The weekend discussion: Let’s talk about game soundtracks

1 min read

People often say that the only thing they care about in a game is the “gameplay,” so it’s just as well the soundtrack is part of this “gameplay” thing, because it’s crucial to the gameplay.

A good soundtrack elevates a good game into a great one, bringing emotional depth and power into the experience. The music is what stays in the memory long after the controller has been put down. A good soundtrack adds weight to combat, adds feeling to romance, and adds class to style.

So, what are your favourite soundtracks, and more specifically, which games do you feel have a soundtrack that best complements the on-screen action?

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  • This one is really easy for me – Nier. Nier's soundtrack – literally every single song – is incredible, and fits with the on-screen action so, so well.

    I've also been playing New Mario Brothers 2 on the 3DS, and I was reminded of just how important music is to that series. The light and bouncy melodies really do work hard to make the game cheerful and accessible, while at the same time avoiding the all-to-easy trap of becoming annoying, which is what happens to most happy music at some stage ๐Ÿ˜›

  • VVVVVV is my pick for best game soundtrack that can stand on its own as a piece of art in itself. If I'm less picky about that — and I'm happy to be! — I've got to go with Mega Man 2. Every composition there is stellar and goes as far as defining the stages as the level design itself.

  • Halo's score has always been one of my favorites. I got into Uncharted in a big way this past year and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the soundtrack there too. As far as classics go, the music from Doom is instantly recognizable, for me anyway… Though I guess it should be – I think I've played that game about a billion times by now. Still not tired of it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I think sound and music are so important to setting a game up. Nier does have an excellent soundtrack, and Halo has generally impressed me as well. There have been some songs from the Final Fantasy series that have been just about perfect in my opinion also.

  • While I can't really name any specific soundtrack off of the top of my head, I do really like upbeat soundtracks that are filled with real instruments. I already listen to too much electronic songs and I feel I've had my fill of Hanz-Zimmer-esque musical assaults, so something that feels upbeat and "Real" just brings a small smile to my face.

  • I'd go for anything by Jesper Kyd, but that's a bit too obvious, isn't it? So I'd also throw in the soundtrack from the first season of Sam & Max, the music from Endless Space (check your install directory for it if you own the game) and Lace Mamba's awesome policy of including a soundtrack with all of their boxed releases. I currently have the CD of The Book of Unwritten Tales on rotation… it's derivative, but brilliant to work to. And, while we're at it, does anyone remember Republic: The Revolution? It was an odd game, but the music was great. I think. It was a looooong time ago…

  • Agreed! VVVVVV's soundtrack is amazing! I've made my head hurt blasting those tunes through my skull so loudly on several occasions. I love how the game rewards your exploration with additional tunes.

    Lately, I've been listening to a lot of game soundtracks. While Nier's drool-worthy soundtrack is a no-brainer, Darren Korb's soundtrack from Bastion is absolutely fantastic, as well as Jim Guthrie's quirky arrangements for Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery E.P. Oh, and Sound Shapes is nothing less than drool-worthy!

  • I can't really say I have a favorite, as I don't play music often now that my old iPod is broken, but I used to enjoy the World of Goo soundtrack. I have also been picking up soundtracks in the Humble Bundle sales and enjoying those.

    Kind of interesting seeing this topic today, as just last night I commented on the soundtrack from an old N64 game I was playing, as being really good.

  • There's alot of good stuff out there and I hate to leave something out. Even though the NSMB2 soundtrack is very much the same as it's predecessors (just a little bit brighter/more cheery on the main themes) I am enjoying it. VVVVVV, Super Meat Boy and Mutant Mudds are great as well.

    Coffee: Oh yeah, World of Goo!

  • Now the only thing I can think of is Hanz Zimmer creating Nanosuit-equiped cyborgs and sending them out to assault random individuals who happen to be walking down the street.

  • Thank you for mentioning the soundtrack of Sam & Max Save the World. That soundtrack (and the game itself) is criminally underrated. "Don Ted E. Bear Waltz" alone is one of the most brilliant tracks I've ever head, video game or otherwise.

  • Favorite video game soundtracks of the top of my head:
    Cave Story
    Metal Gear Solid 3

    Not coincidentally, those are my five favorite games/franchises ever. Music is one of if not the most important aspects of atmosphere in games. It does wonders for story, too.

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