Game music has the power to earworm its way into your heart long after you put the controller down. Each week in Game That Tune, we highlight a great tune from a great game (or a great tune from a just-okay game).
Song: “Pushing Onwards”
Composer: Magnus “SoulEye” Pålsson
Game: VVVVVV (2010)
Just because you’re trapped on an unfamiliar space station filled to the brim with death traps doesn’t mean you can’t get down to some funky jams now and then. Terry Cavanagh knew this as he was developing his lighthearted romp through certain doom, VVVVVV, which is why he brought noted chiptune wizard Magnus “SoulEye” Pålsson on board for the game’s original score. Just lo-fi enough to believably mesh with Cavanagh’s Atari 2600 aesthetic, SoulEye’s soundtrack brings you back to the old days when games were hard and you loved them for it, particularly when they had songs as brilliantly motivational as “Pushing Onwards.”
Do you feel that? That pounding excitement, equal parts dread and wonder pressing you to keep moving ahead? The constant three-note bass line is the driving force of motion, a steady reminder that forward is the only option. Staccato pulses and blips reinforce the sense of alien uncertainty while generating urgency. Dueling sine wave synths create a swirling vortex of booty-shaking from which there is no escape. Everything behind you is the past, dead and barren, brimming with one-hit kills and queasy stomachs. What lies ahead is the glorious unknown! It could be delicious pies! It could be a 10-story tall neon elephant! It could be more spikes. (It’s probably more spikes.) The only way to find out is to keep moving. Push onward!