Stolen Soundtracks – Laser Time #388

Video games have pioneered so very many things in the realm of pop culture. So… it’s a difficult question to ask: Is music NOT one of them? Grab the buds and/or phones, because we’re exploring a bit of a tough topic. When it comes to game music, or VGM, what is borrowing, and what is stealing? Either way, please enjoy another funtastic Laser Time listening party, as well as the butchering pronunciation of several wonderful Japanese composers. Feel free to chime in with anything we missed!


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12 thoughts on “Stolen Soundtracks – Laser Time #388

  1. I was watching the movie Speed recently, and thought the theme sounded familiar to Metal Gear Solid. I googled it, and seemed that others feel similarly.

  2. Really happy to hear this one!

    Loads of other arcade games used music without permission/attribution, to the point that a lot of modern releases are muted/replaced.
    The switch Arcade Archives version of Bomb Jack uses arrangements from “Mighty Bomb Jack”.

    Speaking of “Bomb Jack” – Aside from “Lady Madonna”, in the original the first stage music is stolen from the anime “Ringo no Mori no Koneko Tachi” (Spoon Aunt)

    The stage music from “Frogger” is lifted from the theme from “Araiguma Rasukaru” (Raccoon Rascal) and the iconic start up music is swiped from “The Dog Policemen”, Naturally, these songs are taken out of all modern releases.

    Pooyan uses the Japanese song “Mori no Kuma-san” or “The Other Day I met a Bear”, and Glenn Miller’s “American Patrol” for level 2.

    Pengo famously uses the song “Popcorn” by Hot Butter which got Sega in trouble at the time, so there’s a second revision with different music.

    The Arcade game “Mikie” uses the Beatles “Hard Day’s Night”

    Bag Man uses the song “Red River Valley” – specifically the remix that was used in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”

    Rainbow Islands uses “SOmewhere Over the Rainbow”. All of the OCean home ports use this song, years after it needed to be changed for Taito’s official NES port. Their Famicom port job uses the song still, as it was released in Japan, that had laxer free use laws.

    The opening cinematic from “Donkey Kong” is very close (but not exactly) to the Dragnet theme.

    It’s been written about before, but the opening theme from the original “Legend of Zelda” was an 11th hour sound alike for Ravel’s “Boléro” that was one month away from hitting the public domain, but would have caused the game to be released past the holiday season.

    This is all I can think of right now, but I’m sure there are dozens and dozens more

  3. There are loads of video game versions of popular cartoons that refused to pay licencing for use of their iconic theme songs.
    How about a listening party episode where the guest try to guess the sound alike song?

    “The Flintstones: Burgertime in Bedrock” for the Game Boy Color
    “Popeye: The Rush for Spinach” on GBA
    “Wacky Races” for the C64
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 on NES (And they forgot to remove the end of level victory theme that’s the actual theme)
    “The Tick” on SNES (Though the Genesis version is the real theme) – And they again forgot the “Sneaking Around Music” from the actual cartoon.
    “Eek the Cat” on SNES keeps the sound samples of “Eek” from the theme while using a sound a like for the music.

    If this sounds like something you might do, I can probably dig up a load of other examples – but really, one could just get a list of cartoon licenced video games and checking them out on youtube. I’ll bet a large majority of those from the 90s and beyond have more soundalikes than not!

  4. Arcade version of Rainbow Islands and Fiend from Final Fantasy 14. Both are very apparent in whats they’re ripping from.

  5. It took a couple of searches, but I found some fan-written material on about fictional characters who look suspiciously similar to M. Bison. That site has illustrations comparing him with Kato from a Doomed Megalopolis movie poster, Washizaki from the 1988 manga Riki-Oh, as well as Stroheim from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

    About twenty years ago, I looked at the Battle Angel Alita manga a couple of times in bookstores, and said “meh.” A few months ago, I looked at the reprinted and re-localized version published by Kodansha Comics. I was finally impressed, and liked its offbeat character designs. (Trivia: Viz Media published the Battle Angel Alita manga in English during the 1990s. At the time, they were localizing series by printing them first as thirty to forty page comic pamphlets, and flipping them so that they would read from left to right. Both of those trends faded away in the early 2000s.)

  6. Super fun episode! I have one to contribute! 🙂 Soul II Soul has other grooves very similar to this on other tracks as well. Listen to the instrumental of Back To Life even to really hear that bassline and string part. Super Adventure Island isn’t a very good game but god damn that soundtrack is fire!!
    PS. Chris yes I have heard of the band MUSE 😉 lol peace!

    Soul II Soul – Back To Life

    Super Adventure Island – Stage Theme 03

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