PLAYlist: Songs of the Wasteland

PLAYlist: Songs of the Wasteland


If it’s one thing I love as much as playing games, it’s listening to good music; it helps me cope with anxiety and stress, inspires me while I’m writing, motivates me while I’m exercising, or accompanies me while I’m cooking. My favorite combination (as you can imagine), however, is music and video games.

Official soundtracks, personal playlists, slogging through Mass Effect 2 to Tiny Tim (yes, this has been done and I highly recommend it). Whatever your method, the tag-team of great music and games melts away reality, sucking you into the virtual world of your choosing. I don’t know about you, but I’m a believer that all adventures are better with motifs to accompany them. Those of you who’ve broadcasted “Flight of the Valkyries” in the midst of a helicopter assault in Battlefield: Vietnam know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

With how integral good music is in game design, I was surprised there isn’t more discussion about music, both in games (information about the composers, soundtracks, etc.) and in addition to gaming (how music and gaming affect people and each other). All I could really find were old posts about “the history of music in games” and that’s about it. With so much attention to graphics, frame-rate, and how fast games can be pumped out for the masses, so little credit goes to the composers and musicians who help bring our favorite worlds to life.

That said, we’re happy to bring you PLAYlist, a new series that focuses on the gaming music appreciation. Mind you, when I say “gaming music,” I mean two things: music created for the sake of a video game (that is, its original soundtrack and ambient songs as I just mentioned), and music that’s great to listen to while playing games (that is, the stuff we listen to on our own that helps set the mood just the way we like). While this column will play around with both, this week will be an example of the latter. A little collection I like to call:

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Inspired mainly by the Fallout and Borderlands series, I’ve always been a fan of the unique music choices for these franchises. While Borderlands is best supplemented with songs that evoke feels of the Wild West — a dangerous world filled with treasure and shrouded in mystery, Fallout‘s retrofuturistic twist on the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre was what originally got me into musicians like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

This mix is a combination of the two aesthetics, blending genres with a selection of swing, electronic, and folk music that’s great whether you’re in the Commonwealth or slugging across Pandora. Some might recognize First Aid Kit‘s “My Silver Lining” from the Tales from the Borderlands OST, as well as some throwbacks to Fallout 2 and 3 favorites like Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” and Billie Holiday‘s “Easy Living.” Of course, other bands and songs like “Places” by The Electric Sons and “Je m’amuse” by Caravan Palace help fill out the list outside the games’ “canon” soundtracks.


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Whether on your own, with friends, or a trusted companion (with or without fur), the Songs of the Wasteland will keep you company on all those long walks across sun-baked fields, fetid swamps, and broken roads. These songs have been play-tested and Metzge-approved for use in the wastes, but maybe my idea of wasteland music is different from yours.

If you don’t like it, maybe you should write your own damn playlists. Seriously, the lack of music/gaming combo appreciation is kinda surprising.

If you like the selection here, the PLAYlist concept, or have any ideas on what we should do next, let us know in the comments below! Until then, we have more music down the line… but what’s next, we’ll have to see.

About author
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Anthony Magestro

Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.