The ability to immerse a player into a world is a crucial element in gaming music, with many serving as the perfect complement to the eye-catching graphics and captivating stories seen on screen.
Over the years, exceptional video game theme songs have accompanied the action, and we’ve curated a list of the best video game songs ever.
1. Silent Hill
Released on PlayStation in 1999, the music of Silent Hill had a singular mission in mind: to elicit feelings of hopelessness, despair, and darkness as the backdrop to the horror game. The cold, ambient music enhances the experience for gamers as they experience the creepy vibes strewn throughout the game. Combined with its haunting industrial sound, rhythmic growls, and screams scattered within the score to mimic ghosts and the otherworldly, the soundtracks of Silent Hill offer a frightening, yet melodic perspective that has captivated a generation. Standout songs from the albums include “Promise (Reprise)” and “Never Forgive Me, Never Forget Me.”
2. Super Mario Bros.
Without a doubt the most recognizable video game theme song in history, Super Mario Bros. was the first of its kind and proved that musical complexity could be effective as part of the storytelling narrative. Composer Koji Kondo had limited technology in his wheelhouse at the time. Still, over the years, the music associated with Super Mario Bros. had remained innovative, captivating, and joyous — a feat accomplished through musical innovation and programming prowess.
3. Legend of Zelda
For many gamers, the music heard on The Legend Of Zelda soundtracks has enthralled them from the moment they first listened to the dreamy “Title Theme.” The impact of this soundtrack on the gaming industry cannot be underestimated, and its influence over similar adventure-filled video games has not gone unnoticed. With each new release, contenders have attempted to replicate Zelda‘s formula for symphonic success. As one of the original blockbuster series, the game is an integral part of gaming culture, and each successive soundtrack — from Ocarina of Time to Twilight Princess to Breath of the Wild and more — has made good on the promise of the composers to deliver music that elevates the theme and mirrors the objective of the gaming experience.
4. The Last Of Us
A post-apocalyptic world is inevitably filled with episodes of despair and tragedy, interspersed with tinges of hope. The music gamers experience on The Last Of Us brilliantly maneuvers between these contrasting feelings. With haunting guitar and keyboard sounds highlighting the danger and trepidation which potentially lies in every corner, the gaming soundtracks released throughout The Last Of Us series are chilling, subtle, and a masterclass in how to take the digital world to the next level. Sparse yet intricate, these soundtracks— with songs like “Head Rush” and “Unbroken” — allow the listener to do the leg work and provoke the ultimate terror.
5. Final Fantasy XV
Recognized worldwide as one of the perennial classics among gaming enthusiasts, the Final Fantasy music series encompasses a rich history of groundbreaking scores that capture the imagination and spirit of the game. Final Fantasy XV succeeded in elevating the industry standards using dynamic samples, various styles, and lush instrumentation to paint a luxuriant atmosphere that goes beyond the conventional music heard in most gaming video games. With this musical score, Final Fantasy brings vibrance to the world in a unique and beautiful way that stands on its own.
At the heart of the Mafia video game series is the common thread of revenge and how it is executed. Following up on this perspective, the soundtrack accompanying the video game has proven to be just as diverse as the schemes used in certain scenes. Featuring both original scores and classics, such as “St. James Infirmary” and “Mr. Sandman,” gamers experience a range of genres from southern bayou jazz to blues to traditional rock — even classic Italian folk music. By tying specific genres to characters in the video game, the music of Mafia moves the story along and serves as the backdrop to an intriguing plot.
At a time when most video music games relied on soft touches and heavy melodies to drive the story, the Doom soundtrack went against the grain with a hefty infusion of punk and metallic references. Taking sonic cues from superbands like Metallica and Slayer, the music featured in Doom goes hard with aggressive, punchy metal guitar instrumentation and fast drums to represent the brutality experienced by gamers. Check out “Demigod” and “Dogma” for proof of the sonic bite.
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Few gaming soundtracks go for such a grand scale as witnessed with the Elder Scrolls series, particularly, Skyrim. This soundtrack significantly raises the stakes by featuring a choir singing in the game’s fictional dragon language, called Dovahzu. Video gamers play between worlds in surround sound that is expansive and visionary. Conductor Jeremy Soule eloquently layered the songs with ethereal chants, syncopated drums, and the whir of ghostly whispers to bring all elements of the gaming experience to life.
A dynamic game demands a musical soundtrack just as ambitious. The music composed by musician C418 for Minecraft effectively takes the video game to new heights by using minimalism and slower BPMs to set a scene that is just adventurous as the game itself. When immersed in the world of Minecraft, the ambient music serves as the perfect complement to the series.
Gaming Music Has Answered the Call
Immerse yourself in the beauty of video game music, where captivating soundscapes transport listeners and players alike to unexplored realms. The gaming industry has truly mastered this craft, seamlessly blending exceptional scores with sensational storytelling. Games that have become classics possess unique qualities that elevate the gaming experience from start to finish. The best video game soundtracks are undoubtedly a secret to success that gamers continue to be drawn to, time and time again. Delve into our vast collection of gaming music and prepare to embark on an enchanting sonic adventure.
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