Video games are the new musical frontier - from Paul McCartney to Nine Inch Nails
Will Butler

13:51 18th September 2015

People dismiss the claims that video games are an artform, but those people are dead wrong. As a part of new media, the gaming industry pushes creativity and interactivity to new heights, transporting players to other dimensions, letting them explore and learn about environments and atmospheres they could never have dreamt of previously - and a big part of that immersion stems from the music.

So who better to craft a video game soundtrack than a modern pop musician, right? Since video game music made the jump to lightspeed out of the 8-bit dark ages musicians have been helping out in the development of soundtracking, for better and worse.

Here are 9 video games with musician curated and contributed soundtracks.

  • Paul McCartney on Destiny: The first post-Halo venture from Bungie promised to be the largest and most in depth console MMO in history. While the game didn't fully reach that potential, having Paul McCartney write a song called 'Hope For The Future' and then look confused as he appears as a hologram in the video. It made the disappointment a little less bitter.

  • The Black Eyed Peas on The Urbz: The rightfully-forgotten and ugly half-brother of The Sims, The Urbz featured The Black Eyed Peas as lead characters and musical gurus as you took control of a virtual you and tried to win their attention. A miserable experience from start to finish and, to make matters worse, Will.I.Am and Co's tunes were translated into Simlish, as if you could understand them in the first place.

  • Avenged Sevenfold on Call of Duty - Black Ops II: Having a few tracks scattered within the game as secret easter eggs was pretty cool. What wasn't cool was the after-credits scene where the two main characters jump onstage with A7X to mosh and headbang along with their poorly animated version of 'Carry On'.

  • Beck/Ellen Page on Beyond: Two Souls: The first game to truly embrace 'interactive storytelling', the Ellen Page-starring adventure-drama pushed the limits of how motion-capture acting and gaming can collide. The game was received with a luke-warm reception but it's worth checking out Ellen Page's beautiful rendition of Beck's 'Lost Cause' that features.

  • Jose Gonzalez on Red Dead Redemption: Widely considered to be most environmentally beautiful games of recent years, Red Dead Redemption has a deep emotional resonance that has persevered even 5 years after it's release. Who better to write a heartfelt ballad to accompany the game than the king of heartfelt ballads himself, Jose Gonzalez.

  • 65daysofstatic on No Man's Sky: A game that set outs to debunk the phrase 'the sky's the limit', literally. This indie survival game (release date: TBA) has an infinitely expanding universe for players to explore and is soundtracked by Sheffield post-rock innovators, 65daysofstatic. Instead of writing set pieces, the band have created 'generative' music that involves countless loops, melodies and textures to create a unique and adaptive soundtrack.

  • Megadeth on Duke Nukem 3D: As a misogynistic, obnoxious and consistently controversial game series, the macho-mutating, testosterone fuelled Duke Nuke creations represents all the pitfalls of new media in one crudely wrapped package. Whether it's one redeeming quality or just another reason to avoid it, Megadeth wrote and performed the game's soundtrack.

  • HEALTH on Max Payne 3: The California noise-rock outfit, HEALTH, have always been underrated as far as Gigwise is concerned. So it makes sense that they soundtracked Rockstar's excellent but often overlooked series, Max Payne. While we can't blame GTAV for HEALTH's middling success, you owe it to the music and gaming industry to give Max Payne 3 a try.

  • Nine Inch Nails on Quake: Back in 1996, Nine Inch Nails worked on the soundtrack for Quake a game that started as just DOOM Jr but quickly became a cult game that laid the foundations for online gaming as we know it now. On top of the film soundtracks and NIN royalties, Reznor must be still raking it in from this venture as well as his other video game music contributions like the Batman Arkham series and Black Ops II

Photo: Still