If awesome retro game soundtracks taught us anything, it’s that video games and music are deeply intertwined. Even modern classics like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Guitar Hero were fueled by music, just as musicians today are often inspired to cover or sample the gaming jams they love.
To further bridge the gap, we asked some of your favourite Toronto artists about the video games that influenced them growing up.
Josh Warburton — July Talk
The Game: Star Fox
Like most ’90s kids, July Talk’s bassist Josh Warburton has a soft spot for the Super Nintendo. His game? “It’s an obvious choice, but Star Fox for the SNES. Those stunning polygonal graphics knocked me off our tweed chesterfield, and the ripping synth guitars and soaring keyboard melodies were equally as three dimensional. Boss battle themes even prepared me for a love of Heavy Metal breakdowns.”
That’s right — you have Star Fox to partially thank for July Talk’s sound.
Emmett O’Reilly — PKEW PKEW PKEW
The Game: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was the perfect thing for a kid like me who was drawn to skate-punk culture but had no sense of balance whatsoever,” Emmett O’Reilly admits. “Not only did the soundtrack introduce me to Bad Religion and Lagwagon, THPS2 actually inspired me to try real skateboarding. My balance hasn’t gotten much better, but I have a lot of fun, and I doubt I would have ever tried it without getting fired up by that Tony Hawk game first.”
Anne Douris — Bossie
The Game: Pokemon Snap
“A few weekends a year, my parents would rent my sister and I an old beat-up N64 from the local Video99,” Anne, the frontwoman of Bossie and Stella Ella Ola recalls. “As the younger sibling, my turn was usually hard fought and short-lived. But Pokemon Snap gave me a full, no-presh turn every time I got to play. It gave me the chance to actually appreciate the vibrant colours and music of an N64 title. AND I could beat it by Sunday night, when the console had to be returned.”
Alex Sowinski — BADBADNOTGOOD
The Game: Super Mario Kart
BADBADNOTGOOD don’t exactly hide their appreciation for video games, what with a ten minute ode to The Legend of Zelda existing on their first LP. As far as favourites though, drummer Alex Sowinski gives his vote to another classic. “I suppose mine was probably Mario Kart, as it was the first game and Super Nintendo was the first console I ever got. Plus, it’s a straight classic!”
Bonus Round: PUP Debates Sega Vs. Nintendo
Nestor Chumak: I was a SEGA kid. I had a Dreamcast.
Zack Mykula: This is a losing battle for me because I’m Super Nintendo.
Stefan Babcock: The only system I ever had was Nintendo 64.
Z.M.: Yeah I had an N64 and a Super NES.
Steve Sladkowski: I was pretty big on Genesis and N64, but…
Z.M.: So maybe it’s a tie.
S.B.: What about SkiFree? That’s what I was into!
S.S.: What is that?
S.B.: SkiFree. That computer game with the Skier and you get eaten by the snowman at the end?
Z.M.: But I’d say my favourite’s Super Nintendo.
S.S.: Think I have to go Nintendo too.
S.B.: Sounds like it was Nintendo, then. Sorry, bud [Nestor].
N.C.: That’s okay…
S.B.: It’s democracy!