Favorite Video Game MusicRandomly, here are my personal top ten favorite music tracks from video game soundtracks, determined by total time spent listening to them.
10. "Jake's Theme" from Advance Wars: Dual Strike
The perfect music to play after saying, "Alright, let's do this!"
9. "Peril" from Halo 2
It's hard to describe my liking of this one. To me, it conveys the emotion of beginning a long, arduous journey. A "one man versus the world" kind of thing. Yet it's optimistic, and hopeful, and peaceful, as if reassuring you that if you're slow, steady, and diligent, you'll be victorious in the end.
8. "Nostalgia" from Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon
This is a remix of a song from Final Fantasy 1. Played with orchestral instruments, it's heavy, heartfelt, and just all-around emotional. Tugs on
While this list still holds up, I have some additions to make. I've found some amazing music over the past few years, and also have rediscovered even more music I loved from ages gone by. So here's a top 10 list of my favorite video game music that I've been listening to a lot lately. Once again, this list is organized simply by the amount of time I've spent listening to these tracks.
10. "T-Maxx" from Tetris Max
This is probably the most obscure track that I have in my library. I found this Tetris clone on a shareware compilation CD in the late 90s, and it had incredible music. Why they put so much effort into the music for a basic Tetris clone, I will never know, especially when disc space was such a commodity back then. I mean, PC game music back then was basically all Crystal FM MIDI or AdLib MIDI, but for this one they went all-out with CD-quality music that took up entire MEGABYTES of space. You can't fit this on a 3.5" floppy disk! As for the music, its powerful steady rhythm and deep, haunting melody almost make it sound like Mystery Dungeon music. Somehow, it's been memorable enough to stick with me through the decades.
9. "Random Dungeon Theme 3" from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
People often ask me what's my favorite music from the PMD series. A dozen come pretty close, but it's got to be this one. Best song, worst title. What else can I say?
8. "Cat" from Minecraft
I can't count how many times I've listened to Cat, thanks to the fact that for a long time it used to be the only good music CD in the game (and it's still the only good music CD you can find in treasure chests), but somehow, I've never gotten tired of hearing it. It always makes me smile when one of my friends drops it into the jukebox on our server. It's a soothing, happy melody that can make any biome, and whatever structures you've built there, feel like home.
7. "Progressive" from The Incredible Machine 3
This is my pick for best puzzle game of all time. I played it so much as a young child, and yet I still haven't beaten the hardest puzzles. Recently I've gone back to try playing this game again and beating it once and for all. For a game about Rube Goldberg devices, it had an oddly awesome soundtrack that spanned a wide variety of genres, even though the game itself only played lame MIDI renditions of the songs and I never heard the full CD-quality songs until I got older and discovered YouTube. The game even let you change the music to any level you wanted, and I probably changed it to Progressive more than all the others. A close second is "New Age".
6. "Terran 1" from StarCraft
Some of you are probably going to slap me for this, likely because if you've ever played StarCraft you've probably heard this song so many times that you've grown absolutely sick of it. For a while, I thought I was sick of it as well, but then I went back one day to listen to it... and nope, still as smooth, crystal-clear, and adrenaline-pumping as always. This is the "1-1 theme" of RTS games. It's just timeless. For me, it brings back happy memories of all the hours I spent in this game in my teenage years, playing Tower Defense maps online or tinkering with the campaign editor and taking my very first steps to learn programming concepts. I have no regrets! It's still the best RTS game of all time. Of course, now I've had the opportunity to play the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War games, I finally got to see what everyone was talking about when they said that StarCraft is a complete ripoff. It really is! In fact, the original StarCraft was just a W40K game that Blizzard had to re-skin and re-name after they couldn't get the rights to release a W40K game. But that doesn't stop it from being awesome. I, for one, am pumped for Legacy of the Void. Can't wait to see how the whole series ends, even after the train wreck of Heart of the Swarm's storyline. (Of course, very honorable mentions will go to the Zerg themes.)
5. "Mr. Explorer" from La-Mulana
How the heck do I describe La-Mulana? It's a game that reaches new, profound, and artistic levels of player frustration. "I Wanna Be The Guy" has nothing on this game. This game not only forces you through platforming from the bowels of hell and murders you repeatedly, but it has the gall to make you solve ridiculous riddles along with it. It's almost adorable how ambitious and innovative this game is in trolling the player at every single turn. I'm still trying to beat this game, but I likely wouldn't have gotten so far if it hadn't been for the fact that I've been streaming this game for a friend
4. "Strike the Earth! (Plains of Passage)" Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight was probably my favorite game of 2014. As of now, I still consider it the best "fake retro" game of all time (although Mega Man 9 came pretty close). The music was just fantastic and highly authentic; it can be played on a real NES (granted the cartridge has some extra hardware in there) or an NES emulator. And rather than hide the game's best theme song in some obscure part of the game, as many NES games would do, Shovel Knight puts its best foot forward and throws this track at you the very moment you first gain control of your character! And the music more or less stays just as good until the very end of the game. If you're an enthusiast of retro games and music, and you haven't looked at Shovel Knight yet, you should be ashamed of yourself.
3. "Earth" from Waveform
Waveform is a very strange game that released on Steam a few years ago where you control the wave path of a light particle flying through space on its way to re-light the sun. Its music was hit-or-miss, but this dreamlike piece blew me away and continues to be one of my all-time favorites. Honestly, I've never heard music this surreal, and yet so strong, melodic, and compelling at the same time. It captures the dizzying and empty feeling of being lost in space, but it also portrays a heavy sense of excitement and optimism. I swear that the reverb is actually off-key... but somehow it works. I'm a fan of EDM, but I'd rather listen to this track than a lot of stuff that has gotten popular on the radio in the past few years.
2. "Irate Eight (Tension)" from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
I've never played this game. However, I played the heck out of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest as a kid, since it was one of the only five games I owned for my SNES. One of the more memorable pieces from that game was Lockjaw's Saga, a haunting theme that played in the dark, underwater sunken ship stages. Recently, it came to my attention that the new Donkey Kong Country games had some remixes of old songs, so I had a listen... and holy cow. This one sends chills up my spine every time I hear it. And to boot, it's by David Wise, the same guy who did the original soundtracks for the old games. The Stickerbush Symphony remake isn't too bad, either. In all, I'm probably going to end up playing this game for the music alone.
1. "Cassiel" from Splice
Video game music simply does not have a right to be this good. Splice is a game about playing god at the cellular level and manipulating DNA chains floating in plasma. It's actually not all that great of a puzzle game, but it has ridiculously good music and a graphical style that makes you feel like you're doing something profound. If you like the sound of this piece, I highly recommend listening to the entire "Flight of Angels" album; "Cassiel" is the climactic point of the album, but the rest of it is nearly just as good.
I have a few new followers now than I did when I wrote the old journal, so I invite everyone to post their favorite video game music. I will listen to all of it!
Though the Eon Fable chapter is still not finished, I think I will turn my attention to Silver Resistance again very soon. Just to warn you once again, the next handful of chapters are going to be a bit different than normal; they'll be fast-paced, and maybe shorter in length. But hopefully that translates to a faster update schedule. If things go well, I might get to chapter 70 before the end of the summer!