Video games and electronic music have overlapped significantly over the years. Due to both mediums being high tech, it seems as though fans of one have oftentimes been attracted to the other.
With more artists being included in video game tournaments, release concerts, conventions, and even the games themselves, electronic music has quickly become the unofficial genre of video games. In honor of this fruitful relationship, we’ve collected twelve of our favorite EDM and video game crossovers.
Since it came out in the early ’90s, the ever-controversial Mortal Kombat series has featured numerous electronic soundtracks and crossovers. While the iconic theme song from the film based on the games was classic ’90s trance, over the years the franchise has dipped into other realms of the electronic world. Some notable examples include Skrillex‘s theme song for the character Reptile with the accompanying soundtrack and a playable Dimitri Vegas character in Mortal Kombat 11.
Through a partnership with Monstercat, the popular vehicular soccer game Rocket League has been able to provide an extensive soundtrack of the best and brightest in EDM. Artists like DROELOE, Slushii, Dion Timmer and many more have been featured on the Rocket League x Monstercat compilation album series, while deadmau5‘ signature mau5head can be added to players’ cars for extra flair.
Hotline Miami, the hyper-violent, top-down shooter seemingly inspired by the movie Drive, features a robust electronic soundtrack. With loads of synthwave and related sounds, artists like Perturbator, M|O|O|N, Jasper Byrne and more soundtrack the fast-paced action of the game while the level backgrounds and the LEDs on PS4 controllers change colors with the audio.
Grand Theft Auto V
The third-best-selling video game of all time, Grand Theft Auto V, turns its massive soundtrack into a very realistic network of radio stations featuring celebrity radio hosts, talk shows, and even fake commercials. When driving a vehicle, players can turn on the radio and cycle through a multitude of stations featuring a wide variety of genres.
When the game originally launched two electronic stations were available with music from Boys Noize, Green Velvet, Kaskade, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus and more included, with the latter being the host and namesake of one station. Doubling down on electronic music, later in the game’s lifecycle, there was an update that added a techno and house station. It also let players buy their own in-game nightclubs and hire DJs like Solomun, Dixon, and The Black Madonna for residencies.
It seems almost too obvious to make an electronic soundtrack for a game about racing futuristic spaceships at breakneck speed. Over the years, as WipEout games were released, the music accompanying them kept up with electronic music trends. While early games featured music from artists like The Chemical Brothers and Orbital, later iterations went with artists like NGHTMRE and Dillon Francis.
C418 did an incredible job setting the mood for the various adventures you’ll embark on when you play Minecraft. Working directly with the creator of the what would become the best-selling game of all time, the German producer would deliver tracks near and dear to fans’ hearts. In addition to the included music, actual music festivals have been held inside the game’s world, including one hosted by The Walking Dead star Chandler Riggs.
Far Cry 3
When you ask most players what their favorite mission in Far Cry 3 was, many will say, “the Skrillex one.” While the game doesn’t feature an expansive electronic soundtrack like others on this list, one iconic mission in particular features the sounds of the bass music pioneer. The objective of the mission is to burn the villain’s marijuana supply with a flamethrower while fighting off enemies. While you do this, Skrillex and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley‘s track “Make It Bun Dem” is played throughout, keeping with the franchise’s subtle humor.
Zone of the Enders
An often underappreciated gem, Zone of the Enders featured a wonderful electronic soundtrack. A product of its time, the selected songs and future remixes featured the sounds of the early ’00s, with multiple drum and bass and electronica tracks throughout. Although it was never a smash hit, the titles were eventually remastered in 2012 and released alongside a remix album.
Dance Dance Revolution
While other entries on this list featured dance music in their soundtracks, Dance Dance Revolution made dance music the focus of its gameplay. The game has players hit arrow buttons with their feet as they dance through a variety of electronic songs. The movements players make when playing the game is supposed to emulate the shuffling you’d see at a rave. Considered an iconic rhythm game, Dance Dance Revolution opened the door for many future titles in the genre, like the next entry on the list.
Building upon the success of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, DJ Hero was essentially their EDM counterpart. Players swapped out the plastic guitar for a plastic turntable and mixer, allowing players to simulate DJing along with the songs. With Daft Punk and deadmau5 as playable characters and more EDM tracks then we can possibly list, developers went out of their way to give electronic fans an interactive music game experience.
Jet Set Radio
Widely considered some of the best soundtracks in video game history, the Jet Set Radio series has included a ton of electronic music in their pristine collections. Players could skate and tag future Tokyo along to the sounds of the “future,” featuring massive artists and little-known composers. It was truly an experience to behold, and fans still rant and rave (pun intended) about the music two decades later.
Kingdom Hearts III
For each core entry in the Kingdom Hearts series, Hikaru Utada has created the theme song. With the highly-anticipated third entry in the series, she recruited one of dance music’s biggest stars, Skrillex, to help create the theme for the next chapter. Her stunning vocals alongside some masterful future bass production helped make “Face My Fears” an appropriate theme for a game of this scope and caliber.