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From poker to League of Legends, games have become an integral part of our lives. So, it’s not surprising that musicians and songwriters have sought to incorporate these themes into some of pop’s biggest hits. It’s not unusual for a pop artist to use games as a metaphor for life, commonly asking romantic partners to stop playing games with their hearts. Video games are also a common thread in pop music, with some songs becoming the themes for beloved characters. In this article, we look at some of the top songs about gaming.

Poker Face—Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s hit Poker Face is one of the most successful pop songs with a gaming theme. As the title suggests, this song is all about the game of poker, but it doesn’t end there. While having one of the best poker hands will get you far in the game, you also need to be sure your strategy is airtight. There are many poker hands players must master as they strive to become the best. They may get a straight flush with all five cards in numerical order or, if they’re really lucky, the unbeatable royal flush. 

Other notable poker hands include four-of-a-kind and full house. This song goes into the game’s intricacies and how they relate to life and reminds us that no matter how good your hand seems to be, something unexpected can always happen. Poker is as much a game of psychology as skill, so you’ll need to ensure your opponents can’t read your poker faces to maximize your opportunities for success. 

Space Invaders—Player One (aka Playback)

We travel back to the year 1980 for this pop gem about one of the biggest video games of the time: Space Invaders. Player One scored a hit with its electro-disco song about the famous video game. The Australian band wasn’t the only group to sing about Space Invaders. Uncle Vic released a song by the same name, and The Pretenders released Funny Stuff (Space Invader), all in the same year. All of these songs were tributes to the popular arcade game released by Japanese company Taito in 1978. 

Quake—Nine Inch Nails

Video games aren’t what come to mind when most people think of the alternative/indie band Nine Inch Nails. Although the band has had a significant impact on pop culture, their music doesn’t usually fall into the pop category. However, the entire soundtrack from the 1996 first-person shooter game Quake features the band’s music. With titles like “Quake Theme,” “The Hall of Souls,” ‘Parallel Dimensions,” and “Aftermath,’ it’s easy to imagine how the band’s

 

music fits into the game. The music ranges from whispered chants to distorted guitars. Some find the soundtrack relaxing; others find it mesmerizing. 

Enemy—Imagine Dragons & JID

League of Legends fans worldwide know the song Enemy from Imagine Dragons and JID. The League of Legends’ Series Arcane is the inspiration for this catchy song that got a lot of airplay when it was released in 2021. The song talks about internal conflict and the enemies a person faces as they go through life. Although the protagonist faces many challenges and encounters people who want him to fail, he’s determined to persevere and come out on top. JID also has a prominent role on the track, describing the emotional challenges he faces along his journey. The song’s chorus, “Oh, the misery, everybody wants to be my enemy,” is hard to forget and appropriate as a theme for one of the most well-known video games and its spin-off series.

Kernkraft 4000—Zombie Nation

This turn of the century hit from Zombie Nation got its inspiration from the 1984 computer game Lazy Jones. Although you probably have never played the game, if you’ve ever attended a professional hockey game, you’ve heard the crowd singing the song. The band came up with the catchy chorus by sampling Lazy Jones’ track, Stardust. So, the next time you’re singing along to this song, be sure to remember its gaming origins.

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