You’ve got your movie scores and soundtracks. You have your chart hits, your underground anthems, your fire mixtapes and experimental compositions. But I will stand proud and tall and declare that you will never find a more varied genre as video game music. What started as a series of beeps and boops has evolved into such a wide berth of taste that it might as well be it’s own artform now. Orchestral, piano, lyrical, electronic. I couldn’t even begin to list some of the amazing tracks out there for fear of leaving out something critical and bringing shame onto my persona for years to come (Persona, incidentally, also has a pretty solid score).
The music and sounds of a game act like spices and seasoning for food. Theoretically, if the game is well crafted enough, you don’t need spices or seasoning at all, and that’s just fine. If you balance the spices well, it elevates and enhances the game into a whole new realm. But if you use too much salt (chiptune) or pair the wrong seasonings (horror games with all trumpet soundtrack) you might drown out the taste entirely. Unlike food, however, you could always mute the music and try to enjoy the game anyways. Sometimes it’s the only way, even if it’s not what you or the creator intended.
Music also helps illicit some of those wonderful memories that nest deep in your unconcious mind. All it takes is a couple of notes from the Pokemon opener to play and I’m right back in elementary school, wishing someone in my godforsaken town owned a link cable. From joy to sadness, anger to hilarity, these great works are tattooed on my brain with associations I might not even realize until someone starts humming the Tetris theme and I run screaming from the room. The brain is a funny thing.
As always, we did a quick poll of the Playism staff to find out where their hearts lie, and here’s what we got for the best music they selected:
Mike – Earthbound
Nayan – Nier
Taku – Nier
Bryan – Final Fantasy VI
Meghan – Spyro!
Jon – Chrono Trigger and FFVII (tie)
Bart – Baldur’s Gate and Mass Effect (tie)
So let’s start there and see what ya’ll have to add! Vote on the choices we’ve submitted here, or add in your own! What is the best video game soundtrack of all time? We’ll crown the winner after the weekend!