games / Columns

Top 8 Promotional Video Game Music Videos

April 13, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Alan Wake

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about music videos, specifically music videos that are either paid for by the developer/publisher or are officially condoned by the game-makers. Like, the main character appears in the video, the video is included in the game, etc. Also, the band/singer has to be a real person, so an animated or CGI band doesn’t cut it here. I came up with this topic for two reasons, recent space-games are too few, outside of like Everspace 2 and Breathedge. And 2. A new Oddworld game just came out and Abe is definitely on this list. Let’s begin:

#8: Red Alert 3 Remix

This video just barely makes the cut. Not only is the “song” bad, and I use quotation marks there because there’s barely anything to it, but it is basically an official AMV, only instead of anime, they used clips from Red Alert 3. The only reason it’s really on here is because I think they did have some of the actors/actresses record custom lines/bits for this thing. But literally that is it. Well, that and because I like Gemma Atkinson, Kelly Hu and Autumn Reeser.

#7: Wild Hearts Never Die

I kind of only have two knocks against this video, one is real and one is petty. The real one is, I haven’t actually played Sayonara Hearts, so I don’t know if this song is in it, or what the context is (if there is one), for the story. The petty one is, the main singer looks a lot like Sonequa Martin-Green from Star Trek: Discovery/The Walking Dead, and I truly despite her Discovery character. The song itself is catchy, there’s a lot of interesting visuals of both the game and the band performing and I guess it does kind of make me want to check out the game more now, so it’s effective in that regard.

#6: HTFU

Unlike most of the other videos on this list, there’s no gameplay clips of sequences from Eve Online. That’s because the actual gameplay of Eve is boring as hell, so I can see why they didn’t include it. I kid, I kid. This music video is more of a promotional video for CCP, showing the staff in the Icelandic, Atlanta and China areas, singing along to the song. Permaband has done about half a dozen songs since HTFU but to me, it’s still the best one they’ve done.

#5: War

I absolutely love that Poets of the Fall/Remedy literally got the visual/mocap actor of Alan Wake, Ilkka Villi, to do this video. He, of course, is Alan Wake, so when he is doing Alan Wake stuff in the video, like using a flashlight or picking up pages in the woods, you just think “Oh, that’s Alan Wake doing it.” The only real discrepancy is that I read that they filmed the music video during the production of the game, where they hadn’t locked Alice Wake’s (Alan’s Wife) look down, so in the video, she is far more blonde than in the actual game. This is the only real knock against it. Oh, also, the song is (of course) amazing and POTF is a great band.

#4: With My Mind

This and the next video on this list are literally on the damn game discs as things to watch. Both are also Midway games that came out within years of each other other, in Psi-Ops case 2004, and in MK’s case 2002. God knows why Midway had promotional budgets to do this nonsense but I’m glad they did. Maybe the person there was just a big fan Nu Metal, and God Bless them for it. This video works well because the song is somewhat all about having mental powers, specifically pyrokinesis and the ability to steal thoughts, or in Psi-Ops case, psychic energy. I only wish there was a better quality version up on Youtube.

#3: Immortal

If I remember right (and it’s been a long time, so I dunno/don’t care if I’m wrong), you actually had to unlock the Cold music video in Psi-Ops to watch it. This wasn’t the case with the Immortal video in Deadly Alliance, which was literally unlocked from the start in the Kontent menu. This video works a bit better just because the video clips from the game are better. They aren’t completely washed out and gray like in the Cold video. Also, the bald dude with the ZZ Top length beard always cracks me up. I guess the video is all about fighting so it almost makes sense to be in a Mortal Kombat game but the tone is completely off for it. And they actually do a decent job of integrating the band in some green-screen footage of the game. Still, I enjoy the song/video way, way more than the game, so it is here.

#2: Good Feeling

I’m like 99% certain this is a promotional/official thing but not fully sure. Ms. Stirling does at least hold up a copy of the game, unlike in her other video game music, music videos, so I think that’s more of an official thing. I really love this video. I’m not the hugest Lindsay Stirling fan, unlike my friend Frank, but I really like both her dancing and singing in the video. It probably took a lot of work on her part for each of the side dancers to be mostly in sync with each move. The violin moves are different but also still fairly close to the dancer moves, especially her turning to the side and kind of marching in place. The funny thing is, I honestly didn’t know this was a cover of a song, for years, it was only until I was in a store once and heard the original that I realized it. But to me, at least, this is her best music video even without seeing her dance in place.

#1: Get Freaky

My god, you couldn’t ask for a cornier music video than this. It is glorious beyond all measure. Green-screen backgrounds? Check. Misleading game footage? Check. Custom Abe voice lines/singing? Check. Song lyrics that could have a sexual meaning? Check. The list goes on and on and on. It also has some amazing late-90’s looks to it, despite it all being FMV or green-screen. The song is bad, both lyrically and how the backup singers sing (like bratty girls), but that somehow makes it even better. It’s like they tried to combine Linkin Park with the British band “Shampoo” and this is what was created. It’s a beautiful masterpiece of nonsense.

For comments, list which promotional music videos are your favorites and why.
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