Video game soundtracks really do level up your gameplay experience. Whether it’s adding layers to a beautiful view, heightening tension in missions or giving you that excited feeling as you wait for the game to load up… it’s all so important. Stick with us to hear our favorite video game soundtracks, including fun facts!
Video Game Soundtracks: Our Favorites
This soundtrack was a true game changer and affected the way in which composers approached video game soundtracks. The music was aggressive and intense, taking inspiration from heavy metal and punk artists. This was also interspersed with atmospheric tracks. Prince created the sound effects based on a few different things. These included short descriptions or concept art of a monster or weapon, and adjusted them to match the animations.
Fun Fact: All the monster sounds were created from actual animal sounds. Also, the sound effects were designed to play on different frequencies from those used for the MIDI music. This was so they would clearly cut through the music.
Journey was created by Thatgamecompany and was the first video game soundtrack that was nominated for a Grammy Award. Composed by Austin Wintory, the music’s primary instrument is the cello. Other sounds are mixed in as the game progresses. This music also took a whopping three years to develop!
Fun Fact: The music was interactive in the way that is changed its tone and intensity in response to the player’s action. It also demonstrates the incredible potential for music in an interactive medium, changing its tone and intensity in response to the player’s action.
Final Fantasy Series (1987 -)
Classic FM described Nobuo Uematsu as ‘the Beethoven of video game music’… and they weren’t kidding. As the chief composer for Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series, his scores are dramatic, beautiful and emotional. There is a variety of music from victory fanfares to preludes and prologues. Uematsu employs specific motifs for characters, many of which have become instantly recognizable and iconic.
Fun Fact: As of November 2020, the series has sold over 159 million units worldwide. This makes it one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time!
The Sims (2000 -)
On first thought, you may not think of music being that heavily featured in Electronic Arts’ franchise The Sims. However, these video games are full of inventive sounds. From the gibberish ‘Sim’ language to mimics of genres such as country and Latin Jazz playing from the radio, there is lots going on. Just think of the range – from the relaxed jazz in the pool to the memorable money riff that plays when you buy items. The score’s tone really helped to underline the suburban consumerist elements of the game. All of these sounds were the brainchild of Jerry Martin. Marc Russo, Kirk R. Casey and Dix Bruce.
Fun Fact: Simlish _(_the official language of The Sims) draws from various languages such as Ukrainian, French, Latin, Finnish, English, Fijian, Cebuano, and Tagalog.
The Legend Of Zelda (1986 -)
When you think of Nintendo’s Zelda, you think of catchy passages, The Legend of Zelda theme… and probably the recorder. This franchise uses instruments to trigger game events, and incorporates music heavily into gameplay.
Composer Koji Kondo utilizes orchestras, Gregorian chants, Arabic scales, flamenco, dark ambience and more to accompany the beautiful views and themes of exploration. The Legend of Zelda was principally inspired by creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s explorations through hillsides, forests and caves as a young boy.
Fun Fact: Zelda was actually named after author F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of the Great Gatsby)’s wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. She was an artist, writer and socialist and Miyamoto thought her name worked perfectly!
Super Mario Kart Series (1992-)
If you’re looking for a more instantly recognizable soundtrack then look no further! Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart series has created many catchy tricks, item sounds and sound effects that will live on in history. Perfectly matching the surroundings of the chosen Go-Kart course, these tracks by composer Soyo Oka are instantly catchy. They are upbeat, memorable and heard in households around the world across various generations.
Fun Fact: In Mario Kart 64, allowing the Results Screen music to loop 64 times causes the song to change. To do this, you must sit through 54 minutes and 39 seconds of the results screen!
Video game soundtracks have truly become their own category of greatness, standing firm in their own right outside the games. Let us know what your favorite video game soundtrack is and why in the comments!