Five Favorites: Video Game Soundtracks

Let us begin with a completely unrelated GIF:

All right, so now that THAT’s out of the way, we can get on with this week’s Music Monday!

When people talk about video games, usually one of the last things people will talk about is the music. A video game’s soundtrack is vital to the overall aesthetic of the game itself, and is a crucial facet of an increasingly complex form of media. Without music, our favorite video games would probably not be our favorite video games. Video game music is something we often take for granted, but when we hear that one familiar, game-defining tune, the images, challenges, and fun you had/have playing that game comes rushing back to flood all your senses–not just your ears.

So, without further ado, here are five of my favorite video game soundtracks, in no particular order.

1. Halo
(Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori)

All right, so you knew this one was coming, so I’ll just list it first. Martin O’Donnell (Hail Hydra) is my most favoritest composer of music (although, what he creates is more accurately described as ear-sex). From slow, poignant melodies like “Never Forget” from Halo 3, and what I believe to be a perfect piece “Three Gates” from the same game, Halo‘s soundtrack (particularly the third installment) is simply a masterpiece. Check ’em out:


2. Final Fantasy X
(Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, MotomuToriyama)

You knew this one was coming, too. Let me just point out that I’m not a blind Nobuo Uematsu fanboy. I can see just fine. It really was just a question of which Final Fantasy game I was going to pick. Obviously, IX is my favorite FF. And while that soundtrack is indeed stellar, I just think FFX is the more versatile, not to mention beautifully fused with its respective narrative (if that makes sense). I should also mention, the sound editing/mixing in Final Fantasy X is just bonkers. (Bonkers meaning amazesauce).


3. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
(Shoji Meguro, Atsushi Kitajoh)

If you know me, you know I hate Eng(r)ish. I hate it. Just do. Will always. BUT, even that wasn’t enough to turn me off to the profoundly unique J-Pop(ish) soundtrack that is Persona 4. Whether you’re beating shadow monsters into a pulp after school, or roaming the halls in search of MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS WITH FICTIONAL CHARACTERS extracurricular activities, there is a catchy tune for whatever the hell you’re doing.


4. Chrono Trigger
(Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu)

You’ll often see Chrono Trigger listed in “Top 10 Games of All Time Lists,” beaten usually only by Ocarina of Time or Half Life 2–not at all bad company to be in. Chrono Trigger‘s soundtrack, in my opinion, is the complete and utter mastery of video game music during the Super Nintendo era. However, it has also made a lasting impact on video game soundtracks that have come after.

Fun fact: The artist behind Chrono Trigger, Akira Toriyama, is the very same artist/creator of the beloved Dragon Ball franchise. Hey, so that GIF IS related!


5. Mega Man X
(Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai)

Stage after stage, Mega Man X pumps out sometimes relaxing, sometimes adrenaline-pumping hooks, meshing perfectly with each individual level. I couldn’t really pick out a stand out track, so . . . well, here’s all of it.

Other considerations:

Dragon Age: Origins
(Inon Zur)


F-Zero
(Yumiko Kanki, Naoto Ishida)


3 thoughts on “Five Favorites: Video Game Soundtracks”

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