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For record labels, video games and music are a match made in target-audience heaven. EA Sports pushes major-label names in rock and hip-hop on the company's yearly Madden and NBA updates, and Tony Hawk games sport underground punk and metal soundtracks, but while those are somewhat appropriate, this week's latest music-in-games development comes off as a bit odd.
2K Games' Major League Baseball 2K6, out in stores this week, has given its soundtrack duties to Matador Records. Home run derbies with Belle & Sebastian, bullpen check-ups with Pretty Girls Make Graves, 4-6-3 double plays turned psychedelic by Yo La Tengo -- they're all there. The lonely-record-collector-bastard songs don't seem steroid-pumped enough for MLB action, but you gotta admire 2K Games' willingness to push indie music on seventh-inning stretchers. So listen up, game makers -- here are more weird-ass suggestions in light of Matador's unexpected coup.
Super Mario Bros.: Jam bands like String Cheese Incident, Phish, and the Grateful Dead . . . you expected Italian singers? Mario eats mushrooms and flowers that make him grow huge and get caught on fire. He fights lizards and talks to mushroom-shaped people. His dream girl is Princess Toadstool. I'm already on a level-3 trip.
Paperboy: Cypress Hill.
Pac Man: Drum 'n' bass songs by Photek, Aphrodite, Goldie, and Grooverider would be as rave-worthy a companion to Pac-Man's colorful, pill-eating world and ghost-fighting hallucinations as a water bottle and an insecure girl who wants to touch you "alllll over your body."
Tetris: Bloc Party.
Dance Dance Revolution: For the special "emo" edition of the popular rhythm-stepping game, Yellowcard, Dashboard Confessional, and Taking Back Sunday deliver painful stories about being lonely and full of feelings. Unfortunately, players plug in their dance pad, listen to the songs, stand there and do nothing but cry, thus losing the game every time.