Music from any genre can send chills down your spine, whether it’s pop, rock, hip-hop, electronica, or whatever else you're listening to. However, research shows that your body's physical response while listening to some songs relates to song structure—not the style—to flood your brain with dopamine. These goosebumps we feel most often occur when we hear something unexpected during songs. When we hear a new instrument suddenly, when the tempo shifts, or when the volume builds or drops dramatically, it's that element of surprise that starts that tingly quiver down your back and your hair to stand on end.
Do you ever feel that sensation when playing a video game? Was it during a story-related cutscene while you couldn't even control anything on-screen? It could've been that great music you heard in the background. Sometimes as players we don't appreciate video game music as much as we should, but when creative fans like these musicians below revisit their favorite game soundtracks, they're hard to overlook! Here are 10 video game remixers & cover artists you should follow for those sweet, sweet chills.
NPC (Jarad Moloney)
NPC produces percussion-heavy electronic dance remixes of game soundtracks that are rarely covered by the remix community, including Bonk's Adventure, Snowboard Kids, and Assassin's Creed II. However, he doesn't shy away from popular ones either; his cool cover of Sonic 3's Ice Cap Zone is a beautiful and catchy arrangement.
Dj CUTMAN (Chris Davidson)
Master producer Dj CUTMAN is a stalwart of the gaming convention dance scene by performing at PAX East, MAGFest, and Otakon over the past several years. The multitalented Philadelphia-based musician turned his passion for game music in to a full-time career as the host of the This Week in Chiptune show and founder of remix record label GameChops.
SHYABEETUS (Josh Cianciulli)
Shyabeetus's gaming mashups are eclectic to say the least. Among his most popular tracks on SoundCloud include mashups of Snoop Dogg's Smoke Weed Everyday plus Bomberman II's Area 1 theme, and the Buck Bumble theme with Super Mario World's Overworld. Enough said.
Full-time musician Ben Briggs records and produces remixes live during Twitch streams, where he transforms fan requests in to creative house music arrangements of his favorite video games. His remix of Undertale's Tem Shop theme went viral last year, and when Ben's not busy making music, he's busy speedrunning N64 games like Diddy Kong Racing and Super Mario 64.
Italian music producer RoBKTA has been featured on Destructoid, Game Informer, Screw Attack, and our very own podcast! His EDM music remix roots include many styles, including disco, funk, house, and chiptune, which are all highlighted in his popular covers of the very catchy R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 soundtrack.
DJ James Landino is a Harmonix sound designer and composer by day, and GameChops audio project manager by night. Recently though, Landino remixed Undertale creator Toby Fox's favorite song, Hopes and Dreams, which includes Death by Glamour (Mettaton's Theme) and Flowey's Theme too. This epic bass-heavy house remix will fill you with determination!
GRIMECRAFT (Clarke Nordhauser)
Fortunately for us, GRIMECRAFT devoted himself to the gaming music dance scene after giving up on indie development ("I was 'living the dream' as they say making video games...somewhere down the line, I lost the spark that really made me want to pursue game art in the first place.") and a brief blogging stint at Destructoid. His live DJ sets at MAGFest are a must-see, but listening to singles like this Katamari Damacy remix may be the next best thing.
Phonetic Hero (Pete Lepley)
Full disclosure here: we discovered Phonetic Hero's through the Chiptunes = WIN collaboration project last year, and since then, his music is featured on almost all of our podcast episodes. With that said, you'll agree with us that he's a wickedly talented video game composer after listening to his official remixes off the soundtrack to Project M, the fan-made Super Smash Bros. Brawl remake.
Smooth McGroove (Max Gleason)
You'd have to live under a rock to not hear about this guy. Smooth McGroove skyrocketed to YouTube stardom by posting incredible acapella covers of popular game tunes. He started with Zelda's Lullaby in 2013, but has since recorded more than 100 individual covers of gaming's most recognizable soundtracks, including Street Fighter II, Mega Man X, and Super Mario 64. If you can name it, McGroove probably covered it.
BotanicSage (Stanford "Tre" Locke III)
From BotanicSage's Twitch bio: "I like to make mashups for fun, inspired by the games I usually enjoy playing." We can't think of a better reason to create video games music tributes. He recently released this mashup of Undertale's Megalovania and Justice's Waters of Nazareth to critical acclaim, which has been played on YouTube more than 2 million times.