Game Music for the Holidays – Cover Tunes

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Happy Holidays, everybody!  It’s become a tradition in this blog to share some holiday tunes from some awesome video games, so here’s a selection of holiday cover songs to fuel your festive spirit (and one bonus cover song with a very different take on the holiday spirit).  Enjoy!

Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams (1996)

This short game was released by Sega in a bundle with their Sega Saturn console, and was also provided as a free giveaway on CD-ROMS packaged with various game magazines. Christmas NiGHTS is an upbeat holiday experience, set within the fantasy world established in the Nights Into Dreams video game. “Christmas in Nightopia” offers a cutesy soft-pop rendition of that world-famous Christmas favorite: Jingle Bells.

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Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams (1996)

Since Christmas NiGHTS provides such a wealth of top-rate VGM Yuletide cheer, let’s listen to another track from the same game – this is the Christmas NiGHTS rendition of “Joy to the World.”

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Talesweaver (2003)

This is a Korean massively multiplayer online roleplaying game based on the fantasy novel Children of the Rune. The game takes place on a single massive continent, and players visit various cities and explore a deep storyline adapted from the novel.  The Christmas season is celebrated in-game with several versions of classic holiday songs, including this radiant version of “Feliz Navidad,” that has some of the broad grandeur of a pop anthem from the 1980s.

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The Sims 2 (2004)

This track wasn’t actually included in The Sims 2, but was released by the Maxis development team as a Christmas present to their best and most loyal fans.  Here’s ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ translated into simlish, the official nonsense-language of the Sims!

‘Oh Kukla Troob’

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Bar Oasis 2 (2012)

This IOS game casts the player as a bartender. The challenge comes in the mixology, but the interest is entirely derived from the cast of characters and elaborate storyline. The music also includes a mellow version of “Silent Night” carried at first only by piano, with a bit of synth and shaker to keep things moving. Soon, however, the music swells with soulful holiday spirit.

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LittleBigPlanet 3 (2014)

In this latest adventure through the playful Imagisphere of LittleBigPlanet, Sackboy encounters a wonderful land of dancing bears and Russian-influenced architecture, which is sometimes accompanied by a cutesy synth cover version of this Christmas classic: “Waltz of the Flowers” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.

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Bonus: Carol of the Bells / Joker’s Theme (2013)

This track certainly wouldn’t be anyone’s idea of good-natured holiday cheer, but it is a faithful (if very dark) rendition of the Carol of the Bells from the popular Batman: Arkham Origins game.  Play this one if your holiday spirit is wearing a little thin, and you need something to help you vent your inner Scrooge so that you can get it out of your system.  This ought to do the trick. 😉

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Studio1_GreenWinifred Phillips is an award-winning video game music composer whose most recent project is the triple-A first person shooter Homefront: The Revolution. Her credits include five of the most famous and popular franchises in video gaming: Assassin’s Creed, LittleBigPlanet, Total War, God of War, and The Sims. She is the author of the award-winning bestseller A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. As a VR game music expert, she writes frequently on the future of music in virtual reality video games. Follow her on Twitter @winphillips.

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