Electronic music and video games are like peanut butter and jelly. They’re made for each other, man, and nowhere is that more evident than today’s crop of electronic producers.
These guys and gals were raised on 8-bit chiptune soundtracks just as much as they were the DJ legends of old. Some of the hottest music in the scene sounds like it could have been ripped from some epic RPG adventure, not to mention the hairstyles some of these kids are sporting.
It’s only natural that the two worlds should totally collide. If dance producers are making music that sounds like a video game, why don’t they just make a video game? Oh right, because they can’t speak programming languages, but they sure can find dudes who do, and that’s what many of them are doing. There’s no better way to promote new music than with a fun interactive time waster, and here are six examples of DJs who be doing it well.
You can’t talk about EDM and video games without talking about DJ Hero. This is the big daddy that started it all. This lil bugger debuted in 2009, featured everyone from Daft Punk to DJ Shadow, and had every kid in the country thinking, “hey, this DJing thing ain’t half as hard as it looks.” Too bad you can’t earn bonus points for putting your hands in the air.
Back in 2009, Skrillex made his video games come true with Skrillex Quest, an RPG in the style of Legends of Zelda that had players fighting corrupted game pixels after a “dust on the chip” brought the magical, digital world to a standstill. Gameplay featured tons of Skrillex originals, from “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” to “Summit.” Even the fighting noises are ripped straight from Skrill’s famous noises. The game doesn’t seem to be playable anymore, but we found this cute play-through video. Sorry if you missed out.
Rustie’s Green Language
Listening to an album in the traditional way is so boring. Rustie figured it would be way more fun if you have to discover the tracks of his album Green Language by exploring a lo-fi digital universe. Every time a player found a new checkpoint, they were able to download another track off the record. Find all the checkpoints, have the whole album stream. It was made for browser play, but just like Skrillex Quest, it doesn’t seem the servers are active.
Steve Aoki in Speedy Ninja
Everyone’s favorite cake enthusiast tossed his hat in the mobile gaming ring in August of 2015. Steve Aoki is a playable character in Speedy Ninja, an endless runner product from NetEase that has the DJ hopping around through the air, throwing cakes at monster baddies and flying on a magical floating raft. This was Aoki’s second appearance in video game form. He can also be seen as a character in 2K Sports NBA 2K9 and 2K10. The app is still available on Android and Apple devices.
Beat boss Kaytranada celebrated his latest album 99.9% with a browser-based tap-tap game in line with the likes of Flappy Bird. Fans can cruise around the open ocean but must crudely-drawn palm trees, lightning bolts, and bloody daggers. Players earn points by collecting crowns, coins, weed leaves, and just plain staying alive. High scores unlock bonus tracks from the album. The game is still playable (and totally addicting) via the artist’s website.
Deadmau5 is a total gear-head, literally and figuratively. It’s no surprise he’d push the boundaries of technology with his video game effort. He recently teamed with Absolute Labs on a VR adventure that both enables fans to have a cool immersive adventure and effectively debuted his latest track. Billboard Dance spoke with deadmau5 about his envelope-pushing effort, and both camps are pretty sure this is the first track debut through VR experience. Surely, it won’t be the last.