The Japanese Role-Playing Gamer

Playing unique games, new and old

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Battlefield 3 Tunes: A Retrospective

Donya Fortress in Battlefield 3

When I first published the Bitmob article about my Battlefield 3 music playlists, I didn’t expect that the official Battlefield 3 Facebook page would share it.

I was shocked. I’d had my stories published before, but I never expected that a game company’s marketers would ever share my music with everyone. I was incredibly glad that other gamers and fans really appreciated my taste in music.

I kept making new playlists, because I really loved how my rock music added edginess to an intense multiplayer game. However, I stopped compiling them in 2013. By that point, I gradually lost interest in the game.

The publishers of Battlefield 3, Electronic Arts (EA), soon started promoting Battlefield 4. This seemed far too sudden. I’d only played Battlefield 3 for about a year or so. I couldn’t understand why they needed to push out a new Battlefield game. All the graphical enhancements looked great, but it was too technically demanding for my computer. It required a lot of the latest graphics hardware, just to run properly.

However, I completely lost interest when EA showed off gameplay trailers for Battlefield 4. The first gameplay trailer used a song called “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from Bonnie Tyler. It sounded awful. I just couldn’t understand why the game was using such an over-dramatic 80s song.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the silly song repeated itself during one of the car chases. And this part of the game was supposedly set in Azerbaijan. For whatever reason, a car radio in Azerbaijan was playing a Bonnie Tyler song. I guess foreign people can’t get enough of Bonnie Tyler.

It sounded strange and absolutely out of place. At that point, I just stopped caring about Battlefield 4 altogether. Honestly, I just thought to myself that they could have tried using the tunes that I had in my own playlists. I somehow knew that this new release would turn out as a disaster.

I still love Battlefield 3. I just wish that the developers would try to listen to what their fans are demanding.


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28 vicious songs to blast while playing Battlefield 3


(Originally posted on Bitmob and VentureBeat)

A nagging problem kept bothering me while playing Battlefield 3. It had nothing to do with the server speed or my overheating Xbox 360.

I just couldn’t think of a great rock-music playlist to listen to during my sessions.

I really wanted to capture that ruthless environment of Battlefield 3 in a playlist. The game has an edgy visual atmosphere that always crawls under my skin whenever I boot it up. The colors are dark and rusty. Every ricocheted gunshot causes some sort of explosion.

I thought that 2000s post-punk would work pretty well. That decade, however, also coincided with the happy-indie-rock movement. I certainly couldn’t play Modest Mouse’s “Float On” while mowing down hordes of soldiers.

Then I came up with the sound. I had to add in my favorite Generation X music from my childhood.

I really didn’t want to include these bands. Many of the singers ended up becoming rotten corporate jerks who are more interested in hoarding money. The songs fit perfectly, though. The Smashing Pumpkins’ music has a nasty, cool attitude that really meshed well with the dirty competition in Battlefield 3.

Although some of the band’s music is touching, the loud anthems really bring the game’s visceral edginess to life. “The Everlasting Gaze” is an especially fitting song. In the chorus, Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan keeps whining, “You know I’m not dead.” Corgan’s message really pumps me up for battle, probably because I always have to respawn after my soldier dies. In this game, I have no choice but to kill more people.

This wasn’t enough for me, though. I wanted another band in my playlist with a heavy electric-guitar sound. 311 also fits the mood. The band’s dissonant guitar strums have a rugged growl that fills the entire war zone with noise.

Group member S.A. Martinez’s raps especially emphasize the intensity of BF3’s wastelands. In the song “Galaxy,” his loud rhymes burst out of the speakers with catchy profanity. I’m still not exactly sure what he means when he says, “We’ve got the m*****f****** kids, now let’s freak this s**t.” He does talk about taking over the Pentagon, however. That sounds almost as crazy as everything else that happens in Battlefield’s campaign mode.

I had quite a lot of great material to play around with, so I decided to split my songs into two playlists. I call them Vicious War Tunes volumes one and two. Each list contains quite a few other musicians like Harvey Danger and Beck. I even had room to squeeze in The Pillows, a garage rock band from Japan.

You could try these playlists during your own Battlefield or Call of Duty sessions. Maybe the music will bring all the pain of your preferred war title to life. At the very least, it will make people want to freak s*** up during a heated battle.

Vicious War Tunes (Volume One)

1. Smashing Pumpkins — Cherub Rock
2. Harvey Danger — Flagpole Sitta
3. Smashing Pumpkins — Bullet with Butterfly WIngs
4. Beastie Boys — So What’cha Want
5. 311 — Galaxy
6. The Cranberries — Zombie
7. Kasabian — Club Foot
8. Kaiser Chiefs — I Predict a Riot
9. Bloc Party — Banquet
10. Beck — Novacane
11. Nirvana — Territorial Pissings
12. Smashing Pumpkins — The Everlasting Gaze
13. The Pillows — Last Dinosaur
14. The Flaming Lips — Do You Realize?
15. Smashing Pumpkins — The End is the Beginning is the End

Vicious War Tunes (Volume Two)

1. 311 — Creatures (for a While)
2. Nirvana — In Bloom
3. Beastie Boys — No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn
4. Smashing Pumpkins — Zero
5. Harvey Danger — Wooly Muffler
6. Smashing Pumpkins — Disarm
7. 311 — The Continuous Life
8. Titus Andronicus — A More Perfect Union
9. Titus Andronicus — Titus Andronicus Forever
10. Radiohead — Climbing Up the Walls
11. Joy Division — Transmission
12. 311 — Borders
13. Oasis — Falling Down

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Video Game Playlists: A Retrospective

Working dudeAs I wrote in a previous post, I haven’t kept up with this blog as often as I would have liked. My schedule is much busier than it was years ago. I’ve been working on a variety of projects. I program the website for my church. I now write for a magazine in my neighborhood. I’m taking classes on computer information systems.

I hardly have time to play big-budget games these days. I mostly play portable games, because I don’t have enough time to sit in front of a TV to play. So I really haven’t caught up with as many games these days.

So instead of playing video games, I just compile together my own video game playlists.

Elder Scrolls 4 troll photo


Let me explain. I’m not talking about a whole list of games that I have to play. I’m talking about music that I listen to while I’m playing video games. I started doing this one or two years ago, because many of my Xbox games don’t have good music. Believe me, I’ve tried all sorts of games, from Battlefield 3 to Assassin’s Creed 2. The music for these games is okay, at best. However, the current soundtracks just doesn’t thrill me in the same way as the video game soundtracks in the 90s and the early 2000s.

I’m sure that the new game developers intended to focus on the new systems’ graphical capabilities. Unfortunately, the developers are spending less time on the more entertaining parts of a game. I still don’t understand why the shooter genre can’t come up with some actual good music, like that awesome opening tune in Doom.

Thankfully, the Xbox 360 lets people play their own music playlist to replace the soundtrack of the game. While the game is paused, players can press the Xbox button on the controller and choose their own custom playlists from the music menu. This is my favorite feature of the Xbox 360, because it lets me choose good music to replace any boring soundtracks in a video game. The 360 system even lets me rip other music CDs for music to listen to.

When I started making playlists, I figured that I’d just make playlists for whatever mood I was in at the time. I figured that the current-gen games would have enough good music to keep me from using this feature. Unfortunately, the original soundtracks for most of these games are disappointing. For example, Elder Scrolls 4 has some boring flute melody that keeps repeating all the time. There are some slight variations, but for most of the game, I was listening to the same damned thing over and over again.

That’s why I started making my own custom music playlists. I felt bad that I was using music from the Arcade Fire in place of the game’s soundtrack, but I didn’t really have a choice. When I’m sitting down playing a video game, I also need really good music that immerses me in the moment of that game. I could either listen to the original soundtrack loop over and over, or I could listen to music that I actually want to listen to.

I know that this is a long introduction, but I thought everyone else should know how my weird projects came about. In my upcoming posts, I’ll show everyone just what I came up with in the last decade or so.