It’s a bit surreal playing video games now. While arguments about graphics and game quality go on and on it’s fair to say that they are better then they have ever been. Actually, as the movie Avatar proved, the graphics are perhaps better than real life. But as far as modern video games have come nothing takes me back to the good ole days like some great pixelated graphics. The shimmering colors, janky movements, and artificiality of the landscapes all hit me in just the right way.
So you can imagine how amped I was when I discovered the genre of synthwave music and it’s embrace, nay, obsession with pixelation, and just how far it can be pushed as an art form. There is some amazing stuff going on out there that people simply aren’t talking about enough … and that changes today!
What follows are the best animated videos that push pixelation to knew storytelling heights. They are at time fun and mesmerizing and more importantly great to listen.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments.
(FAIR WARNING: VIDEOS MAY FEATURE NSFW PIXELATED IMAGERY)
Amplitude Problem – “80 Proof Midnights and 98 Octane Noons”
This song from Amplitude Problem is fun, fast, and infectious. It’s like I’m sitting in my basement playing awesome Sonic The Hedgehog games all over again. I love. Also, the animation is by Valenberg, a premier artist in this arena that will show up in this list again.
VirtuaVerse – ネオ東京 Downtown (Victor Love & Dynatron)
The Theta Division is a game that is going to be released soon that features the music of Victor Love, Dynatron, and the animation of Valenberg. The music is pulse pounding, intense and forces you down the information super highway. The video below gives you a taste of the game itself, and you can follow Victor Love here on his facebook page and Theta Division right here. I’m sure it’s going to be worth the wait, and in the meantime you can learn more about Victor Love and Dynatron in the links provided.
SpaceFader – “Ancient Cosmos”
This is a concept video made by SpaceFader on Youtube. When asked what this video was about in the comments he replied:
“My thought process was to make it, which I did. The video is about a person in the middle of nowhere who is abducted and experimented on. It is also about a guy trying to wind down after a hard day’s work.”
Check it out and prepare for things to get freaky.
Gamer – “Shaping Staff”
This video, also made by SpaceFader, is an official music video for the band called Gamer. It takes its sci-fi concept and runs full speed with it.
Gamer – “Turbo”
This video by SpaceFader is a little higher on the list simply because of what it has going on. More storytelling, vibrant colors, and some drama that keeps you guessing. It’s also just so cool to look at.
Remute feat. Lil’ Fang – “Play The Game”
This is a music video for the band Remute. It was made by Lazerhorse, one of the coolest names in the pixelated game. This video was a labor of love made after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s fun, intense, and takes you right back to those arcade style side scrollers of yesteryear.
Perturbator – “Sentient” [UNCENSORED – “The Uncanny Valley”]
This video has it all. Creepy post-apocalyptic future. Liquid hot colors. Haunting yet pulse pounding music. I can’t stop listening to it. Perturbator (a.k.a. James Kent) is a giant in the synthwave scene and kicks out bad ass album after bad ass album featuring sonic nirvana. Meanwhile Valenberg (again) delivers the amazing visuals. It just proves that he is an artist that needs to be paid attention too. Yeah, this vid is a match made in heaven.
(NSFW sexiness in this vid)
Mitch Murder – “Interceptor” (Official Music Video)
Mitch Murder is another giant in the Synthwave scene that can’t stop kicking out sick beat after sick beat. The video featured for this go round is truly a match for this songs smooth tone. It’s steamy, atmospheric, and dripping in cool. It was animated and directed by James Roswell and he deserves major kudos for bringing something so seedy to life.
Scandroid – “Empty Streets”
The best part about these videos is that when they reinterpret something it simply looks incredible, but when they push boundaries into something never before seen it looks even more spectacular. That is the case with this track from Scandroid, which takes us into the many level of future heavy metal dystopia. It’s a fantastic trip into the future that makes you want to pick up a controller and start blasting.
GUNSHIP – Revel In Your Time [Official Music Video]
We have been trumpeting the praises of Gunship for a while now, and their self titled album from 2015 was one of my hands down favorite albums of all time. This video for Revel In Your Time manages to catch fun, pulsing rhythm of the song with a simple future retro premise that makes it a joy to watch. It’s dark, until it get’s you to the light. The video was created by Jason Tammemagi and he needs to be celebrated for putting this together.
TWRP – “The Hit” feat. Ninja Sex Party
This is the video that started it all for me, and made me yearn to discover more pixelated awesome. Whenever TWRP (Tuperware Remix Party) and Ninja Sex Party (I know, best band names ever) get together you know magic is going to happen. Throw in the AMAZING video made by Lazerhorse and you have what may be the funnest music video ever made. When I listen to this, my dreams become real. My pain goes away. I believe in humanity. You get the idea.
Check out the video below and make sure you have a safe space around you … cause you are going to want to party.
Perturbator – “She Is Young, She Is Beautiful … “
What’s not to say about Perturbator? Oh, and this video? It’s a riot of classic sci-fi throwbacks with 80’s flavored adventure hints combined with big anime levels of drama. It’s simply beautiful, and the director team of Jarkko Kinnunen and Sami Rämä deserve some major kudos.
But those are just some of our favorites. What say you? Let us know in the comments section what some of your favorite pixelated music videos are — past and present. And be sure to check out more from the bands above by clicking the appropriate links. You’ll be a lot cooler if you did.
Update Info 5/28/2016: More videos were added to this list after publishing and the first video featured was corrected to reflect the original artist who made it, Amplitude Problem, as opposed to San Holo.