The Xbox’s Custom Soundtracks Made Beach Volleyball Pretty Atmospheric

When I first acquired the original Xbox, I wasn’t particularly enthralled. It looked like the console equivalent of Mountain Dew. The controller was impossibly bulky, and the game library wasn’t very impressive.

But once I learned you could add custom soundtracks, I was won over completely.

The custom soundtrack feature made me fall in love with games I would have otherwise ignored. You haven’t played Tony Hawk until you’ve played it while listening to Tom Waits. When you’re jamming to The Mr. T Experience, Street Hoops is kind of magical.

doa xtreme beach volleyballAnd when you’ve got the right soundtrack, a fan service free-for-all can become a haunting exploration of video game sexuality.

I bought Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball at the same time as Lovage’s Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By, a concept album about sex, sex, and more sex. The lyrics are incredibly provocative, and the vocals are overwhelmingly sultry. For the most part, it’s tongue-in-cheek, but it occasionally gets a little spooky.

Lovage and Xtreme Beach Volleyball seemed like a natural fit, but the two were better together than I ever could have imagined. When juxtaposed against the album’s relentlessly sexy lyrics, the over-the-top fan service felt like some kind of commentary.

Bikini-clad ladies cavorted to the sounds of trip-hop and simulated orgasms. Adorable girls rolled around on the beach as a deep-voiced singer demanded to be used like Listerine. I had stumbled into a strange yet sensual wonderland.

Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By is the soundtrack that Xtreme Beach Volleyball was meant to have. Team Ninja took the exploitative elements of the Dead or Alive series and turned them up to eleven, and in doing so, they created something fascinating.

Yes, it’s about dress-up and boob physics, but there’s more to it than that. It’s a playful deconstruction of DOA‘s extremes; a compelling examination of the urges we feel towards fictional characters, however unrealistic they may be.

Dead or Alive Beach VolleyballIt’s a pretty good volleyball game too.

Xbox’s custom soundtracks had a transformative quality. They could make a by-the-numbers title feel like an epic adventure. They could make racing games gutwrenchingly intense, and could turn ordinary sports games into addictive masterpieces.

And they could turn a silly simulator into the surreal Shangri-la of swimsuit games.

About The Author