By mnB 13 Comments
Check out part one
Welcome to part two of my (special) edition of 'The Feeling'. A series of blogs where I talk about games I used to play and enjoy back in the days. This time around am I gonna focus on the countless number of fantastic musical pieces found in the world of video games. While we're still gonna look at our fair share of old games here, are we this time around takin' a look at my top 20 favorite video game music of all time.
I think it's safe to say that music have played a huge role in video games throughout the years. From the 8-bit era's blips and blops to todays fully orchestrated soundtracks. Personally are music and sound some of the most important aspects of a game to me - heck, why would I remember all these tunes if it weren't?
Yea, we all got our favorite Mario, Zelda and Mega man tunes, but I'm gonna take you guys through my personal top 20 of all time. A list that's quite varied, but common for them all are that they gave and still gives me 'The Feeling' - or in other words, a wave of those good old times.
1996 : I first heard this tune when I played the original game on the PS one all the way back in 1996. I actually think that this was one of the first games I got for my original Playstation, and yes, it had me spellbound from the moment I started it up. Controlling Lara through ruins/dungeons, fighting a T-rex, solving puzzles and collecting ancient relics was right up my alley, and though the game scared me a little back then, was I still amazed by the atmosphere it delivered.
I instantly knew that this one had a spot on my list when I asked myself what 20 video game songs were among my favorites. It's peaceful and mellow. Soothing and calming, but at same time does it ooze of mystery and the unknown. Yup, this tune have stuck to me ever since I heard it for the first time all those years ago. Nathan McCree have surely created a masterpiece I will never forget.
1988 : Next up do we have a track from Castlevania II : Simon's Quest. The game itself was pretty flawed and full of irritating gameplay issues, but it did at least have one good thing to it... its awesome soundtrack.
I first played this game a couple of years after its release, and while I hated it at many points, did I also love it for one track in particular : Bloody Tears, composed by Kenichi Matsubara. I played it on one of my first consoles, the NES, back in the early 90's. Rocking out and killing monsters to this tune was just awesome.
1999 : Ahh, one of my favorites on this list from one of the, in my opinion, most overlooked game series ever, Age of Wonders. This is actually one of my most beloved games ever, a game me and my friends played all the time back in the day, and a game I still rate among my favorites of all time to this very day.
The soundtrack was just flat-out amazing, so I had a hard time picking just one song. It was composed by none other than Michiel van den Bos, the guy who's also behind the music found in Deus Ex and Unreal/Tournament. All the tracks suited the game flawlessly and really added to the whole experience... And yup, as with the Mario theme am I not sure if I picked right here... They're all that good and filled with mystery and atmosphere. Listening to this really takes me back to some of my favorite moments in my life of gaming.
1987 : I'm gonna start the same was as I did with the Mario entry on this list : Pick one Zelda tune... and only one. Heck, that's almost impossible! Yup, Zelda have left us all with a lot of fantastic tunes and melodies through the years. Melodies that's forever stuck in our heads. Koji Kondo shines through, yet again, as one of the best video game composers of all time (if not the best?) with his work on the Zelda franchise.
I went over a lot of stuff from Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess before finally deciding to go with the obvious choice... the one we all know and love... the good old original theme from aaall the way back before I was even born. Yup, the original Zelda them is the ultimate tune for adventuring, rocking your head, humming and playing air drums along to... of all time! This theme will be loved and recognized till' the day gaming dies (better known as the end of the world... or 2012).
1993 : Super Street Fighter II gave us, besides a fantastic fighting game, a bunch of songs thats still popular to this very day. Heck, they're even remixed into the the 4 installment of the series released in 2009 since they're that good.
This was really a choice between Guile, Ken and Cammy's theme.. And yup, the award went to the tomboyish (but hot!), best cheeks in the biz, Cammy, whom's theme has always stood out to me a bit more than the others. Super Street Fighter II is by no means my favorite in the series, but it did provide us with this up-tempo classic tune that I still use as custom soundtrack when playing Street Fighter IV on my PS3. It's awesome, fitting to a fighting game and really creates a spark in battle.
1994 : From back when RARE was still magical comes Stickerbrush Symphony from Donkey Kong Country. One of the most soothing songs to be found in a video game, and a tune that sends chills down my spine everytime I hear it.
I remember playing this game with an old friend of mine on his Super Nintendo back in the day, and boy did we love it. Not only for the gameplay, but also for it's soundtrack that was composed by David Wise. It consists of numerous classical tunes thats, in my opinion, among some of the finest the SNES has to offer. Stickerbrush Symphony have always been the track I remember the best. As with so many others on this list is it filled with atmosphere and magic. It calms me down and reminds me of those o' so good times back in the mid 90's.
2004 : Love it or hate it. We can't deny that World of Warcraft have opened up for a whole new era of computer gamers. It's rich, artistical and detailed world, carefully designed by Blizzard, is without a doubt one of the most fantastic places ever created in a video game.
I played this game for 3 years on and off before finally deciding to let go of it and move on, but rarely has a game given me so much value for my buck, both in terms of content and friends. Yup, I have had some of my best moments in gaming with this, and while it's really fantastic on a lot of points, was one of the things that actually made me consider playing alliance over horde, the theme found in the human capital, Stormwind City.
When you first enter Stormwind are you greeted by rows of massive statues. Old heroes of the alliance guarding the entrance to this massive fortress. This is where this epic and legendary tune kicks in and really creates a thick atmosphere and mood that I think is rarely found in games. I definitely love it!
1991 : I was one of those kids who owned a Genesis instead of a Super Nintendo, and yes, I was a huge... HUGE Sonic fan back when Sega did what Ninten...didn't?!. I owned all the games.... heck, I even had a big cardboard version of Sonic hanging on my wall. Yup, Sonic along with Van Damme (he's still my hero btw) was one of my childhood heroes, and while the series has gone downhill the last couple of years, are the old ones still timeless classics.
The music found in Sonic have always been fantastic. There's so many tunes to choose from, but I decided to go with, yet again, the classic choice : Green Hill Zone. It was composed by Masato Nakamura and offers a... well, screw that. It's just f****** awesome in every possible way, nuff' said.
1988 : Didi d'l di di di di d'l di di DI DI DI. Time for trial and error! Yup, one of the hardest games ever created joins us on spot number two. The in my opinion, best NES tune ever created was found in the punishing Mega man 2, and really offered an up-tempo, epic, one of the most kickass, ”you're probably gonna die 100 times trying to storm Dr. Wily's skull fortress'” tunes ever.
It was composed by three people, among them, the guy who's also behind the music found in Duck Tales. It appeared on the final stage and really set the mood for storming an evil genius fortress. So simple, but yet so awesome – a perfect example on what a couple of masterminds can do with the limited tools they had to work with back then... It's just as cool now as it was back when I played it for the first time.
1991 : Its raw, its heavy, its fitting, its atmospheric and finally is it just flat-out awesome in every possible imaginable way. It takes me way back whenever I listen to it and yup, I tried, but failed at picking just one song from one of my favorite games of all time – Streets of Rage.
I played Street of Rage back in the day till my fingers bled... or well, almost. This was my favorite game to pick up and play with my friend whenever we were in the mood for some co-op. Beat up punkers with broken bottles, beat up punkers with iron pipes, throwing knifes at punkers, skanks, evil clowns and what not... heck, what more could you ask for? What about an fantastic soundtrack that just made it all so much more awesome? No prob, it had it.
I originally intended to go with the main theme of the series, but when I sat down and listened through all of the tracks did I realise how much I love em' all. Picking one was simply impossible. This bunch of songs really stands out to me more than any others, and really gets the nostalgia up in me. They remind of why I play video games and of course of those good old times, and hey, that just happens to be what 'The Feeling' is all about.
While I'm at it am I gonna give a shout-out to Youtube's Andy Gillion for making this awesome guitar compilation of some of the best Streets of Rage tunes. Check it out.______________________________________________________________________________________
Whew, definitely found out that it's kinda' hard to explain why you really like a song. Guess that's one of the cool things about video game music (and music in general) - it's more than just the music, but also the situation at the given time, both in the game and your real life that influences why you really like it.
It's easier to just let the music speak for itself... and sometimes that is all that's really needed. Hope you guys enjoyed the read/listening.
What's your favorite video game music? Let me know!