Video Game Soundtracks
Video game soundtracks have come quite a long way since the days of 16-bit or MIDI bleeps and blips. Talk to any avid gamer and they'll tell you that a video game's soundtrack is almost as integral a feature as the actual game itself. And like the soundtracks to TV shows or movies, bands and solo artists can make some decent cash off the royalties if one of their songs is featured in a popular video game soundtrack. Although game soundtracks can be springboards for up-and-coming artists to bigger and better opportunities, they are first and foremost meant to give the game itself a mood, a feeling. Take the Grand Theft Auto series, for instance: Vol. 7: Radio Espantoso approximates a stereotypical Miami radio station by incorporating primarily Latin artists such as Mongo Santamaria, Cachao and Machito with skits that make light of abrasive radio announcers and commercials; Vol. 3: Emotion 98.3 uses Toto's "Africa," Night Ranger's "Sister Christian," Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" and many other '80s staples to make the player fell like he or she is in an episode of Miami Vice. Another notable phenomenon is the Tony Hawk evolution. Skateboarding began as a subculture soundtracked primarily by hard rock and (what is now considered "old school") punk bands. But as it morphed and evolved from empty backyard swimming pools and homemade ramps into the streets, the hip-hop world started to get involved. As a result, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 features an eclectic mix of tracks, from archetypal classic rock anthems (AC/DC's "TNT"), to seething, snot-nosed '80s skate punk (Agent Orange's "Bloodstains"), to rhythmic and lyrical beats (Aesop Rock's "Labor"). These days, video games soundtracks feel more diverse than some terrestrial radio stations.