For many years I’ve been an appreciator of video game music. From the bleeps and bloops of Sonic and Mario to the symphonic glory of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid, I’ve always known there is something special about game music. Alongside game music, the driving ferocity of metal has been the forerunner of my “conventional” musical taste for a comparable amount of time. This is the story about how those two worlds met in perfect harmony.
I fondly remember subscribing to Nintendo Power for the first time when I was about twelve. It came with a bonus, the Super Mario 64 soundtrack, which caused much excitement in my little mind. I was already enamored with the mystical 3D Mushroom Kingdom on my N64, and naturally couldn’t wait to pop the shiny CD into my portable disc-man (I thought I was awesome).
I recall family vacations, with the disc-man firmly tucked into my Game Boy carrying case while I grinned in auditory delight (now that I think about it, it probably looked like a little purse). Intrigued that I was lost inside my headphones, relatives sporadically inquired as to what I was listening to. When they pulled the headphones on, a look of confusion would cross their faces, and I would explain, “It’s from Mario! …It’s a video game.” They would usually smile politely, not having much to say about the matter. It never stopped me though, I listened to that disc forever (or at least until I traded it for the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack).
Around the same time I discovered my love for game music, my brother set up our computer with a service his university provided. It was called the “internet.” Intrigued, I began fiddling around and discovered www.vgmusic.com. On it I delved into a cornucopia of game music. I uncovered tunes that had long since outlived their games in my mind, allowing me to ignite the spark of nostalgia at the click of a button. Childhood memories of Sega Master System’s Shinobi and Alex Kidd in Miracle World came flooding back to me, fueling the desire to repurchase my pawned systems in coming years.
Just as my love for video game music became solidified, my infatuation with heavy metal was coming to a boil. From the classic riffs and gritty vocals of Metallica to the full force battle cries and blasting drums of Amon Amarth, I developed a nearly all encompassing love for metal. One of my favorite pass times was downloading guitar tablature for video game music, learning it, and then laying on thick distortion and metal-fying the hell out of it.
Plucking away at guitars and listening to metal midis of Mega Man 2‘s Air Man theme can only get you so far, however. Like a child who loves peanut butter and chocolate but only ever gets a nibble of a Reese’s, I needed something to sink my teeth in. Through the years I flirted with video game cover bands like The Minibosses, Mega Driver, and others, but none of them truly delivered what I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, all of them are incredibly talented musicians, but I needed something ragingly rapid and horrendously heavy.
One evening, I ran into an old friend at a local watering hole, and took note of his Zelda sweatshirt. Naturally, the conversation lead to video games in general, and he informed me he was taking a road trip to see a band called Powerglove. I shrugged in ignorance, unfamiliar with the band personally. In a mixture of excitement and alarm, my friend vowed to put the music of Powerglove into my ears.
Weeks passed and the exchange floated to the back of my mind. Then out of the blue, my friend materialized, burnt CD in hand. “Total Pwnage” and “Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man” were the two albums burned onto the solitary disc. Never until that day did I know so much face melting ass whoop could be squeezed into one little disc. Without a track list, I simply slid the CD into my car stereo and began listening. Immediately my ears were accosted by a power metal rendition of Dr. Robotnik’s theme from Sonic 2. Having been one of my favorite games, I instantly fell in love with what I heard. The volume was increased as I joyously identified each and every song that blared through the speakers.
The damage had been done, and the dust had settled. In the end, Powerglove stood triumphantly above all challengers. I then faithfully went online and purchased legitimate copies of the CDs and cherished receiving them in the mail. The video game music supremacy of Powerglove has only been strengthened after seeing them live and fully experiencing the magnitude of their shredding video game passion.
So that’s the story of how two worlds converged in a clashing collision of charm. Metal and video games, together in the form of Massachusetts band Powerglove. That same burned disc has been faithfully lodged inside of my car’s CD player for an entire year, and I don’t intend on removing it. Now when non-gamers hear the video game music blast, the looks of confusion have been exchanged for nods of approval… and devil horns.
Check out Powerglove at www.vgmetal.com.
The Sunday Soapbox is an account of the writer’s personal opinions and not representative of Gamer Limit’s opinions as a whole.