How video games shaped my musical palette
Because Jerk it Out by The Caesars was a banger
I’ve always liked to think of myself of having a wide-ranging musical taste. I’ll easily go from singing my heart out to the The Kooks to rapidly fist pumping in time to Migos. I’m always curious as to what and indeed how this range came about — although regular doses of Radio 1, MySpace Music and pirate radio stations as a teenager probably gave a helping hand. Another medium I’ve probably overlooked but always included when it comes to reminisce is video games I played as a child. I’m not really much of a gamer, but cult classics such as Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater and the noughties FIFA games on Playstation 2 were my jams.
My FIFA career spanned from 2004 up ‘til around 2009 — I think Wayne Rooney was on the final cover. I distinctly remember Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho and Alessandro Del Piero on the front cover of ‘04. These guys were my heroes in their own ways — Henry was the obvious one, but I followed Italian football and supported Juventus at the time (I was heavily into Eurosport TV) and Del Piero was one of my favourite players. As for Ronaldinho, enough said.
One thing I’ll always remember from FIFA Football 2004 was its eclectic soundtrack. When starting up the game I remember being greeted by Red Morning Light by Kings of Leon. This was before their breakout Sex on Fire, which was released in 2008. Funnily enough I had no idea this song was by Kings of Leon until a couple of years ago.
If you were to search Jerk it Out into Google, I can guarantee Fifa will come up in the search bar. The two go together like bread and butter.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was one of the first games we got, around 2002. This game was innovative in that it was the first one to include internet play (provided you hooked your console to a modem, because guess what — no wifi.) I spent too many hours getting to know skateboard moves— kickflips, grinds and ollies. Sometimes when I see a skater hit a grind I still imagine I’m pressing “x R2 x △ x △.” Tony Hawk must’ve been the first game that forced me to leave the PS2 on overnight because my dad forgot to buy a memory card when he got us the console for Christmas. Things got smoother once I got my hands on that precious 8MB storage. The soundtrack to Tony Hawk contained old punk classics as well as nineties hip-hop with artists ranging from KRS-ONE to Red Hot Chilli Peppers. These songs swam round in my head and remain instantly recognisable to my mind to this day.
Thinking about it, I’m not sure if my love for indie “guitar” music would’ve surfaced later on in life had it not been for the early influence of video game soundtracks widening my horizons. I guess I could go as far as saying such games shaped me by refining my artistic tastes. Even though I don’t play on consoles anymore, I can always rely on the internet to provide me with the soundtrack to any of these games when I’m feeling nostalgic. On another note, I’m realising that selling the PS2 may have been a mistake.