Music To Play Games By CD review

A music CD inspired by tunes from videogames over the years? We''ll have some of that, thank you very much...

You’ve bought the console, the wireless dongle and even the vibrating chair – so what’s next? How about a bit of mood music to help you play your computer games.

And in case you are wondering, we are not talking about some shameless cash-in of licensed tracks, which appeared for ten seconds in the latest first-person zombie murder-athon. No sir, we are talking 12 original tracks inspired by all things computer games and written by people involved in the industry.

The end result is some truly great electronica, which no self-respecting computer game fan should be without. The whole project has been put together by the FM broadcast show One True Life, which is the only radio in Europe dedicated to all-things computer games.

If you want to find out more about the radio show, One Life Left is broadcast every Monday evening between 7pm and 8pm on Resonance FM in London. But who has an FM radio these days? Go online and check them out at

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The CD is further proof, as if proof were needed, that computer games have gone from a cottage industry to a major lifestyle industry. Like many areas of the entertainment industry, the big players with their marketing budgets dominate it. But there is still room for people who love playing good computer games.

There is something for all the familiar here and if you love vintage games and have found memories of loading up the next levels of Gauntlet on your Amstrad CPC tape player, or once destroyed your Commodore 64 keyboard while playing Delay Thompson’s Decathlon, then you will love some of the analogue noises on offer.

Optimus Rhyme’s Obey The Moderator has some truly wonderful 8-bit effects and a kicking rap, while Early Streets by The Lost Levels is a slice of vintage pop.

You don’t have to be into your video games, although it might help. Any one who struggles with juggling the demands of Halo with a relationship, or the prospect of adulthood, or a job, will get the brilliant 7/10 by Doyouinverts, an electronica free track – but one of the real highlights on this album. This song should be an anthem for every twenty and thirty something who owns an Xbox.

Let’s Play Video Games by Derek Williams sums up the whole album brilliantly. It is a celebration of everything console, computer and arcade related. The geek really shall inherit the earth, and they will do it to the sound of Music To Play Games By.

When home computers and consoles started to come onto the market back in the early 80s, very few people could see how they would revolutionise the lives of young people in the West. It seems ironic that the 8-Bit remix of Heathens by Bracken feels like an unashamedly retro bit of music now. Readers will longer memories, like myself, will remember early techno and rave tunes being rooted in the sort of music which would pump out of our Sinclair’s and Commodore’s as we tried in vain to beat Donkey Kong or BMX Bandits. We then grew up (in age, if not in maturity) and hit the clubs, just in time for the likes of Prodigy and the Shamen to take this music to new and dizzying heights. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to draw the links between the two cultural spheres.

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In some ways, Music To Play Games is like a step back in time, but in other ways it is a celebration of how much fun computer games can be. Now, if only someone can help explain how I get pass the first level of The Force Unleashed.

19 January 2009