Lil’ Flip may have made the blip fashionable again – via his current single, ”Game Over (Flip)” – but everyone knows videogames stopped blipping years ago. Instead, pixel pushers are using star-powered soundtracks the same way movies do – to suck you in and keep you there. But while the Matrix trilogy runs more than six hours, the typical button-masher is lost inside Madden NFL for an average of 40 hours. Which means that every song in the game will be driven into a player’s brain with the force of a Hanzo sword wielded by a vengeful bride. Given the importance of videogame hooks, L2T singled out 10 high-profile hits and the beat-heavy games they appear in. Read on while you wait for the next level to load. – Noah Robischon
1 SONG ”BLITZKRIEG BOP” The first and still the best three-chord anthem by the Ramones – the ”Hey! Ho!” punk-rock band that defined the genre.
ALBUM THE RAMONES 1976 Each of the 14 ditties on this debut is sweet, obnoxious, under three minutes long – and shot through with adrenaline.
GAME TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER 3 2001 The best of Tony Hawk’s ankle-breaking skateboarding franchise, full of tortuous combo tricks and realistic environments worthy of repeat visits.
A FITTING COMBO? Absolutely! The Ramones supply the kicks and Tony Hawk brings the flips.
2 SONG ”MOTORBREATH” Metallica distill their metal-on-metal riffs into a high-proof single that isn’t even one of the album’s best.
ALBUM KILL ‘EM ALL 1983 It lacks the sophistication of later efforts, but the band’s debut marks the emergence of a little thing called thrash.
GAME MTX MOTOTRAX 2004 This mud-flecked road racer compensates for its mediocre trick book with a lot of noise.
A FITTING COMBO? No doubt about it: James Hetfield’s grumbling is in tune with the bike engine’s rumbling.
3 SONG ”FORTUNATE SON” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s working-class antiwar anthem is as relevant today as it was 35 years ago.
ALBUM WILLY AND THE POOR BOYS 1969 John Fogerty’s baritone and his brother’s guitar solos float CCR’s fourth album down a bayou rippling with mostly good vibes.
GAME BATTLEFIELD VIETNAM 2004 Taking the controls of this ’60s-era shooter is akin to living Apocalypse Now – intense, jarring, and mind-altering.
A FITTING COMBO? CCR served as a real-life soundtrack to the Vietnam years; hearing them blaring now as you ride in a helicopter over the Ho Chi Minh Trail will make your hair stand on end.
4 SONG ”FIRESTARTER” The Prodigy’s chain-saw guitars slice through a forest of techno, letting the sparks fly on this preview instrumental single.
ALBUM THE FAT OF THE LAND 1997 The smashing third album from Britain’s rave kings, which included Kool Keith rapping and an L7 cover, infected MTV like a virus.
GAME WIPEOUT XL 1996 In 2097, superspeed hovercraft race along gravity-defying courses dotted with heavy weaponry. What’s not to like?
A FITTING COMBO? Wipeout is known for its futurism, speed, and total lack of subtlety. Just like the Prodigy!
5 SONG ”ATOMIC” Blondie married the syncopated guitars of the Clash to new-wave synth-pop and landed a hit that outlived the ’80s.
ALBUM EAT TO THE BEAT 1979 Like most Blondie LPs, Beat offers classic tracks, underappreciated cuts, and a couple of art-rock failures.
GAME GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY 2002 With its scrappy, drug-dealing ex-con protagonist Tommy Vercetti, GTA blows the kiddie titles away.
A FITTING COMBO? Of the seven CDs’ worth of music featured in Vice City, Blondie best captures the game’s neon-lit 1980s setting.
6 SONG ”JUNGLE BOOGIE” There’s a reason Quentin Tarantino dug this brassy tune out of retirement for his Pulp Fiction soundtrack: It never gets old.
ALBUM WILD AND PEACEFUL 1973 Before Kool & the Gang added the cheeseball singer that shot them to the top of the charts, they recorded this soul-jazz instrumental masterpiece (a favorite of sample-hunting DJs).
GAME EYETOY GROOVE 2004 As you swing your arms in time to the music, Groove’s camera judges your rhythmic abilities and estimates the number of calories burned.
A FITTING COMBO? No matter how many times you’ve jungle-boogied, this controller-free party game will make you get down, get down.
7 SONG ”ROCK STAR” N.E.R.D. snarl like rap-rock mutts and get the crowd onto the dance floor, all while raising a middle finger to stardom.
ALBUM IN SEARCH OF… 2002 Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams broke from producing the likes of Jay-Z and Ol’ Dirty Bastard to record this radio-friendly ode to their own ambition.
GAME SSX 3 2003 SSX 3 is a snowboard-racing fantasy with half-hour long trails, 200-foot drops, and eye-splitting visuals.
A FITTING COMBO? ”Rock Star” pounds with the force of an avalanche – a thrill to have at your back as you ride down the mountain.
8 SONG ”IMPROVISE” Jurassic 5 recorded this wild-style cut as a single in 1999 and released it a year later on their critically acclaimed LP.
ALBUM QUALITY CONTROL 2000 Old-school samples, political verbiage, and talented turntablists make for an album that works as well on a hot Friday night as on a chill Sunday morning.
GAME JET GRIND RADIO 2000 Rollerblading through Tokyo, spray-painting tags, and grinding down impossible rails made this one of the freshest titles on the defunct Sega Dreamcast.
A FITTING COMBO? Jet Grind’s hand-drawn look may shout techno (the music used in the sequel, Jet Set Radio Future), but J5’s antic beats better serve the gameplay.
9 SONG ”SILVER SCREEN (SHOWER SCENE)” Felix da Housecat’s sound-clashing mix sashays like a supermodel on a runway of sound.
ALBUM KITTENZ AND THEE GLITZ 2001 On this sparkling concept album, the Chicago house impresario sampled the 1980s and made it sound new again.
GAME MIDNIGHT CLUB II 2003 With its illegal car racing on the streets of Paris, Tokyo, and Los Angeles, this tire squealer feels like an upscale Fast and the Furious.
A FITTING COMBO? The cut’s jaded vocals by France’s Miss Kittin lend the Paris competition a certain joie de vroom.
10 SONG ”FIGHT THE POWER” Public Enemy’s rapid-fire single summed up its credo with the legendary line ”Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant s – - to me…”
ALBUM FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET 1990 The forward-thinking, brutally honest hits from PE’s third album have outlived the controversy that surrounded its release.
GAME DEF JAM VENDETTA 2003 This pro wrestling drama pits you, an up-and-coming mauler, against label heavyweights Method Man, DMX, and Scarface.
A FITTING COMBO? No. Pro wrestling has none of the style or magic of PE’s culture-shifting rhymes.