Game That Tune

Bit. Trip Runner

Fun Run

The motivational music of Bit.Trip Runner gets your heart pumping.

By Derrick Sanskrit • January 17, 2013

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).

New year, new you. That’s what all the commercials for fitness clubs tout this time of year, at least. The turning over of the calendar somehow inspires people to start fresh, try new things, and better themselves. These are lofty and noble goals, but man, doing stuff is harrrrrrrrd. Heck, sometimes just getting out of bed to go about your humdrum routine is a challenge your mind and body just aren’t ready for. We all need some reason to break out of our comfortable cocoons. Some motivation, some impetus. Oh, hey, Bit.Trip Runner is a game about getting up and moving, and it kicks off with a song called “Impetus.” How fortuitous!

We start with the radio-filtered fuzz of uninspired normalcy before tearing down the walls and starting with only the barest of bit-crushed beats. We’re given the space we all so crave to stretch our limbs, roll our necks, loosen up, and prepare for the road ahead. The song doesn’t leave us to our own devices for too long, though—we’re liable to fall back into bed. The beat intensifies as it’s joined by the jubilant square lead, like a red rubber ball bouncing on a toy xylophone. There’s a shimmer of magic dust and the overwhelming sensation that everything’s going to be A-okay. It’s the perfect get-up-and-go music, full of energy and hope without ever forcing its own will or narrative on you. The listeners are free to do whatever they want, just as long as they get out there and do it!

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  • PaganPoet

    I had never considered the idea of chiptunes as exercise music. It could be good for me, I’m always tempted to start singing aloud at the gym, but the other patrons wouldn’t understand the brilliance of Robyn. “I keep dancing on my owwwwwwwwn~”

    • O Superman

      If they don’t understand the brilliance of Robyn, that’s THEIR fault.

    • Fluka

      I do the same thing when I code, and have actually switched to instrumental and chiptunes as a result.  I live in terror of my 70-year-old advisor walking in to find me doing the dance from “Call your Girlfriend.”

      • PaganPoet

        Hopefully right at this part: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Hojua-LnmlM/TfZjNED-D5I/AAAAAAAABV8/JsGKurTq5d0/s1600/tumblr_lmcvud6qV71qa8g22o1_400.gif

        • Fluka

          Ayuuuuuuuuup.

          *Turns on some nice classical music instead.*

    • Cheese

       I’ve been meaning to put together a workout playlist for a while, I’m definitely going to start looking along these lines. Both Chiptunes and Robyn. Konichiwa Bitches!

    • http://twitter.com/roundthewheel RTW

      Video game music is excellent for working out, because the repetition puts you in a solid groove very quickly.

  • Citric

    Bit.Trip Runner also has excellent sound design in game, since the various obstacles make little noises that enhance the song and each bonus thing pumps the music up.

    The game is also a total jerk, and I’m not just saying that because I can’t beat stage 1-11 and that’s making me feel dumb.

    • http://twitter.com/artbegotti Steve Lewis

      You’re in good company, I also can’t beat 1-11 for the life of me. Love the music in this game, and I’m excited for Runner 2 to come out (mostly just to hear more of the soundtrack), but I have a feeling I’ll be stuck before reaching the first boss level again.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Is 1-11 the “boss” stage? I haven’t played it in months because I got stuck on the boss of the first page of levels or whatever. Tooo haaaard.

  • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

    While I eventually began to hate Bit.Trip Runner’s insistence on “no mistakes” and lack of meaningful interactivity, it did introduce me to Anamanaguchi so I do owe them that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GItw1qZLdsU

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      I think that I like their new video better than the song it’s promoting.