The 5 Best Video Game Soundtracks
While the graphics of modern games often get all the credit for their success, let’s not forget that the immersive power of any game equally hinges on its use of sound and music. “The game sounds and scores of the last 40 years tell the story of a new and evolving genre that has opened up possibilities for what music can do,” explains BBC’s Tom Service on his interview with Manami Matsumae and Yoko Shimomura – pioneer game musicians who scored games for Capcom and Nintendo back in the ’80s and ’90s.
This evolution of game music continues to this day with many online game developers using music to appeal to new players in their quest to dominate their respective markets. In Tuxslots‘ breakdown of the gamification of online casinos, the gaming blog details how audio rewards, alongside visuals, greatly factor into how engaged players are in the different slot games around the world – a billion-dollar industry that’s just one part of the global gaming equation. Yet, while music plays a huge role in enhancing the online gaming experience, nothing compares to sweeping video game soundtracks. To prove it here are 5 of the best:
The music from the entire Final Fantasy (FF) series is a tour de force of classical and orchestral music. FF is so well-known for its enthralling and epic sounds that the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert has been touring around the world for more than ten years. The series’ music composer Nobuo Uematsu leads the show alongside other composers who helped flesh out the soundtrack, which ranges from swing to opera music. No other game soundtrack can match the emotional and cultural impact that FF has had on its millions of fans around the planet.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
This collection is basically a bad-ass late ’90s to early noughties alternative rock playlist. Choice tracks include Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, The Dead Kennedys’ Police Truck, Primus’ Jerry Was A Racecar Driver, and Goldfinger’s Superman – songs and artists that embodied the bravado of the times. An immersive sonic journey into the golden age of skateboarding.
This game isn’t exactly known for its music – but that’s just because the music from The Sims does exactly what it’s supposed to do: provide the background and establish the atmosphere in-game. Whether you’re building different parts of your home, going on vacation, or just socialising around the neighbourhood, the game has the perfect music to accompany the activity. The Sims is where you’ll find arguably the most perfect use of up-tempo classical music and tender jazz in any game ever. Curiously enough, experts via Popular Science actually recommend listening to this soundtrack if you want to be more productive while working.
Grand Theft Auto
Known for the various radio stations that exist within each of the many games in the Grand Theft Auto series, the GTA soundtrack is comprised of hundreds of popular and obscure songs. The range of musicians involved in this collection vary greatly – from Kanye West and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five to Kenny Loggins and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Each song is cherry-picked for each of the said radio stations, and each station is designed to represent specific aspects of the city in which the main character finds himself in. GTA made it possible for millions of players to drive around with the radio on and no destination in mind – all from the comfort of home.
This little known 2D-animated game from 2011 has a unique combination of acoustic guitar and sampled hip hop beats that makes it distinct from any other game in the world. As good as the gameplay and design for Bastion was, the game has become more known for its soundtrack, which led the album to be released separately with some additional tracks. No wonder it’s the first game mentioned in PC Magazine’s list of The 20 Best Video Game Soundtracks Ever, edging out other notable soundtracks such as the original Doom, Cuphead, and 1995’s Chrono Trigger.
If you want to listen to hear some more video game music check out Brian Freeland and his track Engaging Crowdforce which is an intense rework of the single Gameplay by Cedy feat OES to give this track a new lease of life and a perfect fitting for film and game Soundtracks