Nintendocore has been around since the early 2000s. Since then, it has risen in popularity to become an established music genre. Broadly defined, Nintendocore music combines chiptune and video game music with heavy metal, hardcore punk, and various other rock music styles.


The Origins of Nintendocore Music

The Ninetendocore genre started with bands like Horse the Band, The NESkimos, An Albatross, and Minibosses in the early 2000s. Another Nintendocore pioneer worth noting is the instrumental rock band The Advantage, as the group was largely responsible for bringing video game music into the mainstream spotlight.

Horse the Band’s frontman Nathan Winneke first coined the term Nintendocore as a joke. Since the name caught on, members of Horse the Band have actually tried to distance themselves from the name of Nintendocore because they believe it cheapens their music.

The Characteristics of Nintendocore Music

Generally, Nintendocore features electric guitars, drum kits, and other standard rock instruments alongside synthesizers, 8-bit sounds, and chiptunes. Although hardcore punk and heavy metal are at the forefront of Nintendocore music, a diverse range of genres can fit into Nintedocore, including metalcore, post-hardcore, post-rock, noise rock, electro, and screamo. Therefore, the actual stylistics of Nintendocore can vary greatly. To give you a good idea of how variable the Nintendocore genre can be, here are some of the most highly regarded Nintendocore bands and artists of the modern-day.

Bokusatsu Shoujo Koubou

撲殺少女工房, known as Bokusatsu Shoujo Koubou in English, is a hardcore-techno and chiptune artist. He uses so many different types of video game samples, that you will be hard pushed to identify a lot of them. As his repertoire continues to grow, he could soon be using sounds from a オンラインカジノ(online casino) too.

Foxxy Dekay

The Swiss artist Foxxy Dekay combines chiptune, ambient, experimental, glitch, noise, and breakcore with 8-bit Gameboy sounds to create a unique sound that you will not hear anywhere else.


The American instrumental metal band Powerglove is most well-known for playing metal versions of classic video game theme tunes. The group is named after the NES’ Power Glove controller.

Precursors to Nintendocore Music

Nintendocore music may have only arrived in the twenty-first century, but using video game sounds in popular music dates all the way back to the late 1970s when synthpop group Yellow Magic Orchestra sampled sounds from Space Invaders in their 1978 self-titled album. Soon after, other artists and bands began using video game sounds in their songs, such as the pop group Buckner & Garcia, who was the first band to record a whole album about video games. Their 1982 Pac-Man Fever album contained tracks like Do the Donkey Kong. But when it comes to rock bands, the first to use video game music was indie rock group Autoclave, with their 1990 cover of the theme song from the classic game Paperboy. The second rock band to cover video games was Mr. Bungle. The band would often play a cover version of the Super Mario Bros. theme, and the group also sampled sounds from video games on its self-titled 1991 album.

Nintendocore Bands to Check Out

If you are dipping your toe into Nintendocore music for the first time, begin by checking out the pioneers of the genre Horse the Band, The NESkimos, An Albatross, Minibosses, and The Advantage. But there are plenty of others to check out too, such as:

·   Crystal Castles

·   The Depreciation Guild

·   Hella

·   I Fight Dragons

·   Karate High School

·   Math the Band

·   The Megas

·   The Octopus Project

·   Rolo Tomassi

·   Sky Eats Airplane

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.