And I don’t wanna miss a thing!

Earlier on this, the 16th of November I was watching the Saints Row 3 E3 2011 trailer featuring Yeezy’s iconic track from 2010 titled “Power.” I then posted it in the VGU writers chat and said “I don’t know why but of all the 5-10 games that used Power at E3 2011 this is the only one that fits like a glove…” To which Graydon responded with how perfectly executed the use of the song in the game was. This then devolved into a case of us questioning whether or not Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” was in Saints Row 3 or the fourth title in the series. Ultimately, it got me thinking of this, a special roundtable in which we talk about commercial/licensed songs appearing in either a video game trailer, or the game itself that would go on to become one with the game it appeared in either everyone’s eyes or ours. So, let us now talk about a song from a game that brings us back to our favorite times playing games.

Allan Muir – Site Admin/Co-EiC and Man Who Is Slowly Going Blind

Rise Against – Survive WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007

Credit: IGN

It’s no secret that I am a wrestling fan. I remember watching the Attitude Era when I was an Al Jr. back in 1998-1999. I properly got into wrestling with the PS2 Yukes games around 2002-2003. I have fond memories of playing WWE Shut Your Mouth or Here Comes The Pain and oddly, but not surprisingly now that I think of it, watching two wrestlers playing the game on Smackdown back in October of 2003. Fast forward three or four years and it’s November 14th, 2006 and I am begging my parents to buy me the game as I was thirteen years old and had no way to earn a living, child labor laws are really ruining this country. So, I was playing the game and it had a fantastic soundtrack that featured the likes of Godsmack, Three Days Grace, and other acclaimed artists.

Meanwhile, I was enjoying the game for what it was (GM Mode) and had absolutely zero idea what I was doing. My main interests around that time was either Halo, Band of Brothers, or the film adaptation of Rent. Over the next few months, I would get an Xbox 360 for Christmas and start accruing games from either GameFly or BlockBuster. I eventually got WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007 for the Xbox 360 and I would have a lot of fun with it. I’d play wrestling DVD’s on my computer and SvR on my 360 as a companion piece. Of all the songs that were featured in WWE SvR 2007 I have to say there’s still after all these years something about Rise Against’s “Survive” that no matter how many years it’s been since I’ve played the game if I turn that song on I am sent in a whirlwind through my memories and am back in the good ol’ days when all I had to worry about was getting to school on time, saying my prayers and taking my vitamins.

Credit: Rise Against

This video can single-handedly prove my point for me as if you read the comments you will see people talking about how Smackdown vs Raw 2007 brought them there, how great the song is, and many other sentiments. Smackdown vs Raw 2007: a game that may never leave my memories…

Emmett Watkins Jr. – PlayStation Stan and Top 10 Most Amature Rapper

The Game ft. 2 Chainz & Rick Ross – Ali Bomaye from Grand Theft Auto V

Those who know my gaming opinions well know that I left Grand Theft Auto V not as overwhelmingly positive as most. Despite having great gunplay and the driving mechanics feeling tighter than they have in the series, the overwhelmingly cynical tone of its campaign left a sour taste in my mouth. But despite that, I still had a lot of fun with the game, and that’s due to not only the aspects I named earlier but also it’s soundtrack.

Music can take a game from good to great, and titles like Tearaway, Watch Dogs 2, and Max Payne 3 have definitely all gained loads from killer soundtracks. GTA V was no different, as riding through the streets of Los Santos to classics like Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “I’m in Love” or DJ Quik’s “Dollaz + Sense” always made me feel like an absolute badass. But one song over all the other’s really hammed home the massive scale that GTA V has both in-game and in reality, and that song is The Game’s “Ali Bomaye”.

On the surface, it sounds like your typical braggadocious rap track that matches so well with the debauchery of GTA, and the features from 2 Chains and Rick Ross make that case even more. But the track does more than just match the hoodrat shit I’m doing with my friends in Los Santos. The chanting heard in the background of the track makes it feel so much grander than a typical rap track. When your riding trough town at midnight, with that gorgeous skyline in view, and this song comes on, you don’t just feel like a gangster, you feel like a Kingpin.

This track truly makes you feel like the world is yours, and that’s why this song is my favorite in the entire collection of licensed tracks in the game. Yes, there are multiple songs by Kendrick Lamar, my favorite artist, in GTA V as well, but none of those tracks make me feel as powerful as The Game’s Ali Bomaye. In fact, this song lead me to put The Game into my regular rotation, which lead to me falling in love with his album The Documentary 2 in the following years.

Graydon Webb – The Contrarian American

Skrillex & Damian “Jr Gong” Marley – “Make It Bun Dem” in Far Cry 3

This may be my favorite roundtable we’ve ever done. As mentioned above, my love of “Power” and “Holding Out for a Hero” in the Saints Row franchise sparked this inner struggle in me as to “what is the best use of licensed music in a video game?” Hell, games like Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto even include real-life songs on their in-game radio stations, so I’ve made many memories to the tune of “Out of Touch,” “Baker Street,” and “Take On Me,” to name a few.

But when thinking about the very best use ever, I had to go look up some instances. I finally narrowed it down to two: “Sympathy for the Devil” in the first Black Ops, and “Make It Bun Dem” in Far Cry 3. While Black Ops introduced me to the incredible Rolling Stones classic and prepared me for the impending dramatization of the Vietnam War, nothing has quite impacted me like Skrillex’s booming banger, which backs one of the most satisfying and memorable scenes of Far Cry 3.

Source: KababFPV

When sent on a mission to destroy a whole field of marijuana with a flamethrower, the game feels the need to make this experience even more exciting by dropping the game volume to a minimum, and filling your speakers with the sweet sound of dubstep. Whenever I hear this song I’m instantly taken back to this level, as flashbacks whisk me away to a better time: sitting in front of my television, burning down millions of dollars of – at the time, illegal – drugs while basking in the bass and the beauty of the Rook Islands.

What makes this scene even more memorable is that, as Complex put it, “The song also plays perfectly on the nagging ambiguity about whether or not main character, Jason Brody, is an unreliable narrator, and actually completely insane.” If questioning your actions and your own sanity while taking in one of the coolest dubstep tunes of the decade doesn’t strike you as a good time, then maybe Far Cry 3 isn’t for you. Still, the song is an absolute bop, and my favorite use of licensed music in any game, hands down.

Josh Miller – The Family Man

The Rolling Stones – “Paint It Black” in Twisted Metal Black

If I hadn’t been a fan of the games already, the trailer for the game certainly would have made me want to purchase it. Twisted Metal Black not only introduced me to the song “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones (yes, I hadn’t heard it yet to my knowledge), but it also set the tone for the game in a spectacular way. While the games always featured some darkness, Twisted Metal Black cranked it up to 11.

Let me be clear, I loved the Rob Zombie inclusion in prior games. Even then, none of them hit me like “Paint It Black” did. It set me down the rabbit hole of burning it to every mix cd I made at that time. I tried playing it on guitar before throwing in the towel of learning guitar in the first place. The song consumed my life for a period of time that lasted longer than the time I spent playing the game itself.

Even watching the credits embedded above fills me with joy. The cuts during the credit video hit well with the beats of the music and the content as well. It’s such a great song to cap an impressive game featuring demented souls, troubled individuals, and wishes gone wrong. After the lackluster Twisted Metal 4, moving to the PlayStation 2 helped Twisted Metal make a strong return due to its themes, and the song solidified that even moreso.

To this day, Twisted Metal Black is still my favorite Twisted Metal game. The game itself has plenty going for it to make it my favorite. However, there’s no denying what “Paint It Black” did for that game too. Whatever the reason, “Paint It Black” is one of the most recognizable licensed songs in video games for me and I’ll never hear it without thinking of Twisted Metal Black.

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