Top Ten 8-Bit Cover Tunes

[More listomania courtesy special correspondent, Brent Chittenden. – AC]

Growing up in the 80’s, I grew up with a Nintendo. To this day, I feel that some of the best video games ever made were for that 8-bit system. Sure I love Halo in its various incarnations, but Castlevania is still awesome.

But with people of my age group there has come this interesting trend on the internet to take popular music and turn it into 8-Bit cover versions. Radiohead, Metallica, Daft Punk have all been covered this way.

Interested? Here’s my top ten 8-Bit Cover tunes!

10) Metallica – “One”

The 8-bit version of this classic Metallica track would feel right at home in Castlevania or a Zelda game. [Could someone please do an 8-bit version of “Blackened?”  Thank you. – AC]


9) System of a Down – “Chop Suey”

Another song perfect for a combat game or top down shooter which, given System’s politics, is kind of ironic.


8) Michael Jackson – “Thriller”

Michael Jackson did have a video game called Moonwalker but this 8-Bit cover proves they went with the wrong song to game concept. Dancing around as zombie Michael Jackson, eating the towns folk, tell me you wouldn’t play it? Trivia note:  An unauthorized Zombie Thriller Jackson appeared in the popular game Plants vs Zombies for a while. It was replaced by a not nearly as cool Disco Zombie when the family complained.


7) Coldplay – “Clocks”

Not a huge Coldplay fan myself but the 8-Bit version of “Clocks” could probably fit in during many of the town segments in numerous Final Fantasy games.


6) Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Weirdly enough, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” becomes a perfect fit for a top down shooter like Ikari Warriors.


5) Devo – “Mongoloid”

This is one of those covers that makes a lot of sense in a weird way. Devo were always looking for a way to go weirder and sometimes more primitive. This works really well.


4) Guns N Roses – “Welcome To The Jungle”

It’s amazing that even de-evolved into a 8-bit, the beginning of “Welcome to the Jungle” is still one of the best openings to any song ever.


3) Queen – “Don’t Stop Me Now”

Would work perfectly with the end sequence of a Super Mario game.


2) The Pixies – “Where’s My Mind”

This should be during the credit sequence of every Nintendo adventure game. I mean it. Imagine you’re Link and you just polished off the final boss and this came on? Awesome!


1) Radiohead – Kid A (The entire album)

It was really hard to choose a number one… out of this. I think we could add this to the possible mysteries and conspiracies that swirl around Radiohead’s music. “Did Radiohead make Kid A as a soundtrack for a video game that was never actually made?” I just made that up but if you listen to the entire thing in 8-bit format, it could almost be believable.

Is there any songs we missed? Or maybe there are songs that should be turned into 8-Bit awesomeness. Please leave your comments below and we’ll see how this list might change in the future.

UPDATE:  Well, look at this.  Metallica and “Blackened,” 8-bit style.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Top Ten 8-Bit Cover Tunes

  • June 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I would love to hear a RHCP's song in 8-bit, maybe Can't Stop, or Give It Away. I think Stirptease by Hawksley Workman would be great as well.

  • June 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    This is awesome ! Showing my true geekdom – Bob Marley 'Waiting In Vain' in 8-bit is possibly the best thing I have heard.


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