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Top 10 Video Game-Inspired Music Videos

VO: Matt Campbell
Script Written by Kurt Hvorup. When games and music come together, the result is awe-inspiring. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Video Game-Inspired Music Videos. For this list, we're taking a look at the music videos in recent and more distant history that clearly draw inspiration from the realm of video games. Special thanks to our users Sqrabbel, Ethan Cate, Megidra and Daniel Fong for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script Written by Kurt Hvorup.

Top 10 Video Game-Inspired Music Videos


When games and music come together, the result is awe-inspiring. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Video Game-Inspired Music Videos.

For this list, we're taking a look at the music videos in recent and more distant history that clearly draw inspiration from the realm of video games. Be it subtle nods or full-scale homages, focusing on one game in particular or a whole host of them, these are the videos that pay tribute to their fellow medium.

#10: “We Come Together” (2011)
Goldfish feat. Sakhile Moleshe

Now here's quite the amalgamation of gaming elements. The music video for Goldfish's “We Come Together” starts off with the kidnapping of a woman similar in appearance to Princess Peach. From there, the band – and their goldfish mascot – venture through a pixel-art rendition of numerous classic game environments. Animator Mike Scott draws upon everything from “Pitfall” to “Duck Hunt” in order to match with the band's easy-going rhythm, even dropping in more modern game references. The attention to detail is astounding, right down to the “Super Mario Bros”-inspired finale.

#9: “Say You Like Me” (2011)
We the Kings

Made for the second single from the band’s third album Sunshine State of Mind, we have this odd yet sincere video. The premise is simple enough: a member of We The Kings catches a girl's eye... only to watch as she is kidnapped by 2D sprite-style villains. The song proper then commences as the band goes toe-to-toe with the villains in several segments – video game levels actually - ranging in inspiration from musical games to one-on-one fighting games. What remains consistent is the sense of purpose; the lead singer wants to save the girl, conveyed clearly through both the song and its visual counterpart.

#8: “Move Your Feet” (2002)
Junior Senior

This is truly randomness incarnate. For their single “Move Your Feet”, Junior Senior called upon the art collective Shynola to design the related music video. What Shynola created was a pixe art homage to games from early Atari consoles, with each random scene of Junior Senior and company dancing conveyed via low-resolution visuals. Coupled with the random nature of events – a squirrel rides a horse, a pineapple dances and so forth – it's a spectacle like none other, ending in magnificent madness.

#7: “The Spike” (2008)
The Music

With a single source of inspiration, this music video makes its mark. The video for “The Spike” starts in an advanced laboratory, where a large particle accelerator is being tested. When said accelerator activates, it zaps a man and woman – and transports them into a 3D rendition of a digital world similar to 1982's “TRON”. Given that film's ties to the budding computer and game development industries, it gives the video's use of iconic imagery some weight. Add to that the visceral arcade-like nature of certain scenes, and there's good reason to view this in full.

#6: “Do the Whirlwind” (2005)
Architecture in Helsinki

Embrace the surreal, for it is glorious. We suspect that was the thinking with this 16-bit style videofor “Do the Whirlwind”, coming to us from Australian indie pop band Architecture in Helsinki. The actual events of the video come down to a group of stylized characters marching along to a beach party, mostly serving as setup for some fantastic backdrops and sequences. The use of pixel art here is breathtaking, capturing the odd yet lovable nature of each character shown, and it truly embodies the sincere weirdness of Golden Age gaming.

#5: “Don't Deny Your Heart” (2012)
Hot Chip

Passion is in the air, be it for games or other endeavors. “Don't Deny Your Heart” takes the form of a soccer simulation game, in the vein of the “FIFA” and “PES” series. From the occasional use of overhead angles to the look of the 3D graphics being used, everything points to this video being a tribute to sports games... all leading up to a heart-warming, if unusual, turn of events. It helps that the video periodically shows the band Hot Chip's reactions to this “game” - perhaps as a further nod to the ubiquity of gaming as a hobby.

#4: “Careless Whisper” (2009)
Seether

Turning Seether's cover of a 1984 George Michael single into a music video couldn't have been easy. Yet the resulting video is effective, conveying the visual tale of Seether member Shaun Morgan and his band mates trekking through several classic 8-bit games with ease. The band's affection for all things ‘80s is apparent, as is their implied desire to use games as a platform for bringing up real-world issues. To top it off, they even use a classic sound bite to open and close the video. It's at once cathartic and thoughtful.

#3: “Who's That? Brooown!” (2010)
Das Racist

As odd as it may seem, Das Racist's video comes across as loving homage. “Who's That? Brooown!” bounces through a number of memorable 8-bit game environments, all while framed as a classic adventure game. Detail is key here – the references are clear yet understated, the song's low tone fits with the visuals, and the adventure game elements are true to form. Based on the credits that name the work of game programmer Ken Williams and game designer Roberta Williams as inspiration, there's also a sense of reverence for the classics in the Thomas De Napoli-directed video.

#2: “Wait For Me” (2010)
Moby

We're not sure how this came to fruition, but we're nonetheless amazed by it. The video for “Wait For Me” follows a man's journey through everyday life – getting up, going to work, dealing with a tough boss. The catch is, it's shown to the audience as a colorful side-scrolling platformer... while the downbeat lyrics of the Moby tune convey the tragedy of the situation. This contrast makes for a fascinating experience, especially given the heavy subject matter addressed and the way video game tropes are used to exaggerate and emphasize real-life issues.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Bullets” (2002)
Creed

“Hyperballad” (1996)
Björk

“Sock It 2 Me” (1997)
Missy ‘Misdeameanor’ Elliott feat. Da Brat

“Heat” (2003)
50 Cent

“Hope for the Future” (2014)
Paul McCartney

#1: “Californication” (2000)
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Be it a time capsule of an earlier era or a long-form tribute to games, there's no doubting the power behind the Red Hot Chili Peppers' video for “Californication”. The video entails each band member embarking on their own singular adventure, based on different video game genres. Whether following John Frusciante hopping and dodging celebrities or Anthony Kiedis driving around in a convertible, the music video does an admirable job of embodying early polygon gaming. With a genre-defying climactic finale and a soothing song as accompaniment, this remains a complete and engaging video.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite video game-inspired music videos? For more inspirational Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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