Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- What unreleased game of 2020 are you most looking forward to? (opens in new tab)
- What achievement did you go to ridiculous lengths for? (opens in new tab)
- What game do you keep restarting but never finish? (opens in new tab)
We're always on the hunt for great music, and one of the best places to find fantastic new songs and artists we've never heard before is in a game. Sometimes a song, musician, band, or composer is featured in a game's soundtrack and it makes us immediately stop playing to dig through the game's credits and find the artist so we can add them to our permanent collection.
And that's our question this week: What great song or musician did you first discover on a game's soundtrack? We've got answers from the PC Gamer staff below (along with links so you can listen for yourself and maybe find a new favorite) and we've included a few answers from the PC Gamer forums (opens in new tab) as well.
Jody Macgregor: I didn't listen to dub until Grand Theft Auto 3's K-Jah radio opened my ears to it. A DJ called The Pacifier played four songs from Scientist's 1981 album Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires on a permanent loop as I tooled around Liberty City in a Banshee. If that doesn't get you into deconstructed vocals echoing out over bass-heavy sound collages then I guess nothing will.
Harry Shepherd: Journey is my favourite videogame, and a big part of that is the rich story thatgamecompany express without words. Just colour, movement, and music. Journey's soundtrack is sumptuous: the melancholic lows of Descent feel as blue as the dank caves into which you descend and the transcendental highs of Apotheosis elevate an exceptional experience into an all timer. In other words, yes, I quite like it.
And don't get me started on I was Born For This, mostly because much cleverer people than me have already analysed (opens in new tab) its genius already. It's these works that introduced me to its composer, Austin Wintory. If he's scoring a game, I'm sold.
Joanna Nelius: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has an impeccable soundtrack that beautifully captures the goth industrial subculture of the time. I was already into the kind of music it used from established bands at the time, like Lacuna Coil, but that game introduced me to Genitorturers. Their song, Lecher Bitch, plays as soon as you enter The Last Round (Anarch headquarters) in Los Angeles. Gen, the lead singer of the band, has been fronting it since 1986. Her vocals ooze raspy badassery, and the hard, heart-pumping guitars and drums is what you'd expect from other bands and artists like Rob Zombie. It's a perfect combination.
Old Love / New Love by Twin Shadow
Lauren Morton: I never even finished Grand Theft Auto 5—I'm more of an RDR lady—but during my brief time with it this track on one of its in-game stations totally grabbed me. It starts off slow but trust me it's a proper pop banger in the middle. I pulled over whatever crappy car I was rolling around Los Santos in and looked it up. Old Love / New Love has been with me ever since. I've never listened to the rest of Twin Shadow's discography nor have I gotten so attached to another of GTA 5's songs, but I'd probably never have known about it if not for Radio Mirror Park. Why this one song of all the licensed music in GTA 5? I have no idea. It's good though, right?
Christopher Livingston: I think everyone who played Red Dead Redemption remembers the long ride into Mexico accompanied by José González's haunting song Far Away. I went and downloaded it immediately after playing because it's a beautiful song, perfect for transporting yourself.
And weirdly enough, when I downloaded it I discovered I already had a José González song in my music library, called Stay in the Shade (opens in new tab). I can't remember where I heard that one, or why I had forgotten about it, but I'm grateful to RDR for helping me discover, or at least re-discover, González's dreamlike music.
Joe Pishgar: Crypt of the Necrodancer! Danny Baranowsky kills it with Necrodancer's soundtrack.
Something incredibly important to note about Crypt of the Necrodancer music—under no circumstances should you listen to it while preparing anything in the kitchen. Sharp cutlery and beat-timed music for a game you've played does not go well.
Andy Chalk: Braid was a very clever puzzle game and I liked it quite a bit, even though its mechanics were well beyond my grasp (and patience) by the midway point. But what really stuck with me was the soundtrack, and particularly the pieces by cellist Jami Sieber. The slow, wandering melancholy of Maenam in particular still puts a lump in my throat, although I love the sweeping waves of Undercurrent too. Sieber isn't what you'd call a prolific artist—her website (opens in new tab) only lists six albums released between 1994 and 2013, although it's possible the site has been abandoned—but she's a hell of a talent.
From our forums (opens in new tab)
Mazer: I probably heard a lot of bands for the first time on the various Tony Hawk's Pro Skater soundtracks. Motorhead, Judas Priest, Social Distortion, The Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, so many more.
I think I'd already heard Nine Inch Nails when Quake came out as I remember recognising their logo on the nail boxes in-game, but it definitely made me more keen on Trent Reznor's work.
OsaX Nymloth: Not really an "OST guy", I don't listen to music from games outside of well, games. On top of that I listen to wide range of metal, mostly extreme subgenres and that isn't something you find in your everyday vidyagames. Thus I really don't discover new music while playing.
There's two exceptions tho. Both from Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Imperium Dekadenz and Avenger contributed to the game's OST and hey, both bands are quite good I would say.
McStabStab: The Hotline Miami soundtracks introduced me to a lot of awesome "New Retro Wave" / "Psychedelic Electro" music by artists like M|0|0|N, Jasper Byrne, Light Club, Scattle, Magic Sword, and Carpenter Brut.
It all is very reminiscent of the Drive movie soundtrack.
Frindis: While playing Need For Speed Underground 2 I noticed an awesome song called: Black Betty by SpiderBait. I checked the song online and found another version of it by Ram Jam and while digging a little more I found out that nobody really knows where the song lyrics originate from, though It was first recorded from a Central State Farm Penitentiary in Sugarland, Texas in 1933 by James "Iron Head" Baker and a group of inmate singers in acapella. This made me listen to some more songs by Mr. Baker and at the same time getting enriched by a little slice of history.
Johnway: The one that sticks out immediately is James Paddock. I would encounter a lot of his music on some of the best Doom 2 Wads and every so often listen to Back to Saturn X soundtrack.
Just remembered the other person: Andrew Hulshult. I listened to some of the stuff from the Rise of the Triad remake and went sniffing out his awesome music. Should make one of this tracks as my ringtone. I should also probably include Lee Jackson, I guess, as I listen to the classic Rise of the Triad OST.
Stevie Ward: The animation and music team at Riot are amazing, and this stands on it's own as art and a gorgeous track.