Killer Cuts Was ‘90s Nintendo Failing To Be Cool

Image: Nintendo / Kotaku
Morning MusicMorning MusicSet your dial to Morning Music to enjoy friendly chat and great game music with other early risers. Coffee optional!

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s new, daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today’s aural treat (of sorts) is Nintendo’s 1995 freebie album Killer Cuts, which was the soundtrack to Minoru Arakawa’s illegal, underground raves.

If “game recognize game,” it follows that “nerd recognize nerd.” And as a nerd, I can tell you that no major 1990s video game company was as hopelessly uncool as Nintendo.

(Disclaimer: Nintendo and Sega were capitalist, corporate entities projecting false images through advertising to get people to buy products, and who gives a fuck if something’s “cool”... but hey! Let’s have fun with this.) 

...As I was saying, the really bad part was, Nintendo recognized its coolness deficit vis-à-vis Sega around 1993, 1994 and started trying to be cool. Trying. And if you’re obviously trying, you’re not cool. But suddenly Nintendo was announcing promotions with the Butthole Surfers, exhorting customers to “Play It Loud,” and releasing the cheesy-ass album Killer Cuts.

Very cool:

Nintendo / 8bitfirstold (YouTube)

Also cool and not excruciatingly awkward:

Nintendo / World of Nintendo (YouTube)

The coolest gamer trio you’ll ever meet:

Nintendo / World of Nintendo (YouTube)

(What the fuck was with those pretend NoA employees.)

Anyway, Killer Cuts. Rare’s relentlessly CGI-infused 1994 fighter Killer Instinct (longplay) was a hot ticket in arcades, and to promote the launch of the 1995 SNES port (longplay), Nintendo packed in a remixed soundtrack with the first 100,000 copies or thereabouts. That’s Killer Cuts (playlist / VGMdb), and it’s the sort of garish comedy music Nester, Birdo, Little Mac, and Ken Lobb might freak to should they ever escape their cages below Nintendo HQ.

Let’s play it loud:

Nintendo / KillerInstinctHQ (YouTube)

I mean whatever, it’s fine. Variously dorky and gaudy (like the game itself) and often in styles kind of irrelevant to its young teen audience, but whatever. If you ignore the oft-obnoxious samples some of the more techno-oriented tracks aren’t totally removed from Tuesday’s Tekken pieces. And I admit to a grudging affection for that first, ridiculous Orchid song,“K.I. Feeling.” But I have little nostalgia for Killer Instinct or Killer Cuts overall, so that layer of appeal is mostly lost on me. (I was more a stan for the hilaribad Mortal Kombat: The Album (VGMdb), to which I once engaged in a memorable bout of boardwalk Laser Tag.)

Killer Cuts seems to be some weird mix of OST and arranged album, much more the latter than the former. But if you compare Killer Cuts’Yo Check This Out!” to the Killer Instinct arcade OST’s “Boxing Gym,” for example, the tracks are identical. It’s unclear how many more Killer Cuts tracks are straight from the arcade, which I do not have the patience to suss out.

Speaking of, here’s the Killer Instinct arcade OST (possibly a fanrip, it’s murky) that started all this weirdness. Which do you prefer?

Nintendo / Dragonunknown (YouTube)

Yeah, Killer Instinct was pretty corny even before it hit the clubs.

We close with leaked footage from one of Arakawa’s unsettling, clandestine raves. Countless spy-nerds ODed on Dunkaroos and Ecto Cooler to smuggle out this footage, so let’s play it loud and spread it wide (...we’ll workshop that) to ensure their sacrifice wasn’t in vain.

Nintendo / Grooveraider (YouTube)

That’s it for today’s Morning Music! I believe this fulfills the first-ever request I got in the comments here. I am sorry it turned out this way.

Were you more into Killer Instinct than me? Let’s hear. I’ll be back on Monday! For now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cash a big ‘ole check from Sega. Err... that sounds bad… how to delete...? So bad at computers... Uh, click... “publish”? ...Ahhh, crap!

Staff Editor, Kotaku.


Why did you write an article to basically WHINE about an album featuring a game you clearly were never a fan of? Killer Cuts was made for Killer Instinct fans, at a time when it was one of the biggest releases for Super Nintendo/Arcade. This article made you sound completely out of touch with what 90s kids actually liked. I have NEVER heard anyone who grew up with this stuff complaining about it or calling it a lame attempt to be “cool” by Nintendo. This REEKS of cheap bias from you.