Songs From Alternate Realities

Album cover from Wolfenstein: The New Order

Games create a world of their own. Sometimes, a world parallel to ours – and it is this little feature that lets us explore an artist’s take on “What ifs”, and the cultural impact that can happen because of that. This post is about one of those what ifs – the cultural impact on songs that can happen in alternate universes.
WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Bioshock: Infinite and Wolfenstein: The New Order. If you do not want these games spoiled, please do not continue reading.

Idea for the post –

I was playing Bioshock Infinite, enjoying a brief moment with no action at a beach when I suddenly heard a familiar tune.

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That is a Steam Organ cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”. My mind was blown – here I was – on a floating city in an alternate 1912 fighting racists and of all the places, I hear this song here. It makes the world feel more alive. Upon further investigation, I find out the following about the story –
Albert Fink, the composer of the songs within the game, has been listening to songs from other timelines/universes (the game has the concept of parallel timelines/universes that can be accessed though “tears”, likely within the space-time fabric), adjusting them for the time, and passing them off as their own. Think about it – Music plagarism across parallel universes.
Later, I actually found out  a tear through which the original Cyndi Lauper song can be heard.
Also within the game are several other songs, such as “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

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In case the original song appears familiar, that is because it has appeared in several other media, including Battlefield: Vietnam and Call of Duty: Black Ops.
As expected, the original can also be heard through a tear.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

The game is set in an alternate 1960, one where the Germans have won WW2. As can be seen in the trailer, a lot has changed according to the new timeline. I loved this game (it was in this –Top 10 Games of 2014), and loved the world that was crafted for it. There is also special emphasis on music – with what many suspect to be an alternate reality version of Jimi Hendrix to be one of the main characters of the story.

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Among the things that was added, were alternate reality versions of songs and bands. There are many such alternate reality versions of songs, complete with album art and artists. One of such songs is “Mond, Mond, Ja, Ja” by “Die Käfer (German for The Beatles)” – the album is titled “Das Blaue U-boot (The Blue U-Boat)”. The cover seems like a reference to the Abbey Road cover, and the name of the album is most probably a reference to the album Yellow Submarine.

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Lastly, I’d like to talk about the suspected alternate reality version of Jimmy Hendrix, J.
Jimmy Hendrix famously played “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, in what was considered by many as a statement against the order of the day.
In Wolfenstein: The New Order, J meets his fate while playing  “The Star-Spangled Banner”, in what can be considered his stand against the order of his day. It was a very powerful moment – up until that moment in the game J had been a vital part of the team, and he goes out on his feet, standing up in his own way.

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I find it awesome when the developers put in details like these to make the world more fleshed out and believable. It gives the alternate realities a back story – some event that is not directly seen in the game, but the influence of which can be felt in the game.
Let us know about your favourite alternate reality songs in the comment section below, and keep following this blog for more such posts.


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