In the past, I have had the privilege of watching Video Games Live twice and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess once. All were fantastic concerts that brought my favourite video game music to life. If more video game soundtracks went on tour, what would I like to see live?
Part of what make’s the Celeste experience so special is its music. Blending 8-bit chip tune sounds and melodies with acoustic instruments and complex composition makes for a soundtrack that is lush, beautiful, and evocative, all while perfectly setting the tone for the action.
My favourite song of the bunch is “Resurrections”, the track played during the 2nd level of the game. Its melancholy vibe that builds into a panic is one I haven’t stopped listening to long after I set the game aside. The song is particularly effective at being my soundtrack to the moments where I find myself “in my feelings“, as Drake would say. In fact, it’s quickly skyrocketed towards the top of my all-time favourite video game songs list, and may someday reside at the very top. [Note to self, make an all-time favourite video game songs list]
Recently, I discovered this cover of the song performed by Katherine Cordova. Stripping away the synthesizers and downbeat drums, she performs the song with just the piano and still makes it feel just as haunting as the original. I can’t stop listening to this, so I thought I’d share!
Buy the Celeste Soundtrack Now From Amazon.com
When I’m not glued to the TV playing Tetris Effect, I’m pumping the game’s soundtrack into my ears every chance I get. Even pulled out of context from the game, I’m enamored with the vibes that the music provides. Until we get the official soundtrack, YouTube user Nazo No Hito has done the world a favour and uploaded the entire soundtrack running in theatre mode. I tried to make a top 5, but I couldn’t in my heart of hearts cut the list any shorter. Here’s my top 7 songs from the Tetris Effect soundtrack!
Tetris Effect works brilliantly as one cohesive experience, but if I were to isolate one aspect of it as standing out, it’s the music. Adding Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s taste for electronic ambiance and international rhythms works wonders for creating the synesthesia that occurs when playing the game. As soon as I finished up my first stream with the game, the first thing I did was to find the soundtrack online. I need this in my ears even when I’m not playing the game. The news I found was…disheartening.
In a move that’s been long overdue, the Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack is now available for purchase.
Back in the early 90s, you couldn’t walk by an arcade without hearing that intro theme music to Street Fighter II. Street Fighter II was revolutionary for a number of reasons. It became the blueprint that every 2D fighting game has followed ever since. It introduced a new layer of video game controls and complexity. It had what would become some of the most iconic sounds in all of video games (hadoken!). What it doesn’t get as much credit for is that it was one of the first games to introduce a new level of complexity in music while being as catchy and timeless as any of the best video game soundtracks ever.
Music might be the most overlooked aspect of video games by game creators and game players alike. Unless its the star of the show in a music game, music is often perceived as audio wallpaper. Game makers generally aren’t as successful in implementing music as they are with other elements of their products, such as graphics and gameplay. Nowadays, licensed music and slapped-in “Hollywood-like” orchestral scores are the norm. With the advent of voice chat, custom soundtracks and other diversions, game players in general I think are paying less attention to game music than ever before, too.
I’m still paying attention though. I grew up in an era where video game music had its own distinct sound due to technological limitations. An era when the Super Mario theme was still hot and new. Where the awesome work of game composers shone through the primitive beeps and bloops. Game music has evolved dramatically over the years, but we as gamers have had our ears blessed with some truly great music.
I wanted to take the time out to write about some of my favourite pieces of video game music in a series of posts. There are some amazing tunes that have not only had an impact on my gaming, but my life as well in some way or another. There were more obvious choices I could have gone with to start this series, but I wanted to give credit to a game that has recently eaten up a lot of my time (and my brains). Besides being super fun to play, it has some of the best video game music I’ve heard in a while.