Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The enduring appeal of Robocop for Game Boy’s sad, shimmering theme song

Rarely can a film’s video game adaptation say it improved upon the film from which it drew inspiration, but the 1989 Game Boy version of Robocop, Paul Verhoeven’s ultra-violent genre classic, has at least one thing on its source material: An unforgettable theme song. No shade to Basil Poledouris’ score, but the game’s opening notes—you can hear them above—evoke a luminous, yet mournful, atmosphere from moment one.

Despite the game barely making a dent in the zeitgeist, the song itself has oddly persevered. Its latest resurgence came a few nights ago when comedian Mike Drucker drunkenly took to Twitter to ignite a conversation about the best video game music. It wasn’t long before writer Joshua Topolsky recalled the theme, which he went on to write about for The Outline.


But it’s not just nostalgia keeping the theme alive. A 2012 Kotaku article on the song details how it’s been used in a U.K. washing machine commercial and remixed for a slice of Dilbert slash fiction, the latter of which was then sampled by ubiquitous rapper Lil B.

Add to that several more YouTube covers. Here’s a few:

And then somebody had to go and sync fucking “All Star” with it.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.