9 Best Video Game Pump Up Songs
Welcome to Everything is Gaming. I’m happy to have your eyeballs’ attention for the moment to tell you about the greatest, most soul expanding songs to put into your earballs. Perhaps you’re burning the midnight oil and need Art to inspire you to keep going. Or you’re playing D&D or Magic: The Gathering and you need a kickass soundtrack as a battle backdrop. Maybe you’re busting through a wall like the Kool-Aid Man and need a ditty to accompany you. We all need to feel epic sometimes and these 10 songs are the tunes to get you there.
“Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Main Theme” - Brian Tyler Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
Garrr me hearty. The sea be a cruel mistress, but it’s ye job to tame her whims and ways, to pillage and plunder. If you’re looking for an anthem to remind yourself that you don’t need to take any sh*t from anyone, here’s your song.
“The Trail” - Marcin Przybylowicz The Witcher 3
Waaaahhhaaaaaah! If you’ve heard this song, you know exactly how that was meant to sound. This kind of pumped up makes one want to shake out their flowing, snowy white locks, grab a silver sword (or game controller) and get to monster slaying. Plus the vocals and instrumentals were created by the best Polish Folk Metal band of all time: Percival.
“Main Theme” - Koji Kondo The Legend of Zelda
My man Koji Kondo has crafted some epic tunes, but this makes you feel like the triforce is in your soul. You can find dozens of versions of this masterpiece. Unlike some of the other utter bangers on this list, this tune won’t make you feel like stabbing anyone. It won’t make you feel violent or aggressive. It just awakens that childlike sense of wonder and imagination. Treat your brain to the feeling that anything is possible, heroes will win the day and love can conquer any obstacle.
“Halo” - Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori Halo
Listening to this song is what a falcon must feel like when it catches an updraft and soars high above the earth. It’s what a bear must feel when they emerge from their hibernation and take their first breath of fresh air. It’s what Michael Jordan must have felt like doing that one dunk that inspired the Air Jordan logo. Even if the strains of this theme don’t immediately cause endorphin flooding nostalgia in your brain, the rise of the symphonic chords and gentle restraint the listener is held to at the end is enough to inspire poets and gamers alike.
“Unshaken” - D’Angelo Red Dead Redemption 2
Yup. D’Angelo is on the list. This song gets you pumped like going to a gospel church gets you pumped. You feel the heartbreaking bittersweetness of life. You feel the beautiful, crushing, unstoppable passage of time while also being made aware of your connection to all beings. You feel like a damn cowboy. It’s the most lowkey song on this list, but possibly the most empowering and fortifying.
“Cocaine” - FIDLAR Grand Theft Auto V
YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH BUDDY! WOOOOOOO! YEEEEEAAAAHHHH! ALRIGHT!!! EEEEEEEEEYYYYYYEEEEAAAAAAAAH!
“Tetris Theme” - Hirokazu Tanaka Tetris
This song was around well before folks were satisfyingly sliding the L piece into its perfect place. Russian novelist Nikolay Nekrasov wrote a poem in 1861 named “Korobeiniki”, which means peddlers. The poem was a smash hit (ye olden days were lit) and was soon turned into a popular folk song. Cut to 1989 and Hirokazu Tanaka arranging the classic tune into the hit theme for a hit game. Hearing this song makes the soul surge forward, the heart races, the mind blooms with possibility. You can’t help pumping your arms like a little pixelated guy racing down a hallway full of baddies. Yes, we know that doesn’t happen in Tetris. But that’s art man, it just makes you feel things.
“Dragonborn” - Jeremy Soule The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Dovahkiin! The ancient magics surround you, are within you. This song conjures vistas yet to be explored, dungeons yet to be delved, evils yet to be vanquished. And you can do it all buddy. They greybeards sing your praise Dragonborn. This song is like getting a forehead kiss from God. You’re the chosen one, the most special person in the whole world. That’s a feeling we can all use now and then.
“God of War” - Bear McCreary God of War
It starts low, it builds to the heavens. If you’re not ready to go out and punch a troll by the time this 4:06 song is over, then you should definitely get your pulse checked. Bear McCreary is the best in the business when it comes to epic music. He’s a beast of a composer. The whole GoW soundtrack is wall to wall battle bangers. I like to mute other games’ soundtracks and put this bad boy on instead.