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Straight off of the success of Jays Japan Diaries, and Hop Open, Cold Close

which was recorded after I got back from Japan, but release before it

we present The HeisenCast – which was recorded before either of the previous episodes, but released after them

because of the time cast pod machine wibbly wobbly-ness, of course

In this episode we tackled the extremely unusual subject of music in video games, but with a slight twist. What’s the twist, you ask? How’s this:

The music we listen to whilst playing video games, which isn’t the music in the video game.

As in: when we’ve played a game that much that we mute the game and put on some background music of our own choosing.

This subject was partially inspired by both our episode Ten Tracks Which Rocked My Gaming World

just how many times did I mention the phrase “punch you in the face” during that episode? We’ll never know

and a recent (at the time of recording) episode of the Arcade Attack podcast.

Squidgey starts us off with a perfect example from our collective gaming history:

“our” as in Squidgey and I, obviously

Alient 3 on the Mega Drive.

It turns out that, back in the day, whilst playing this game – which was a run-and-gun versus the SNES game which was a mission based affair – and blasting Xenomorphs away, we would listen to…

Side bar: as I said during the episode, we didn’t include clips of the actual songs because that would land us in all sorts of trouble with the record companies. But we’re going to include youtube embeds for the relevant songs

apologies if they’re blocked in your country. That;s just how YouTube works, apparently

Can you even imagine that?

There was nothing like listening to the smooth velvety voice of Lighthouse Family, while you’re blasting the crap out of aliens with your pulse rifle, dodging facehuggers, and going up and down ladders.

– Squidgey

Next it was my turn to give an example, and I chose to talk about Phantasy Star Online – which is a game that I still play these days. Interestingly enough, my music of choice whilst playing this game has changed completely since I first played it

back between 2001 and 2004

Back then, I loved listening to Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album whilst completing the missions set for me by the occupants of Pioneer 2.

These days when playing PSO via Reicast and EmulationStation

sometimes known as RetroPi

on my PC, I tend to listen to podcasts. I’m in the middle of setting up a list of podcasts that I like to listen to when playing video games, and will include a link to them in the External Links section. So check that out.

Which leads us into a conversation about PSO 1+2 on the GameCube

maybe we should do a pod all about the different Phantasy Star games

and how it was stolen from Squidgey. But we don’t want to talk about who or what that was all about.

But Squidgey plays PSO 1+2 on his laptop using Dolphin, but doesn’t cut the music out of it because he loves it. I mean, it’s a fantastic example of a synthy, electronica soundtrack.

Squidgey also drops some old school knowledge on you all about Fallout 3, and how annoying I was when originally learning to play bass guitar. There’s a touch of hyperbole about how it affected Squidgey’s hearing, and the size of my bass amp

although it did sound like it was the size of a house

And I drop some knowledge on UK train laws.

We then talk about video game music from one game, which we’ll happily listen to whilst playing a completely unrelated game. And the example Squidgey gives is pretty good: he’s currently playing through Dragon Quest Warriors 2, but is totally enjoying the music of MonoMemory

we’ve talked about him before, in A Serious Case of The Bwaaauums

My favourite track of his -and the one we provided a clip of – is his remix of the Resident Evil 0 Save Room theme:

Then Squidgey reminds us of how the first time he played Silent Hill, he did it on hard mode

we talked about it with the guys over at Arcade Attack, on their first episode of 2019

To quote the Arcade Attack guys: he’s an every man

– Squidgey

I then talk about my most favourite PC game ever, even though the PlayStation port was terrible

I used the term naff

But because I use Ubuntu Linux as my PCs main operating system, I can’t play it – even with Wine installed, because the controls don’t map correctly. But while talking about the music that I used to listen to when playing this game, I talk about those USB MP3 players you used to be able to get, back in the early 2000s

it turns out that you can still buy them, by the way

A USB MP3 player from the early 2000s
These things where incredibly amazing

Triple A batteries, wired headphones, FM radio, and 60MB of storage space. What else could you want?

Squidgey then talks about Universal Soldier and Pit Fighter on the Mega Drive, and how I was crazy about Off The Wall in the mid-90s.

That album, at that time, was my jam. And there are some songs on that album that I just have to listen to on a regular basis.

– Jay

Squidgey then tells us a story which might end up with him getting stabbed by Lulu

we’ll keep you posted

I then talk about how the original Xbox allowed you to rip your own music and listen to it in place of the soundtrack for the games… well, for some of the games. Also, Squidgey helps me to remember exactly which 2K NFL game it was that I loved to play on my original Xbox

Ravens for life!

It was NFL2K3, by the way.

Imagine this being your field goal celebration:

I wasn’t the best at picking context based music, back then

some would say that I’m still pretty bad at it now

Then I drop the knowledge that one of the first MMORPGs that Squidgey and I played was Guild Wars. I’m not that partial to MMORPGs, but I loved the design of this one. plus, it was free to play.

We then discuss the video music that we listen to when not doing video gamey things – like when I’m writing software, or show notes. We both have similar tracks, and we both tend to avoid music with lyrics, when we need to concentrate

who would have thought that two brothers would be vaguely alike

Both of us agree that the soundtracks to both Burning Rangers and Sonic R are masterpieces. Hell, Burning Rangers – whilst incomplete when released – is as close to a masterpiece that we’ll ever get our of Sonic Team.

We then take a break from talking about the video game music we listen to, in order to take some questions from twitter

@wafflingtaylors, send us a question and we’ll answer it on the show

First up was White Mage’s question:

Essentially, it’s my opinion that Michael Jackson wrote the music for Sonic 3. His production company logo was printed on some instances of the instruction manual for the game, and the soundtrack CD; his audio engineers are actually credited as having worked on the soundtrack. Then there are the pieces of music which are 16-bit chip tune versions of his songs.

Tom Kalinske (ex-CEO of Sega of America, during that time) repeatedly refuses to answer this question, often citing legal issues with it. Which all but confirms it, for my money.

For me, the music from Sonic 3 sounded like it had legs… It’s a step up for Sonic tunes, as in: it’s no longer Sonic tunes, it’s Sonic Music

– Squidgey

Then it was Fearless_Shultz’s turn:

And even though it may not seem related, Squidgey related this to that scene in Final Fantasy IX

If you don’t know where there was, then you weren’t there

– Sgt. Fred Colon, Night Watch

And Kingdom Hearts 3 – because of the atmosphere, you see. And we both agree that having no music makes more sense, as the aesthetic of the game is all about creeping you out subtly, and splatting music on top of that would distract from that aesthetic.

Squidgey also reckons that a sudden polka solo, played on an accordian would be outside of the aesthetic of the Silent Hill games. Clearly, he never got the dog ending of Silent Hill 2.

Then suddenly, The Gonk!

Whereas I liken the question to games like Half Life 2 where there are piece of music, but you hardly ever notice them. Unlike E1M1 from Doom. Which leads us nicely on to Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Master System and Janet Jackson:

And in closing: Squidgey’s foot is itchy again.

Do you listen to music from video games, even when you’re not playing them? If so, what are they? Let us know in the comments, over on Twitter or Facebook, and let’s jam out to some tunes.

Games Mentioned

  • Tetris
  • Super Mario Bros. (series)
  • Streets of Rage (series)
  • 0 A.D
  • Age of Empires (series)
  • Koei Warriors (series)
  • Kingdom Hearts (series)
  • Alien 3
  • Phantasy Star Online
  • Phantasy Star (series)
  • Fallout 3
  • Dragon Quest Warriors 2
  • Streets of Rage (series)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Silent Hill
  • London Racer (series)
  • Age of Empires (series)
  • Universal Soldier
  • Pit Fighter
  • Final Fantasy (series)
  • Project Gotham Racing
  • SSX Tricky
  • Guild Wars
  • Sonic Adventure (series)
  • Pokemon (series)
  • Undertale
  • Halo (series)
  • Burning Rangers
  • Sonic R
  • Limbo
  • Inside
  • Resident Evil 2 (2019)
  • Half Life 2

Squidgey’s Games

  • Alien 3
  • Dragon Quest Warriors 2
  • Silent Hill
  • Pit Fighter
  • Final Fantasy VIII

Jay’s Games

  • Phantasy Star Online
  • London Racer
  • NFL 2K3
  • Guild Wars
  • Half Life 2


Links to the music used in the podcast can be found below. Definitely check them out, because they’re amazing tracks by awesome musicians.


Leave a comment in the section on this page and let us know what you liked, what you didn’t like and which games you’d like to hear us waffle on about next time.

Until then,

Game on!

Jamie is one of the Waffling Taylors. He spends a lot of time blogging about things sometimes related to programming and sometimes not.