Stoner Rock

Stoner Rock in Video Games

Rock and Metal have a rich history inside video games—a history that spans well beyond the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises. Even in the days of chiptune soundtracks, video games latched onto the heavier side of the music industry. 1989’s Holy Diver, for example, had characters named after Ozzy and Dio. Later, as games and audio progressed, the soundtracks became heavier and darker. When Doom released at the end of 1993, one of the elements that helped it stand out in the market (besides the hellfire and gore) was a Metal soundtrack. In 1995, Twisted Metal offered even heavier music to accompany burning cars and Molotov cocktails.

As Rock and Metal have grown more popular alongside video games in general, they’ve made bigger and wider appearances in video game soundtracks. This has paved the way for bands in the Stoner Rock scene to win a few appearances as well. 

Roundup: Times When Stoner Rock Appeared in Video Games

Here are a few moments when Stoner Rock appeared in video games—outside of rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band (Editor’s note: This list is far from complete. If you’d like us to add something, leave a comment or send us an email!): 

Various Artists – StoneRPG

StoneRPG is an homage to all that is Stoner Rock. StoneRPG starts in Stoneria, a land where farmers binge on Rock and Metal. But there’s a problem: A government official announces noise ordinances and refuses to allow construction on any new music venues. The main character is the chosen one, as prophesied by none other than Saint Vitus (yes, that Saint Vitus). The plan is to include many other musicians and bands throughout the story and the chiptune soundtrack. Unfortunately, the game is still in development and no release date is in sight yet. The developer is Tom Geddes who, incidentally, also helped to launch Riffpedia back in the day. 

Clutch – Various Games

Full disclosure: We’ve spent a lot of time arguing why Clutch isn’t Stoner Rock anymore, regardless of their enormous influence across the genre. Still, we’d be remiss not to include them on this list, especially since one of their older staples—”Impetus”—is on here. Here’s a list of video games Clutch has appeared in: 

  • Tony Hawk’s Underground – “Impetus”
  • Backyard Wrestling 2 – “The Mob Goes Wild”
  • Hitman: Contracts – “Immortal”
  • Need for Speed: ProStreet – “Power Player”
  • MotorStorm: Pacific Rift – “Pure Rock Fury”
  • MX vs. ATV Reflex – “Burning Beard”
  • Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage – “Electric Worry”
  • APB: All Points Bulletin – “Mercury”
  • Need for Speed: No Limits – “Crucial Velocity”
  • Prey – “Electric Worry”
  • Far Cry 5 – “The Mob Goes Wild”

Mastodon – Various Games

The Atlanta, GA-based quartet is known for its eclectic blend of styles, incorporating Progressive Metal, Heavy Metal, Sludge Metal, and (of course) Stoner Rock into its albums. Their ear for writing heavy but catchy tunes has earned notice from many different developers and publishers over the years. Here’s a quick (and perhaps incomplete) list of video games Mastodon has appeared in:

  • Tony Hawk’s Underground – “Crusher/Destroyer”
  • Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland – “Iron Tusk”
  • NHL 2K9 – “Iron Tusk”
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted – “Blood and Thunder”
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 – “Blood and Thunder”
  • Splatterhouse – “Blood and Thunder”
  • Saints Row – “Blood and Thunder”
  • Saints Row 2 – “Colony of Birchmen”

Fu Manchu – Various Games

One of the oldest and longest-running acts from the original Desert Scene, Fu Manchu is Stoner Rock royalty. With such a long and illustrious history, they have earned themselves plenty of video game credits over the years, especially in games that involve boards—skateboarding and snowboarding.

  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – “Evil Eye”
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 – “Evil Eye”
  • Cool Boarders 2001 – “Evil Eye”
  • Tony Hawk’s Underground – “California Crossing”
  • SSX on Tour – “I Can’t Hear You”
  • The Bigs – “Hung Out to Dry”
  • Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground – “We Must Obey”
  • Stuntman: Ignition – “Hell on Wheels”
  • The Bigs 2 – “Knew It All Along” and “Shake It Loose”

Monster Magnet – Various Games

With the success of Powertrip in 1998 (the album went Gold), Monster Magnet enjoyed mainstream success. Dedicated to blending ‘70s Hard Rock with Metal, Space Rock, Psychedelia, and catchy hooks, Monster Magnet has built an entire catalog worthy of owning the background in video game car chases and fight sequences. Here’s a quick look at some of the games they’ve been featured in:

  • MotorStorm – “Powertrip”
  • Road Rash – “Dinosaur Vacuum”
  • American Chopper – “Space Lord”
  • Spacelords – “Space Lord”

Fireball Ministry – WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006 

Fireball Ministry has a special place in our hearts (you can catch our interview with them here), so it’s always nice to see them win appreciation from others. Fireball Ministry’s “The Broken” was featured in WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006 for the PS2. If you haven’t heard it before, “The Broken” is the third track on the band’s 2005 release, Their Rock is Not Our Rock, and features some of their catchiest guitar riffs outside of 2010’s Fireball Ministry.

Karma to Burn – NASCAR 2001 

As this list has already demonstrated, video games in the sports realm love the catchier, radio-friendly side of Stoner Rock and its related genres. Nascar 2001 for the PS2 actually picked up to tracks from Karma to Burn—”29” and “32.” For those who haven’t heard Karma to Burn before, the band is known for being primarily instrumental (with the occasional guest vocalist) and numbering their songs instead of naming them.

Sasquatch – NHL 2K6

With heavy, fuzzy, warm tones and thicky, churning riffs, Sasquatch has a rare, winning combination of Stoner Rock qualities that deserves wider recognition from the entire music community. Their Hard Rock roots and southern tinge have earned them soundtrack credits on TV shows like Sons of Anarchy and Dog the Bounty Hunter, but they also appeared in NHL 2K6 with tracks 6 and 7 from their debut album: “Cracks in the Pavement” and “Money Man.” 

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