The Art Of The Video Game Music Video

By Michael Epstein , Updated Mar 16, 2013 11:07 AM EDT

Earlier this week, self-proclaimed "Starcraft boy band" Viva la Dirt League released the "official" music video for "Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm" to commemorate the game's release. I had one question: "What makes a great 'video game music video?" These guys got Blizzard's approval, so clearly they did something right. Let's take a look at some great musical tributes to video games and see what makes them rock.

Chasing The Swarm, Viva la Dirt League ("Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm")

Let's face it, the official video kind of gets to cheat. The video features more than little bit of game footage that, considering the video was released the same day as the game, was clearly taken by Blizzard. So rule #1 of making video game music videos? Get the game's publisher to give you the game footage you need.

That isn't to say the video's bad. The most important part of the video, the song, is pretty entertaining. It's a catchy, if simple, parody of The Wanted's "Chasing the Sun." Taking certain creative elements out of the equation seems like a helpful way to focus on generating clever, referential lyrics.

The Bioshock Song, BrentalFloss ("Bioshock")

If you haven't listened to the musical stylings of YouTube's BrentalFloss, you're missing out on a slew of fun little songs about video games and gaming culture. The key to "The Bioshock Song's" success lies in the deep-cut referential treatment in the lyrics. As a fan tribute, the song goes beyond using basic terminology to show a real understanding of the material. On the other hand, it's a well-composed song: Just because you played "Bioshock" doesn't mean you can write a song about it.

Skyrim Epic Rap, Dan Bull ("The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim")

Sometimes it's better to be clever. Game-inspired rap generally tends to fall apart, but this one gets the balance between game referencing and well-constructed rhymes right. "Skyrim" and rap is also a better pairing than you might think: If you can slay dragons just by shouting at them, that's something worth bragging about.

What are some other great video game music videos? Post your favorites in the comments.

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