Judging by these discs, the video-game industry is currently a lot healthier than the music business. Whereas songs were once used to attract video-game buyers, record execs are now using video games as bait in the hopes of selling CDs.
The three-disc Grand Theft Auto package features an introductory DVD of the game, but the real draw is its canny blend of vintage funk (James Brown, the Ohio Players) and hard-hitting hip-hop (Compton's Most Wanted, Slick Rick). Despite a few missteps -- what the hell is Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" doing here? -- the collection is nasty enough to justify its existence. Best of Video Game Music, a tie-in with the Video Game Awards sponsored by Spike TV, is more uneven. Tracks by acts as disparate as Blink-182, Mystikal and Elvis Presley are here not because they fit together, but because they turned up on the likes of Madden 2005.
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The marketing strategy behind these offerings seems dubious, since anyone who purchases the games in question already owns high-fidelity versions of the tunes they contain. But if label honchos were smart, their sales figures wouldn't be in the sewer. Score another one for the gamers.