Some bands feature singing, such as The Depreciation Guild, whose frontman Kurt Feldman provides "ethereal" and "tender vocals," and The Megas, who write lyrics that mirror video game storylines. Others, such as Horse the Band and Math the Band, add screamed vocals into the mix. But yet other groups are strictly instrumental, such as Minibosses, and The Advantage. While otherwise diverse, all Nintendocore groups "use specific instruments to mimic the sounds of Nintendo games."
History and notable artists (Early 1990s-present)
Although video game music started much earlier in genres like chiptune and bitpop, the first known band to cover a video game song was the all-female indie rock group Autoclave with their cover of the theme song from the popular video game Paperboy off of their self-titled debut 1991 album. The second group in existence to be known to cover a video game song was the band Mr. Bungle, with their live cover of the Super Mario Bros. theme song, which was a regular staple throughout their 1990's live concert setlist. Mr. Bungle also sampled sounds from video games off their debut album from 1991. The term Nintendocore was later initiated by the metalcore group Horse the Band, whose frontman originally coined the term "Nintendocore" as a joke. At present, the group has released five studio albums in the Nintendocore style, starting with 2000's Secret Rhythm of the Universe.
The rock group Minibosses "are one of the most well-established bands in the Nintendocore genre, with an impressive roster of covers including Contra, Double Dragon, Excitebike," and other video game themes. The band is from Phoenix, Arizona, and is known as one of the primary representatives of Nintendo rock, performing at various video game expositions. In addition to covers, the band has also produced original work.The Harvard Crimson refers to Minibosses as "sworn rivals" of The NESkimos, another Nintendocore practitioner.
The 2007 debut album by The Depreciation Guild, In Her Gentle Jaws has been referred to as Nintendocore by Pitchfork Media. The website wrote that "In Her Gentle Jaws sticks its neck out further than Nintendocore staples like The Advantage or Minibosses", and that the album's instrumental title track "could plausibly come from an NES cartridge."