Far from their humble beginnings in the 70’s, video games are now a huge, gigantic, megalithic industry. However, while everyone seems obsessed with frame rates and graphical power and mega-huge open worlds to explore, something I feel has been criminally ignored is video game music.
While it’s widely accepted how important music is to film, there doesn’t seem to be the same appreciation for music in video games. Despite this, developers spend a great deal of time, effort and money to ensure the music for their games is top notch. Music really helps built atmosphere in a game, just as it does in film and TV. Be it a horror, action, puzzle or platformer game, music is often the unsung hero.
Thus, I thought that for this entry of Collectorized I’d share a few of my favourite pieces of video game music (in alphabetical order). I hope you enjoy.
One of the best games ever made – if not the best – also has one of the best ever scores. Ranging a huge gamut of styles from electronica to jazz and classical, Alexander Brandon delivered gamers with one of the most celebrated game soundtracks of all time. Of all the tracks in the soundtrack, however, it’s the main Deus Ex theme that most makes me wish to pull on my trench coat and sunglasses.
One of the most important games released also has one of the best soundtracks. While every track is great, it’s the gravely, grunge-rock that Robert Prince provided for the opening level that makes the perfect soundtrack for demon killing!
Halo: Combat Evolved
Having dropped out of console gaming right at the start of the 6th generation due to the fall of the mighty Dreamcast and completely skipping the 7th generation, I came pretty late to Halo. Of course I knew what it was; it was pretty hard to be even remotely interested in video games at the time and not know what Halo was. It wasn’t until the game was re-released as part of the Master Chief Collection on XBox One that I played the game. Indeed it is a wonderful FPS title, and I often find myself humming the game’s main theme by Martin O’Donnell, hence it’s inclusion here.
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst – The Gallery Theme
While the ambient minimalism of the original Myst and its sequel, Riven‘s soundtracks are lovely, I’ve always felt that Tim Larkin’s score for the spin-off game Uru has been criminally undervalued, even by Myst fans. The Gallery Theme plays upon entering the Kadish Gallery in the To D’ni expansion (also accessible in Myst Online: Uru Live). For me, this hauntingly beautiful piece truly evokes the drama and mystery that the Myst games are known for, as well as palpable sense of melancholy that suits the game’s theme of exploring a once great city that is now fallen and abandoned.
Rayman Origins/ Legends
For my money, Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends are two of the best platforming games ever released. Coupled with the crazy action and cartoony characters is an equally insane soundtrack. Filled with catchy tunes, crazy “lyrics” and sounds that would feel at home in a Loony Toons episode, Christophe Héral provides one of the most fun soundtracks of any game.
Sonic the Hedgehog
For all the arguments about the quality of Sonic games in recent times, one thing that Sonic Team (and other developers who have worked on the series) always gets right is the music. The Sonic series has some of the best music in video game history, so much so that it’s impossible for me to choose a favourite to showcase here. Instead, I’ll include just one of my favourite tracks, Speed Highway, from Sonic Generations. Originally appearing in Sonic Adventure by Jun Senoue, bellow is Senoue’s remixed “Modern” version of the song from Sonic Generations. It captured the speed, adventure and awesome style that made Sonic famous all those years ago perfectly!