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All Genres Weird & Wonderful: Nintendocore

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Following on from the rather curious world of Vaporwave, Kelly Doherty continues to scour the world’s sub-genres so that you can sound informed at hipster dinner parties with minimal effort. This month: Nintendocore

Name: Nintendocore

Origins: The 8-bit Nintendo games of the 80s – think Super Mario, Zelda – combined with the angsty post-hardcore/metalcore that lights up the hearts of angry 15 year olds all over the world

How to use it in a sentence: “All my son does anymore is sit in his room listening to Nintendocore. Between that and his obsession with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as well as that awful side fringe he has, it’s no wonder he’s not making friends at school”.

Sounds like: Every Time I Die playing video games all night

It would be wholly inaccurate to suggest that Nintendocore is, in any way, a palatable genre. A combination of sugary sweet, repetitive, familiar 8 bit video game soundtracks and extremely heavy -core breakdowns and screamed/yelled vocals; for many Nintendocore sounds like a nightmare. Originating from indie rock band Autoclave’s 1991 cover of the theme tune of ‘Paperboy’, Nintendocore was a phrase coined by Horse The Band in regards to their 2000 debut album, Secret Rhythm of The Universe. Horse The Band are by far the best known and most reliable of the scene, having released five reasonably critically acclaimed albums.

Whilst, initially, it’s quite difficult to see the appeal of Nintendocore, after a while, it’s easier to understand. The back catalogue of Horse The Band is nerdy, goofy fun. To your average early teens metalcore listener, the sub-genre serves as a novelty which breaks up the monotony of metalcore without losing the all important angst. To the somewhat nerdier fans, Nintendocore’s songs provide deeply layered back stories for their favourite game characters and have some greater meaning that us plebeians could never hope to understand. It’s music that knows its limited audience and is all the better in its way for that.

Once you go down the rabbit hole of Nintendocore, you find yourself in a slightly more interesting place than the standard metalcore fare. British electronic duo You Love Her Coz She’s Dead’s 2011 self-titled album is bombastic, brash, dumb fun which benefits from lacking the generic breakdowns and metal tropes of their Nintendocore compatriots. A quick scout around the old Blogspot downloading scene of a few years back uncovers hundreds of blogs dedicated to 8-bit focused music ranging from standard Nintendocore to 8bit pop punk, hip-hop, grindcore and so on until my favourite sub-genre name of all time -‘br00tal chiptune’.

I won’t claim to understand Nintendocore – as a very casual connoisseur of both video games and metal core, I am not the target audience. However, if you’re looking for something a little less serious to soundtrack a ‘Metalcore Retro Gamers’ house party, Nintendocore fills the role. If you don’t fit into that category, you should probably stick to your indie rock collection.

Essential Records:

Horse The Band – The Mechanical Hand

The Advantage – Elf-Titled

The NESkimos – Battle – Perfect Selection