Synthwave (also called outrun, retrowave, or futuresynth) is a genre of electronic music influenced by 1980s film soundtracks and video games. Synthwave was inspired by many 1980s films, video games, and cartoons, as well as composers such as John Carpenter, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Tangerine Dream.
However the genre itself arose from electronic dance music genres including house, synth, and nu-disco. The subgenre name “outrun” comes from the 1986 driving arcade game Out Run, which was known for its soundtrack that could be selected in-game. According to musician Perturbator (James Kent), the style is mainly instrumental, and often contains 1980s clichéd elements in the sound such as electronic drums, gated reverb, and analog synthesizer bass lines and leads – all to resemble tracks from that time period. This aesthetic has been incorporated into retro themed movies and video games featuring synthwave artists.
According to Bryan Young of Glitchslap, one of the most notable examples of this is Power Glove’s soundtrack to the 2013 video game Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Another popular example of the genre crossing into other media is David Sandberg’s short film Kung Fury.