Pitchfork But For Video Game Music

 Super Mario Bros.

 Ground Theme

 (1985)
 

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to walk down the street to our friend Andy’s house and play video games before we caught the bus to school. Now Andy, having cool parents and generally not being poor, always had the latest Nintendo system at his disposal. Mornings of Paper Boy and Hoops gave way to Super Mario World, Donkey Kong County, and finally Goldeneye. But, as the years went on, something always bugged me about Andy. Why was he always carrying around a trumpet? How come he always made weird breathing noises when it got too quiet? Why was he so bad at basketball? One day, while walking to Andy’s house in 6th grade, it dawned on me. Andy was a nerd. I had been hanging out with a nerd for nearly my entire life at that point. But what about that joy I felt on those early mornings playing the NES? SNES? The Nintendo 64? Were those experiences even real? Was I being manipulated by nerd forces I hadn’t even been aware of? Who am I? What am I? Is this real? Is anything real?


 The Legend of Zelda 

 Lost Woods Theme 

 (1987) 
 

In preparing to write these reviews, I took some time to just sit back in my leather recliner, bourbon in hand, smoking jacket draped across my shoulders, and take a trip down memory lane with my favorite video game music of all time. After all was said and done, this was the track that surprised me the most. I grew up in a Sega household, and never really played a Zelda game until I beat the Windwaker HD remake earlier this year. As the only Coffee Man with a modern Nintendo product, I felt as though it was my duty to make sure the company was well represented in my reviews, and I’m glad I did. I’ve never really played the original Legend of Zelda, but wow, this track really does a nice job of framing an epic coming of age adventure of self-discovery and getting super, super lifted. At least, that’s all I could think about after the beat drops HARD around the thirty second mark. The track takes off into a whole other realm, taking my consciousness with it, blasting off to another plane of existence where I am smoking the dankest kush with Link, just blowing the smoke right into Ganandorf’s stupid face, and there’s nothing he can do about it. Did you ever wonder why Link wears green? Listen to this amazing track and ask him for yourself, bro. But I think you already know the answer.


 Sonic Spinball

 Theme

 (1993)
 

Pop music in the early 90s took an interesting turn after the rejection of new wave. We were still several years from the alternative scene that dominated the late 90s, yet removed enough from the likes of A Flock of Seagulls and Chaka Kahn that the people wanted something a bit more aggressive and fun-loving. With the promise of a newly elected president, (One Mr. Bill Clinton, who lied under oath. Can you believe a president actually did that? And that’s why he’s considered to be hands-down the worst president in American history.) the country was ready to live, laugh and love once more. This perfect storm lead to the Sonic Spinball theme rocketing up the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, which came as no surprise, considering the track’s length. At around 8 seconds total, most club DJs played it 20-30 times in a row, while enthusiastic club-goers did the “Sonic Spinball Shuffle”, a novelty dance sorely lost to the annals of pop-culture history. This led to Billboard ultimately creating a cap of 19 consecutive plays for the chart after pressure from Madonna, who had threatened to poke Tails’ eyes out with her cone-bra on the Arsenio Hall Show. Even today, the track remains a curious testament to a country that, if just for a brief moment, stood united with a hero that “hates oppression and staunchly defends freedom”, “lives as he wants”, and “makes life a series of events and adventures”. If only we all could be a little more like Sonic.



 Metal Gear Solid 

 Main Theme 

 (1998) 
 


 Haters gonna hate. 

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