How much does a game’s soundtrack mean to you?

Listen to this song before you start reading I swear you’ll love it! click here and press play

Videogame OST’s…some are amazing, some are catchy or fit the motif of the game well, and others…well it was like who wrote the score for this crap? Music is not only a key aspect in games but a key aspect in life; we need music, but music is always different. Be it music from a symphony, to music on a radio/Top 40 songs, to video game soundtracks, they all have a different affect on us and where it is being heard.

Some soundtracks of games you can’t even hear or are pretty irrelevant to gameplay, others have full scores from orchestra or piano concerto’s, and others are simply awesome 8,16, or 32-bit songs. All in all, I believe soundtrack’s have a pretty big impact for me, but not in a way that I would turn down a game with a bad soundtrack. No, it is in a way that I almost can’t play games without sound bits at all. If I’m playing Mario Kart, it would be impossible for me to play the game with no sound, it just is something that makes the game more enticing, more realistic, more involving. Mario games, Sonic games, Legend of Zelda games, their songs just fit the motif and theme of each area, and that is something you can’t replace or ever take away. The soundtrack enhances  the value and experience of the game and level. Many of the unforgettable soundtracks are from some of the best games, and often most the remembered levels; but some bad games do spew out good soundtracks, so don’t count them out.

Be it a Final Fantasy song playing a piece with a violin or piano or a Megaman song in 8-bit, you can’t just alter the music to make it fit the level. Take Price of Freedom from Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core, that piece has such a large affect on the player, not only due to the story and it’s main character Zack Fair, but the way it is conceived and heard, from a sad violin, rising, almost showing us a new dawn. Heck, Kingdom Hearts games use the same main theme for their title page (Dearly Beloved) yet their scores are written differently, and display the idea of Kingdom Hearts game very well, before you even start playing!

FPS games are different for me though. I find the soundtrack to be practically unheard unless you are in the main menu, but that doesn’t exclude them from this list like the Halo OST (especially Halo 3). FPS games are something I can enjoy with external music, but I still need to be able to hear the game, because games are something you need your senses to play. External music or no music at all works better for First Person Shooter games, because you are your player and need your surroundings.

All in all, soundtrack’s mean a lot to me, even if I didn’t notice a track during the game, sometimes listening to game’s full OST’s later on makes you really appreciate the work that developers put into their music. Songs can be catchy, sad, happy, anything! My iPod is actually full of video game soundtracks because of the joy each track has, either from the song itself or the remembrance it brings you, when it is brought up.

So, while we all know I already love Mario, sonic, legend of zelda, megaman, halo, donkey kong, and the phoenix wright series (and soundtrack obviously) let’s list some of my favorite songs (I could go on all day but let’s just get 5 +1 bonus and +1 special listening to preview) [let’s not forget I am not saying these are the best just some I could never forget]

*note I hate videos on a blog so I put hyperlinks

1- Sonic 3 (or Sonic 3 & Knuckles)- Ice cap Zone Act 1. It was hard enough to choose only one sonic song, considering I think Sonic 3 & Knuckles has the best video game soundtrack ever (Chrome Gadget, Sky Sanctuary, Flying Battery Zone, etc.) but Ice Cap Zone has always been a memorable tune. In fact Sonic has had so many great tracks, it’s just enjoyable to just play a round of Sonic to just listen to music (let’s not forget Aquatic Ruin in Sonic 2, City Escape in Sonic Adventure 2, and some catchy Sonic R songs).

Listen here

2- Donkey Kong Country- Snakey Chantey. Yes, Snakey Chantey is just a remix of Gangplank Galleon but still it is a memorable song. From putting on DKC2 you start off right where Donkey Kong Country left off, on King K. Rool’s (or should I say Kaptain?) pirate boat, with a very familiar song playing with your brand-new partner, Dixie. (Let’s never forget Stickerbrush Symphony, Forest Interlude, obviously the DKC theme song, and the original Gangplank Galleon).

Listen here

3- Final Fantasy XIII Piano Collections- Lightning’s Theme. Odd, everyone knows I hate FFXIII with a passion, but I can’t deny this song is beautiful in both it’s regular way and especially in the piano collections version. Final Fantasy music has strong ties with, not only it’s story, but it’s characters as well and this song is just beautiful. Let’s not forget about: FFX To Zanarkland, VI Fierce Battle, and FFIX Beatrix Theme

Listen here

4- Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time- Gerudo Valley. Yes, this was a very obvious pick but this was the first song I ever remembered from playing a game that wasn’t the Super Mario Bros Theme Song. Ventuing through the desert and hearing this song, I thought I was Link and I was in Gerudo. It’s a great track and I listen to it quite often on my long walks in Manhattan.

Listen here

5- Hollow Bastion Kingdom Hearts Piano Collections- Kingdom Hearts has a great soundtrack, as Square knows their music (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, etc.) and Hollow Bastion is no exception. The piano collections of this song captures the intense feeling that Hollow Bastion is, a once beautiful garden now being swallowed by darkness.

Listen here

Well, that’s all for know I hope you listened to the special bonus song I put at the top it features over 30 video game songs combined! See if you can guess them right it’d be fun…but make sure you read before guessing.

_

Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina

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