Music has got to be one of the most overlooked components within video games. They have the power to trigger emotions, generate feelings of nostalgia and enhance gameplay. In order to properly honor the developers who have made the effort to incorporate quality music within their games, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best video game soundtracks. We hope that this list will give you a new appreciation for the brilliant composers and musicians who have worked hard to enhance our gaming experiences.
10. Portal 2 - The guys over at Valve are absolute geniuses. Portal 2 was a fantastic sequel that not only lived up to the expectations that were generated by its predecessor, but also surpassed them in many ways, one of which being the music. With a unique blend of electronic and orchestral, Portal 2’s soundtrack is unlike any other. Head over to Valve’s Soundtrack Site and see for yourself, as the first two volumes are currently free to download.
9. Chrono Trigger- Famed composer Yasunori Mitsuda is responsible for one of the most iconic Super Nintendo soundtracks of all time. Every time I hear the simplistic yet beautifully complex music of Chrono Trigger, I’m taken back to the glory days of the SNES. The music in this game will give you one heck of a nostalgia trip.
8. Metroid Prime- Perhaps one of the most atmospheric games of all time, Metroid Prime sports a soundtrack that is evidence to how much of an impact sound design can have on the atmosphere of a game. When Retro Studios brought the series into a first person perspective, the franchise took on a whole new persona, one that wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable if it wasn’t for the game’s eerily soothing music.
6. Super Mario Bros.- Sporting the most recognizable theme song of all time, Super Mario Bros. has by far one of the catchiest soundtracks. Back in the days of 8-bit gaming, developers had to work within a very limited range when it came to sound, but that didn’t impede Nintendo from creating some of the most iconic tunes of all time.
5. Final Fantasy X- Countless numbers of Final Fantasy fans have tried to learn piano, just so that they can play the main theme of Final Fantasy X, To Zanarkand. As the opening credits roll and the title appears on the screen, gamers are treated to a memorable scene depicting Tidus and the gang around a fire as the game’s theme plays in the background. Final Fantasy X is arguably one of the best titles to come out of Square, and the soundtrack is undoubtedly part of that reason.
4. Kingdom Hearts- What happens when you mix Disney and Final Fantasy? You get awesome music, that’s what! Sporting a soundtrack that is comprised of memorable Disney tunes as well as iconic Final Fantasy rifts, Kingdom Hearts capitalizes on the franchises it draws from. However, it’s the completely unique Japanese Pop songs that you’ll find stuck in your head long after the game is over. Thanks Utada Hikaru!
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time- C’mon, who doesn’t love the tunes found in Nintendo’s Ocarina of Time? Plus, with the inclusion of the Ocarina as a gameplay element, the music itself played a pivotal role in the mechanics of the game. Man, that opening theme still gives me chills every time I hear it.
2. Metal Gear Solid- You should know that this is my favorite game of all time, so I am a bit biased on this one. But when it comes right down to it, the Metal Gear Solid soundtrack is awesome on so many levels. The intensity in the songs adds that sense of overarching epic-ness that the series is known for; plus with it being a stealth game, it only helps to add to the tension. If you haven’t played any of the Metal Gear Solid games, I highly recommend you check out the soundtracks at the very least.
1. Final Fantasy VII- Yes, I am aware that there are two Final Fantasy titles on this list, but I must admit, it’s difficult to discuss gaming music without praising the work of Nobuo Uematsu. The man is an absolute legend in Japan, and rightly so, as he is responsible for some of the best music in the industry. Final Fantasy VII is such a beloved title, and while many may argue that it is incredibly overrated, you can’t deny the game’s got a fantastic soundtrack.
Agree with our picks? Anything you think we missed? Let us know with your comments below.