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Game Music Goes Mainstream? I Wish.

Mario Paint musicSlashdot picked up an article on CNN about how video game music is going mainstream.  My first thought when I saw the headline was "It's about time!", but then I realized that the mainstream's idea of video game music has more to do with a Green Day or Foo Fighters song ending up as background filler in a Tony Hawk or Madden game.  Sure enough, it looks like my second thought was right on the money.

[H]it singles such as Green Day's "American Idiot" were heard on the hugely popular "Madden NFL Football" games even before they got radio play. In fact, 14 of the 21 songs in the game's latest version, to be released Tuesday, are previously unreleased. The new version features music from Foo Fighters, Rev. Run of Run-DMC fame and others.

Sorry CNN, that is not video game music.  Slamming a licensed album track into a game does not make it video game music.  Not to me.  You want video game music?  Try the songs of Mega Man 2, the familiar overworld theme from Super Mario Bros., or Sonic The Hedgehog's trademark tune (which, hypocritically enough, was composed by a J-Pop band in 1990).  Bring me the rousing Legend of Zelda anthem, most any melody from the world of Castlevania, or the introductory jingle from Pac-Man.  That's video game music.

Mainstream rock stars and rappers may sell a lot of albums, but they aren't creating video game music, no matter what CNN or the rest of the mainstream believe.  The day that I can turn on the radio in my car and hear the soundtrack from Chrono Trigger is the day that video game music goes mainstream.