I love video game music. Tracks from my favorite games get me pumped whether I'm playing them, driving around town, or hanging out with friends. Video game tunes are also make for amazing workout motivation. Last Sunday I ran in the annual Twin Cities Marathon, and I don't think I could've finished without a playlist of some of the most rousing, inspiring video game music I know.

The race started at 8:00am in crisp 30 degree weather. My knee has been bugging me on and off for the last month or so, which interfered with my training for the race. I was little apprehensive starting out those first few miles. Around mile five I settled into a steady pace and the kinks in my joints stopped creaking. For the first few miles of the race I kept my headphones out and music off because I was trying to meet up and run with a friend (texting and running is hard). I enjoyed the serenity of the run and the rhythmic thrum of the other runners' feet that I decided to hold off on music. Then I decided I was going to earn the privilage of music by waiting to pop in my earbuds until I hit a literal milestone. Prior to the race the furthest I had ever ran was 16 miles, and I was determined to hold out on music until mile 17.

I was excited upon seeing the mile 17 marker for several reason. One, I was excited to to tape a troublesome toe to stop an impending blister dead in its tracks.  Two, I wanted to pop some Ibuprofen to trick my body into completing the final nine-mile stretch. Finally, I busted out the earbuds and tossed on a playlist I originally pulled together for furious ping pong matches against Game Informer video producer Ben Hanson. Each of these songs played a key role in helping me slog past the finish line:

"One-Winged Angel" - Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

"Pokémon Main Theme" - Super Smash Bros. Brawl

"Gourmet Race" - Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Duke Nukem Grabbag Theme

"Sonic 2 Boss Music" - Sonic Generations

"Main Theme" - Bionic Commando: Rearmed

"Goldenaxe Battlefield" - Megadriver

"Metal Gear Solid Theme" - Metal Gear Solid

"Decisive Battle Remix" - Final Fantasy VI

"Mike Tyson's Punch Out!" - Minibosses

Castlevania Travel Demon Medley

"Guile's Theme" - Super Street Figher II Turbo HD Remix

"Ballad of Little Slugger" - Super Meat Boy

Mega Man 2 - Wily Stage 1 Dynamic Remix

Courtyard Remix - Mortal Kombat

Special Stage Music - Sonic Colors DS

"Battle Scene" - Final Fantasy I

"Main Theme" - Terminator 2 (Technically not video game music, but it makes everything you do feel super important)

"Opened Way" - Shadow of the Colossus

I just want to note that this is the music I finished my first marathon to. It is easily some of the most dire, epic music that I have ever had the pleasure to murder my body to. If I'm ever stupid enough to attempt 26.2 miles again, I think I could listen to this on loop the entire time and beat everyone.