Games and popular music: story of the relationship in 13 clips

How have popular musicians and producers used royalty free music in games to attract new listeners - from the golden era of MTV to the present day?

Video games and popular artists have been each other's marketing platforms and sources of inspiration for a long time. We decided to talk about how the video game industry won the hearts of musicians and what music videos came out of it.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

Computer graphics have been used in music videos since at least the 1980s - just remember Dire Straits - Money for Nothing, the clip that opened the European MTV airwaves in 1987. However, the elements of games in music videos are the phenomenon of the early 2000s. Californication is a great example of "playing in the video", a popular technique at that time. Red Hot Chili Peppers not only made a video in the style of Crazy Taxi and several sports simulators but also used the technology of motion capture to create models of musicians, which was a real breakthrough at that time. It's also worth mentioning the Linkin Park video "Pts. Of. Athrty" in 2000, made entirely on the then-new game engine Unreal Engine.

Evanescence - Everybody's Fool

It's 2003: games have become more mainstream, and some of them, like the iconic Tomb Raider, have already made two movies with Angelina Jolie. MTV had an unusual idea - Tony Schiff of Big Bear Entertainment came up with the concept of a series in which characters from video games were turned into musicians. That's how the Video Mods show appeared on MTV. It featured all kinds of games, from Tribes: Vengeance to the cult Lineage 2, which was only a year old at the time. Unfortunately, the show didn't last long - from September 2004 to July 2005.

Nine Inch Nails - Less Than

The era of MTV is long gone, but the artists of that "formation" continue to create music videos entirely built around games. Nine Inch Nails decided to use it in their music video for the song Less Than the play-by-play of the game Polybius. Recall that the game itself is first and foremost an urban legend from the 80s, often referred to in pop culture. It was rumored that this mythical slot machine drove some people to convulsions and seizures while killing others. In 2016, Llamasoft released a game by that name for the PS4, which is what is played in the NIN video.

Moby - Wait For Me

One of the most famous electronic artists in the world, Moby, made an entire game for his song in the spirit of console projects of the 90s. As is often the case with the Brooklyn-based artist, without even listening to the song itself, you can understand that this is not the funniest story.

Blur - Ong Ong

The eternal rival of Oasis, the brit-pop band Blur, also has its music video, in which the main character is the sun. The song was not a hit itself, but the video got just over 2 million views.

Avenged Sevenfold - Carry On

By the early noughties, the situation had in a sense reversed: game studios now had enough resources to use music videos to promote games, not the other way around. At the end of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the digitized musicians from the metal band Avenged Sevenfold sing the song Carry On. This scene from the game was released separately as an official music video.

Get Jinxed

In 2013, the developers of League of Legends decided to involve musicians to promote a new hero in the game - Jinx. The lyrics and music for the video were written by the lead singer of Animal Alpha and Djerv Aniet Kjölsrud. It came out incredibly upbeat and successful - five years later, the video has over 75 million views. Realizing that the fans of the game like such collaborations, Riot Games presented a new Warriors video dedicated to the League of Legends World Championship in 2014. This time, however, the music for it was written by Imagine Dragons. As a result - more than 162 million views, the song began to be played by all speakers, and the band had to play it at concerts.

Paul McCartney - Hope For The Future

In 2014, Activision once again decided to involve a popular musician to promote the game. This time Sir Paul McCartney released a whole single Hope For The Future, timed to coincide with the release of Destiny. A music video was shot for the song, in which the famous musician sings against the backdrop of landscapes from the game and looks, frankly, a little lost.

Iron Maiden - Speed Of Light

In 2015, the fathers of British heavy metal released the "gamer" video Speed of Light. Iron Maiden in general has a rich history of partiality for video games - the band even has several of their games (for example, the mobile Legacy of the Beast from 2017 and Ed Hunter from 1999). In addition, the band's songs were used in the soundtrack of the game Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now.

Kanye West & Lil Pump ft. Adele Givens - I Love It

Modern musicians also regularly refer to game themes, but they do it in a much more subtle way. For example, Kanye West released a video clip I Love It in which West and Lil Pump are dressed as characters from the game Roblox. It is unknown whether the rappers play Roblox, but the video caused a massive stir among the fans of the game.

Sia - You've Changed

Another example of a more modern approach to game themes. The singer Siu was not turned into a character from the game, but her video has a lot of familiar gamer elements, from the character selection and customization screen to the game settings. There's even a cast-iron frying pan from PUBG (although the reference may be accidental).

We The Kings - Say You Like Me

In the video the members of We The Kings are jumping from one game to another, getting into a fighting game and an arcade game. It looks a lot like the first video in our selection (RHCP - Californication), but without the three-dimensional models of the musicians themselves, which look a little weird now.

Deadmau5 - Monophobia (feat. Rob Swire)

In the latest clip by DJ Deadmau5 (a fan of playing PUBG, by the way), computer characters find themselves in the real world. It feels like most of the images are taken directly from the unfinished games, which are sold on Steam for $0.99. If you try hard enough, you can see hidden advertisements for GeForce video cards in the clip.

Gradually, games have ceased to be something unusual in music videos. If at first musicians experimented cautiously with video games, now performers boldly take any images and genres, adjusting them to their subjects. Games have become a full-fledged part of pop culture, so even people who aren't gamers easily accept images from popular game projects.

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