much of a pop song in the traditional sense of this list but we simply had to include it. The song featured in Valves 2007 release Portal and was performed by Ellen McLain who voiced GLaDOS. The song proved that popular it was even made available as a free download for the Harmonix developed Rock Band series so we could all sing along.


SSX Tricky – It’s Tricky

SSX Tricky - Title Intro ft. Run DMC - It's Tricky


We all loved the SSX series of games and the third instalment added RUN-DMC into the mix. Used as the overlay to the intro cinematic it was also put to good use as ‘it’s tricky’ blasts out every time you hit the special. Come on EA, it’s about time we had a new entry into this extreme sports series or even just some form of HD remaster at the very least.


Rayman – Black Betty

Rayman Legends Black Betty


Ubisoft’s new direction and art style really paid off for the Rayman series. 2013’s zany sequel Rayman Legends included a number of music-based levels but the standout was Castle Rock featuring an alternate take of the Ram Jam hit Black Betty. Bam-a-lam!


Red Dead Redemption – Far Away

Far Away (with lyrics) - Red Dead Redemption Soundtrack


Many a good man has often asked the question ‘what’s in Mexico’, the simple answer is Mexicans, but none more so than John Marsden. This epic western adventure perfectly marries the sentiment with audio bliss. You simply cannot but like this amazing track by the talented José González, enjoy.


Call of Duty: Black Ops – Sympathy for the Devil

Call of Duty Black Ops The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil


Although most of us are not the biggest fan of this entry in the long-running series it is without question that the dev team picked the perfect song to accompany this sequence. It marks the second entry in our list for The Rolling Stones which is a testament to their songwriting. It wreaks of the classic movie Apocalypse Now, if only the voice acting wasn’t soo imposing.


MGSV – Man who Sold the World

METAL GEAR SOLID V: The Man Who Sold The World


This David Bowie cover was the perfect accompaniment to Hideo Kojima’s MGSV and we miss both of the mentioned for very different reasons. Opting to use the 1982 studio release by Midge Ure it captures the haunting events of the game and lyrics originally penned.


Gears Of War 3 – Mad World

Gears of War Xbox 360 Trailer - Mad World Trailer


Although appearing as the music for the original Gears of War announcement trailer we have decided to go with the third offering in the franchise as it fully features. This version of the song is another cover of a classic that has been stripped back to its core providing a haunting and eerie backdrop, thank you Gary Jules.


Walking Dead – Gun in my Hand

Gun In My Hand - Dorothy - Lyric Video - The Walking Dead Michonne Game Opening Song


For this spin-off from the popular Walking Dead series of games, made by developer Telltale, we follow a new story centred around Michonne. The song of choice was Gun in My Hand by Dorothy which is in some way ironic as she is predominantly is known for using a samurai sword. Either way, it’s an audio treat.


Life is Strange – Something Good

Alt-J - Something Good (Life is Strange)


Alt-J’s Something Good is a perfect fit for the out of nowhere episodic hit from Dontnod Entertainment. With a gripping storyline that you as the player influenced it was an inspired selection to kick off proceedings. The band cleverly used the Greek symbol for Delta (a triangle) as their alias which is produced by hitting the ALT and J keys on a Mac.


Crazy Taxi – All I Want

Crazy Taxi (DC) - Theme Song (All I want by Offspring)


Least we forget the re-releases of Crazy Taxi without the original soundtrack, yes it’s great to be able to play the game again in HD but at the cost of hearing Bryan “Dexter” Holland of The Offspring screaming Ya, ya, ya, ya, yaaaa!! as we pick up fares… no thanks.


So there you have it, some great songs that have been effectively used as a means to enrich the story being told in gaming or just a great tune used on the soundtrack. Stay tuned for more and feel free to comment in the section below, on Twitter or our Facebook page!

9 thoughts on “Great Songs Used in Video Games

    1. Oh I totally agree but as per my opening comment – We have purposely steered clear from the usual suspects like GTA, Saints Row, Tony Hawks and FIFA as they all tend to have a varied and overall amazing soundtrack. Maybe I’ll do a part two soon 😉

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