Top 10 PC Game Music Covers and Remixes of 2020

A picture of Musical notes

This year we continue the tradition of dedicating a Top 10 list to covers and remixes of PC game music. With respect to AAA titles this is probably irrelevant (as they are often multi-platform anyway) but when it comes to good ol' DOS and Amiga games or indie PC games, well they tend to get left by the wayside.

How the list was made

This year, I scoured the Internet for PC game music covers and remixes and came up with 43 to choose from. This list was compiled from various sources including OCRemix, Remix64 as well as several YouTube channels. While this list is by no means an exhaustive one, it at least gives people a taste of what awesome PC game music remixes and covers are out there (if I've missed any released in 2020, be sure to mention them in the comments).

I applied a 0-2 scale scoring system, similar to what has been employed previously and also similar to our other Top 10 features. These are what each of the scores represent:

  • 0 = remix that didn't resonate with me and I couldn't get into it. Usually because I'm not a fan of the source material or I don't really recognise it.
  • 1 = remix that is good, worth a listen and can be appreciated for its technical merit.
  • 2 = My favourites of the bunch. Ones I'm likely to listen to again and again. Remixes I'd want my friends to listen to.

9 tracks achieved a score of 2 this time, meaning I had to pick one track with a score of 1 to join the ranks of the Top 10. Any remaining tracks with a score of 1 were included in the Honourable Mentions list below.

So, I present to you the Top 10 PC Game Covers and Remixes of 2020 as ranked by Choicest Games!

Honourable Mentions

We're all Falling (Lemmings) by about:blank
Rytlock's Super Critter Rave (Guild Wars 2) by Paper Coelacanth
Devil's Lament (DOOM) by Lashmush
Tomorrow's Starting (Stardew Valley) by Michael Hudak
Tale of the Tongues (Skyrim) by Malukah
A Pirate I Was Meant To Be (The Curse of Monkey Island) by Yffisch
Majestic 12 (Deus Ex) by Mothership Loudspeakerz
Welcome to a Kick In the Pants in Good Old Hillville (Commander Keen 4) by BG Oliie
Sweden (Minecraft) by Game Music Collective
Supremacy remake (will be done mix) (Supremacy) by Dj Space
Dyna Blaster ingame (Dynablaster) by Odkin

#10 Dragonborn Concerto (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Source: Dragonborn
Original Artist(s): Jeremy Soule
Remix/Cover Title: Dragonborn Concerto
Artist(s): Mazedude feat. Dhsu

Mazedude (Christopher Lee Getman) is a well-known and respected remixer in the OCRemix community. I've been listening to his remixes for quite some time and he's currently got 76 remixes to his name (according to his OCRemix page) and this is across a period of 20 years. His remixes tend to take the source material in wildly different directions and this is also the case with this remix based off the very well known Skyrim theme called "Dragonborn".

Remixer Dhsu (David Hsu) provides a beautiful piano accompaniment to what is mainly a distorted, chiptune take on the Skyrim theme and strangely enough, it works pretty well. I think the fact that this remix comes so far out of leftfield is to its credit as I've heard plenty of Skyrim covers and remixes in the past that try to take it from a synth orchestral or metal angle and they often don't work. This remix does.

As Mazedude explains, this track is the opening track on his album called "American Pixels" containing remixes that honours American video game composers. Dhsu performed the piano part on a real grand piano as Mazedude couldn't get the mix right when using an electronic keyboard solo.

Thanks to OCRemix for hosting these videos (and curating the music of course).

#9 T-Spin (Tetris)

Game: Tetris
Source: A-Type (Korobeiniki)
Original Artist(s): Hirokazu Tanaka
Remix/Cover Title: T-Spin
Artist(s): Schtiffles

While this particular remix is based off a track that was released on the Gameboy version of Tetris, I'm willing to let the rule slide since technically, Tetris was released on the PC first! The original theme called "A-Type" is actually based off a Russian folk song called Korobeiniki, which is appropriate considering Tetris is a Russian game after all.

"A-Type" from Tetris is a track that has been remixed numerous times so why did I pick this particular remix to the list? Well, you can never have too many Tetris remixes in my books and this one is suitably fast-paced while the lead track acknowledges its Slavic roots. According to the OCRemix write-up on the track it also has elements of Big Beat in the track which was one of my favourite genres back in my younger days. Praise is also given to the lead/melody part that carries "most of the arrangement in terms of development" and its "altering timings, added harmonies and adaptation to different chords in sequence".

#8 ASGORE – Metal Cover (Undertale)

Game: Undertale
Source: ASGORE
Original Artist(s): Toby Fox
Remix/Cover Title: Undertale: ASGORE || Metal Cover
Artist(s): RichaadEB

RichaadEB once again makes his way onto the list! While metal covers of video game music are a dime a dozen, RichaadEB picks some real gems to cover and in some cases make them sound better than the original (as was the case with his excellent cover of Hotline Miami's "Miami Disco" back in 2018).

This time, RichaadEB covers music from one of the most popular indie games in recent years: Undertale. This particular cover is of ASGORE's theme and plays during one of the final boss battles in the game. The original soundtrack goes for a chiptune feel but it seems to really benefit from the metal treatment, and metal covers of video game music don't always hit the mark: this one, however, does.

RichaadEB decided to cover Undertale to commemorate its 5th anniversary (can't believe the game is already 5 years old)!

If you like what you hear, RichaadEB has his music on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon and Deezer.

#7 Carrier Command – 2020 Edit (Carrier Command)

Game: Carrier Command
Source: Main Theme
Original Artist(s): Dave Lowe
Remix/Cover Title: Carrier Command (2020 Edit)
Artist(s): Dr Future

Volker Buckow (aka Dr Future) hails from Hamburg, Germany and is apparently a big fan of Commodore 64 and Amiga music, so much so that he has many retro video game remixes if you ever happen to visit Remix64.

Now, I never really played much in the way of Commodore 64 games, nor Amiga games (unless they were ported onto DOS) but I did gain an appreciation for Dave Lowe's music after listening to his work on Frontier: Elite II and eventually backing his Kickstarter project to release an album full of covers and remixes of his work. The result, called "A Temporal Shift", is now one of my favourite video game music albums and scored a 9/10 here on Choicest Games.

Anyway, one of the tracks on "A Temporal Shift" was a modern take on the theme from "Carrier Command", a 1988 PC game where you control a robotic aircraft carrier. The track just oozes 80s nostalgia and a live recording of the track was distributed with the original game on a cassette tape… you can't get more 80s than that!

Dr Future's take on the "Carrier Command" theme doesn't take any huge risks and stays fairly true to the original source material, but it's a much appreciated remix all the same, complete with wailing guitar solos. If you like what you hear and want more retro video game music remixes, check out Dr Future's YouTube Channel or Remix64 page.

#6 City of Lost Things (Earthworm Jim)

Game: Earthworm Jim
Source: Junkit
Original Artist(s): Tommy Tallarico
Remix/Cover Title: City of Lost Things
Artist(s): Justin Lassen

Earthworm Jim, despite its popularity as a TV series, wasn't the sort of game I'd normally play as it's a platformer but I seem to recall getting this game as a freebie which is how I ended up playing the game and experiencing its fantastic soundtrack by Tommy Tallarico.

There are a couple of memorable tracks that I reckon are worthy of remixing and "Junkit" is one of them. This is Justin Lassen's first remix to feature on OCRemix giving the source material a dark, badass feel to it. It reminds me of some of Depeche Mode's more industrial stuff. Justin created this track as a homage to Tommy Tallarico who has been his friend for around 20 years.

Judges at OCRemix were impressed by its "cinematic/industrial vibe", "its industrial badassness with a smooth spy flair" and the "production value" and "great transitions".

#5 Oakvale - Gingertail Cover (Fable: The Lost Chapters)

Game: Fable: The Lost Chapters
Source: Oakvale
Original Artist(s): Russel Shaw
Remix/Cover Title: Fable: The Lost Chapters - Oakvale (Gingertail Cover)
Artist(s): Alina Gingertail

Alina Gingertail is a talented musician from Russia that has covered music from video games, TV shows and movies over the past several years on her YouTube channel. She now has over a million subscribers and my favourite video of hers (which is also her most popular with over 7 million views) is a hilarious cover of the "Soviet March" from the Red Alert 3 soundtrack. She tends to focus on traditional instruments such as guitars, banjos, balalaikas, accordions and flutes, which means she's particularly well suited for performing covers of music from fantasy games and one such game is Fable: The Lost Chapters.

The original track plays while exploring the idyllic town your character grows up in called Oakvale. Alina does a fantastic job at recreating this iconic theme employing multiple wind, string and percussion instruments (including a wooden frog) to bring it to life; she even lends her voice to the track too, making this a nostalgic, magical aural journey back to Albion.

If you're interested in more covers by Alina Gingertail you can check her out on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Amazon.

#4 Intro Theme Cover by @banjoguyollie (Maniac Mansion)

Game: Maniac Mansion
Source: Intro Theme
Original Artist(s): Christopher Grigg and David H. Lawrence
Remix/Cover Title: Maniac Mansion - Intro Theme cover by @banjoguyollie
Artist(s): Banjo Guy Ollie

What I love about Banjo Guy Ollie is that he tends to perform covers on some of the more retro PC games out there, PC games that I grew up on in the 80s and 90s. In 2020, he didn't disappoint since there's not only one of his covers that made this top 10 list but two!

This is a cover of the intro theme to the 1987 Lucasarts PC point ‘n' click adventure Maniac Mansion. While the original track consisted nothing more than PC Speaker bleeps and bloops, Banjo Guy Ollie has really given us a unique take on this cover by incorporating a banjo, an accordion along with different types of guitars.

Anyway, if you like what you hear, check out Banjo Guy Ollie's YouTube channel. He's also on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer and Google Play.

#3 Acting on Instinct (Command & Conquer)

Game: Command & Conquer
Source: Act on Instinct
Original Artist(s): Frank Klepacki
Remix/Cover Title: Acting on Instinct
Artist(s): Mike Norvak

Miguel Ángel Ramírez López (aka Mike Norvak) has contributed a few remixes to OCRemix over the past few years but I only really took notice of his last remix that was uploaded to the site, a remix of "Act on Instinct", one of my favourite tracks from the classic Westwood Studios RTS Command & Conquer. It's probably no coincidence that the remastered versions of Command & Conquer and Red Alert were both released in 2020 as these releases would've surely inspired an uptake in C&C remixes (or so you would think).

The original track is an iconic piece of PC game music, probably because it's the first track you'll hear as you storm the beaches in the first GDI mission (GDI stands for Global Defense Initiative: one of the factions you can play as in the game).

The track has a funky start with a solid beat and samples the line from the original: "we're going to have to act, if we want to live in a different world". It continues to use other samples throughout such as quotes from the GDI Commander. At 1:58 we get my favourite sequence in the original asserting itself and despite the remix being heavier on the synths it still maintains the same character.

The judges at OCRemix thought the track was a "dark, dystopian, sample-laden industrial/EDM take" on the original. They praised the "fun assortment of synths with differing expressions" and "an attention to subtle reverb and envelope effects".

#2 Bald Monkey at Barbery Coast (The Curse of Monkey Island)

Game: The Curse of Monkey Island
Source: The Barbery Coast
Original Artist(s): Michael Land and Peter McConnell
Remix/Cover Title: Bald Monkey at Barbery Coast
Artist(s): Yffisch

Kristofer Yffen (aka Yffisch) has featured previously in these posts and he doesn't fail to deliver this year either. As mentioned before, he seems to have a love of performing instrumental covers of music from the Monkey Island series and this year he released a video of him performing his cover of one of the best tracks from the third Monkey Island game that plays when you visit a barber shop called "The Barbery Coast" (geddit?).

I love the fact that the covers by Yffisch have this authentic feel to them thanks to his use of traditional instruments such as the accordion, flute and clarinet. According to the OCRemix post for this cover, the title of the remix is actually a reference to the fact that Yffisch himself is bald and also a programmer or "code monkey". He comments that the music from The Curse of Monkey Island was a bit more "advanced" and therefore challenging to cover, but after two weeks he managed to pull it off.

The judges at OCRemix appreciated the cover saying that like Yffisch's previous work the track has a "flowing, very spontaneous vibe" to it. Another judge commented on something I too came to realise in that The Curse of Monkey Island, unlike the previous two games, uses recorded audio instead of MIDI, which means the game already had a soundtrack with live instruments. I agree with the judges at OCRemix though that despite his cover sounding very similar to the source material he still manages to inject his own personality into the arrangement and performance. This is a real treat for Monkey Island fans.

If you want to see Yffisch's original music video, you can find it here.

#1 Ultima VI Boot and Intro Themes @banjoguyollie (Ultima VI)

Game: Ultima VI
Source: Bootup (Can't Remove the Pain) and Intro (Fall Leaves)
Original Artist(s): Todd Porter
Remix/Cover Title: Ultima VI Boot and Intro Themes @banjoguyollie
Artist(s): Banjo Guy Ollie

We finally come to the number one PC game music cover/remix on this list and again this cover is performed by Banjo Guy Ollie. What makes this cover special is that the source features on the soundtrack of one of the most memorable PC RPGs of my youth: Ultima VI: The False Prophet. He has created a medley that incorporates both the Bootup theme (known as "Can't Remove the Pain") and the Intro theme (known as "Fall Leaves"). Banjo Guy Ollie picked this theme because he has fond memories of booting up the game as a teenager just to listen to the game's intro music and I don't blame him. Thanks to his use of real instruments including a banjo, accordion and drums, fans of Ultima can now appreciate this old MIDI classic in a new way, and in a way that I believe is superior to the original.

Anyway, if you like what you hear, check out Banjo Guy Ollie's YouTube channel. He's also on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer and Google Play.

So, what do you think about the list? Did you enjoy any of these tracks? Are there any choicest VGM remixes or covers that I missed in 2020? Make sure to leave a comment.