Digital December: Spotlight on Video Game Cover Albums

The video game music cover scene is thriving and diverse, with musicians from every possible genre expressing their love for their favorite games and soundtracks. Video game covers are how Materia started, and they continue to be a core part of our identity. We partner with musicians and arrangers around the world to help bring their vision to life, because at the end of the day, we’re all fans sharing our passion with other fans.

Some of these artists might be long-time favorites of yours; others might be new to you. But we hope you’ll take a listen to some of our featured video game cover albums and find the perfect music to add to your collection. (Use the code dd2020 on our Bandcamp all through December for 15% off any digital purchase.)

Fallen Hero

Fallen Hero album cover art

Guitarist Ro Panuganti has achieved a following on YouTube thanks to his thoughtful and heart-pounding metal arrangements of video game classics. With Fallen Hero, he takes his guitar-centric arrangements a few steps further. One part prog metal, one part rock opera, Fallen Hero tells the story of UNDERTALE in a new and powerful way. It merges progressive rock, orchestral metal, and Bollywood-influenced Indian pop — not just guitars but also sitars, violins, marimbas, saxophones, clarinets, and more. Featuring guest performances by String Player Gamer, Doug Perry, Sab Irene, RichaadEB, FamilyJules, and more.

You might like this album if: you appreciate face-melting metal; you enjoy atypical instruments and genre fusions; you love electric guitars; you follow VGM YouTubers, especially this who’s-who of UNDERTALE cover musicians.

Listen to Fallen Hero >>

Piano Collections: CHRONO TRIGGER

Piano Collections: CHRONO TRIGGER album cover art

Chrono Trigger is a timeless classic with a soundtrack beloved by generations of RPG fans. Trevor Alan Gomes is an incredibly expressive and talented pianist and showman who has built a name for himself on Twitch as 88bitmusic. In this album, he gives Chrono Trigger the Piano Collections treatment, with impressive arrangements that are a bombastic fusion of classical, jazz, rock, Japanese pop, and more. The original melodies you love are all recognizable, though the arrangements breathe new life into them.

You might like this album if: you love a skillfully played piano, especially one that goes beyond traditional classical music; you own the official Final Fantasy Piano Collections albums; you’re a Yasunori Mitsuda fan.

Listen to Piano Collections: CHRONO TRIGGER >>

Alola That Jazz: a Pokémon Sun / Moon Jazz Album

Alola That Jazz album cover art

Alola That Jazz is a groovy masterpiece exploring the music of Pokémon Generation 7 (Sun and Moon) as only YouTube legend insaneintherainmusic can. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of the Pokémon series or just an appreciator of really good jazz, you’ll love this one. Many of the tracks are showcases for insaneintherain’s own virtuosic saxophone skills, but collaborators bring trombone, guitar, and more to round the album out. There’s an emphasis on the game’s most popular battle tracks (featuring, of course, Guzma and Lusamine) as well as area themes.

You might like this album if: you’re a Pokémon fan who may or may not know jazz; you don’t know Pokémon well but you do love jazz; you’ve grown up with the series and your taste has grown up to match.

Listen to Alola That Jazz >>

Sacred Groves: A Celtic VGM Tribute

Sacred Groves: A Celtic VGM Tribute album cover art

Sacred Groves is a Celtic-inspired album showcasing the versatile vocal talents of Psamathes as a one-woman choir, singing everything from gentle folk to outright opera. Featuring favorites from UNDERTALE, Celeste, Hollow Knight, The Witcher 3, Majora’s Mask, Final Fantasy VII, and more. Each piece has been arranged with original lyrics written in a conlang (constructed language) that sounds like something from a fantasy land. The end result is ethereal, haunting, and beautiful, and it will stick with you for years to come.

You might like this album if: you have a soft spot for female vocalists; you enjoyed the vocal style and constructed languages of the NieR games; you play RPGs and are drawn to darkly beautiful storytelling.

Listen to Sacred Groves >>

rE:IMAGINE — Music from the world ends with you

RE:IMAGINE Music from The World Ends with You album cover art

The World Ends With You is a stylish, stylized cult-classic game with a brilliant soundtrack. Earlier this year, it made the news with the surprise announcement that it’s getting a sequel, thrilling the fans who have been dedicated to it since it came out in 2007. Musician and arranger Catboss. took the game’s emphasis on broadening your horizons and used that as inspiration for an 11-track homage, RE:Imagine, that is just as diverse and offbeat as the original.

You might like this album if: you have eclectic taste and enjoy a touch of jazz, a mix of instrumental and vocals, and a palette using both digital and analog sounds.

Listen to RE:IMAGINE >>


Funky Dealings album cover art

Another cult-classic game, Jet Set Radio is like nothing else out there. Its graffiti-driven gameplay and colorful graphics left an indelible mark on the imaginations of an entire generation of musicians and artists, and the soundtrack by Hideki Naganuma is just as influential. Funky Dealings distills what fans love about the Jet Set Radio soundtrack into its most concentrated form: three tracks inspired by hip-hop, punk rock, and chiptune. It’s a funky, friendly, high-energy EP pulling not only from the original but also from arranger Ronin Op F’s own diverse musical interests. We dare you to listen to Funky Dealings without smiling.

You might like this album if: you like upbeat, funky music; you’re interested in a fusion of chiptune and hip-hop; you love a graffiti-inspired aesthetic.

Listen to Funky Dealings >>

towards the sun

Towards the Sun album cover art

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Towards the Sun aims to take the viewer on a sonic — and emotional — journey through more somber territory. A concept album following the story of charming but melancholy indie darling OneShot, Towards the Sun by BillyTheBard11th blends low-fi electronica and progressive metal in beautiful but unexpected ways. The original soundtrack by Nightmargin is as dramatic as the game deserves, and Towards the Sun brings new depth to these 11 tracks with chuggy guitars, ethereal ambient soundscapes, and so much more.

You might like this album if: you’re a metalhead looking for something different; you’re a fan of electronic/instrumental fusion; you like moody, atmospheric music.

Listen to Towards the Sun >>

Another World Symphony

Another World Symphony album cover art

You may not have played the cinematic 1991 adventure game Another World (Out of This World in North America) yourself, but you’ve almost certainly played games that drew inspiration from it. Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear) and Fumito Ueda (ICO) are just a few of the most well-known developers who cite its influence on their games. In Another World Symphony, Rich Douglas reimagines the game’s soundtrack based on the definitive Sega CD release, blending traditional orchestration with synthesizers and an avant-garde approach. It’s a deep cut, but Another World Symphony is definitely worth your time.

You might like this album if: you’re a game historian or collector interested in groundbreaking games of the past; you like cinematic scores that take you through a story.

Listen to Another World Symphony >>

Sleep Mode

Sleep Mode album cover art

Whether you’re trying to inspire the next generation of game enthusiasts or just looking for a restful night’s sleep yourself, the lullabies on Sleep Mode are a respite from the stresses of the world. Inspired by her experiences as a mother herself, SonikBuster has reimagined six tracks from Undertale, Kingdom Hearts, Ori and the Blind Forest, and more with original lyrics and soothing vocals. It’s a sweet little album that’s a bit different from the more bombastic video game covers that tend to dominate the scene.

You might like this album if: you’re a gamer parent; you enjoy music that helps you unwind; you’re a fan of vocal albums; you want something low-key.

Listen to Sleep Mode >>

UNDERTALE: Strings of determination

Strings of Determination album cover art

String Player Gamer made a name for himself creating full orchestral arrangements featuring himself (in duplicate) on violin, but he quickly expanded his repertoire to incorporate heavier instrumentation, and UNDERTALE: Strings of Determination shows him at his best. The centerpiece is, as always, his brilliant electric violin performance — but this massive 46-track album packs a punch thanks to electric guitar, synth, and drums. As fits the UNDERTALE soundtrack, the arrangements are sometimes heavy, sometimes delicate, but always lovely, and your favorites are almost certainly on this album.

You might like this album if: you appreciate a little symphony in your rock and metal; you know and love the sound of an electric violin; you like UNDERTALE arrangements with some power.

Listen to UNDERTALE: Strings of Determination >>

Hang on to Your Hat

Hang on to Your Hat album cover art

This isn’t the first Super Mario 64 big-band jazz album out there — stylistically, it’s a natural fit for the original soundtrack — but Hang on to Your Hat by the Video Game Jazz Orchestra is one of the most ambitious and musically impressive takes in the genre. This is a bold claim that the album lives up to. With virtuosic live performances by Nashville legends, and extraordinary arrangements by long-time staples of the video game music scene, Hang on to Your Hat is a tour de force.

You might like this album if: you grew up with the Nintendo 64; you’re a swing dancer or just love the music; you love bold, brassy big-band arrangements; you can appreciate the brilliance and energy of live performance.

Listen to Hang on to Your Hat >>

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