The Art Of Video Games: Part #2 (Music)

Published September 14, 2014 by Amanda B. Greene

Music is not typically what you would first think about when talking about video games. It is sometimes the “key element” that truly makes a game. It can completely affect your experience by changing your emotions or thoughts in any given situation. There are plenty of examples where music (or the lack of) will get you pumped or scared for what’s ahead. Horror games or movies have to use this tool to their advantage by giving the audience a false sense of security or getting people to jump at every corner.

Many orchestras and bands often join in on a production, or made to be completely dedicated to creating soundtracks for video games. So be sure to thank them for their great performances the next time you look at media. Musicians truly talented, so they deserve a lot of credit for what they do.

Time for The Top Ten!

10. Pikmin Series

This series is one of the more laid-back and somewhat relaxing experiences within this list, even though it’s about survival (especially the first) and exploration. The music is one of the main aspects of these games. I probably like the song for The Forest Of Hope the best. The melodies don’t get old at all as you constantly re-visit areas and are quite charming. The Pikmin series offers different games that are unique than most games.

9. Kid Icarus Series

This series is mostly from older times, with a twenty-year gap in between titles to finally bring it back with the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS. You play as an angel named Pit (odd name I know) as you go through air and land battles to stop the Underworld Army and other evil forces. The music is epic and gets you prepared for every fight. Some of the tunes take inspiration from its past and can be catchy similar to Mario’s.

8. Jak & Daxter Series

These games, especially the main trilogy, have some of the best music for every area you go to, whether that be a small village or the city slums. Everything fits right into place without ever being forced or overly done. As you play through, you’ll definitely have some favorites. More than a few have a calming effect, while others have the player on the edge. Certain sequences, like unpleasant surprises, will make you tense and shocked at the same time. The Jak & Daxter Collection is awesome in more ways than one.

7. LittleBigPlanet Series

The first LittleBigPlanet game, in particular, is widely known for its somewhat odd-sounding soundtrack that would sometimes make you feel like you’re in the 70’s, but it worked perfectly; one of the songs I love is called “If You Step On My Patch” is fun to listen to. The others in the series, such as  LittleBigPlanet 2 and the upcoming third sequel, continue to build on the already great foundation of coolness and quirkiness.

6. Sonic The Hedgehog Series

Sega has created a lot of cool songs and catchy tunes that will get stuck in your head if you play any Sonic game for too long – which is a good thing. For many of these games, Sega seems to experiment by having different kinds of music from rock to pop and so on. The “Green Hill Zone” is probably one of biggest classics that brings back memories. One may not like everything on this particular list, but some of them are definitely brilliant.

5. Mario Series

Of course, Nintendo’s mascot had to on this list somewhere. Similar with Sonic, gamers will always recognize Mario largely due to his soundtrack. Whenever I think about him, I have random tunes that automatically play in my head. I can’t think of one Mario game that didn’t have good music that you couldn’t listen to all the time. I don’t think I have to elaborate any more than that since nearly everyone is familiar with this famous franchise.

4. Rayman Series

I’m focusing on the more recent games in series (Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends). They offer nice soundtracks, even featuring some remixes of classics that require you to get into the rhythm for music challenges to pass through a level. The songs get you pumped right away as you come to recognize what they were originally. You should definitely give Rayman a try for weird, platforming fun.

3. Uncharted Series

This action/adventure, third-person shooter series does a lot of music that is over-the-top amazing. Each destination has appropriate instrumental pieces that just tie the games in altogether. You can definitely tell that they put in so much time into these songs; it must have took a lot of effort to create and then perform each one.

2. The Legend Of Zelda Series

I honestly think the Zelda games deserved a high spot on this list because they have largely shaped gaming culture, especially when it comes to music (not because I’m a big fan, but it helps). One honorable mention, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, has even made the ocarina into a popular instrument. So what makes Zelda so special? The orchestra team is amazing every time as they play so many instruments altogether in perfect harmony. Enough said.

1. Journey

The game is one that I haven’t had the chance to play yet, but it’s been rated across the board as one of the best PS3 games. I only heard one symphony that included Journey as part of the Spike Game Awards/VGAs (known now as VGX) back in 2012 and that was more than enough to impress me. It was the first video game to have its soundtrack nominated for “Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media” in the 2013 Grammy Awards; this is a huge step towards having video games being better recognized as art. Journey also proved that independent (indie) developers can make a name for themselves and be successful. I look forward to what more they have in store for us.

Thanks again as always for enjoying my blog. I will update this post soon with some pictures and videos so you have more of an idea for why I picked them. Let me know what other video games you think have some of the best soundtracks and there will always be more posts to come! Please comment and come back for more fun! 😀

[Update]: Sorry that it took me so long. I hope you enjoy the music videos! 🙂